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Revealed: How majority of immigrants arriving in U.S. now have a college degree

Published on Fri, Jun 10, 2011

It seems immigrants coming into the U.S. are generally a highly-educated bunch.

College-educated immigrants now outnumber those entering the country with just a high school degree - and the variation is much bigger in urban areas, a report says.

They outnumber those educated at high school by 25 per cent in 44 major American cities - and 30 per cent of working-age immigrants now have a college degree, compared to 19 per cent in 1980.

Talented arrivals: College-educated immigrants now outnumber those entering the country with just a high school degree - and the variation is much bigger in urban areas, a report by the Brookings Institution says

An increase in demand from U.S. employers has seen more college-educated immigrants arriving in the U.S. over the past decade than immigrants without high school education, reported Yahoo News.

Only 28 per cent of U.S. immigrants are without a high school diploma and half of skilled immigrants are overqualified for their jobs, a report by the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. said.

One reason behind the rise seems to be U.S. employers favouring a foreign-born workforce because they already have the required training and expect to be paid less, reported the Washington Post.

Changes: An increase in demand from U.S. employers has seen more college-educated immigrants arriving in the U.S. over the past decade than immigrants without high school education

Samir Kumar, 39, said he looks for immigrants with the same skills and education as U.S.-born workers for his Virginia IT business.

‘They actually don't demand a very high amount of salary, the expectations are kind of grounded and they don't jump around so much,’ he told the Washington Post.

Most immigrants gain entry into the U.S. based on family ties and not skills, but employers get visas to offer foreigners with college degrees jobs when Americans with the right skills cannot be hired, reported Yahoo News.

The Brookings report was based on U.S. census data and therefore could not distinguish between illegal and legal immigrants, but estimates an under-counting of illegals of up to 20 per cent.

It is believed more than 20 per cent of all adults in the U.S. without a high school diploma are illegal immigrants.

Low-skilled immigrants are more likely to come from Mexico, have fewer English skills than high-skilled immigrants and drive down wages for lower-skilled American workers, the report said.

‘Too often the immigration debate is driven by images on television of people jumping over fences,’ American Immigration Council executive director Benjamin Johnson told the Washington Post.

He said the debate had been stuck in a focus on illegal and lower-skilled workers.

Other experts suggested that the report shows there are too many highly-skilled workers arriving in the U.S. who are competing with new college graduates.

Areas with large concentrations of highly-skilled workers included popular holiday destinations such as San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; and Washington D.C., reported the Washington Post.

Published in the Daily Mail UK | Read Article