Governor Rick Snyder is pushing for more immigrants to settle in Michigan. An AnnArbor.com article states, “It’s time for Michigan to start importing talent. That’s the philosophy underpinning Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to push Washington to loosen federal laws to attract and retain more talented and educated immigrants.”
Sounds easy enough; America was founded by immigrants.
The problem isn’t Snyder, it’s Washington. According to the article, if you’re not an American and you earn a tech-based degree, the government wants you out after you graduate.
With Michigan’s unemployment rate around ten percent, you might question why keeping immigrants is a good idea when locals need the jobs. The federal government probably had the same idea when they enacted that particular clause.
The article states that even with high unemployment, there are jobs in this state the local workforce isn’t qualified for. The immigrants could fill those jobs and thus improve the state’s economy.
Unfortunately, international-based employment might not be as easy as Gov. Snyder is hoping. He’s working on increasing immigration for high-tech jobs and keeping international graduates in the state.
The problem is keeping those graduates in the country can be expensive.
The article mentions the legal fees required when someone pursues citizenship, and the kinds of companies that can afford to get them citizenship are usually the bigger ones, and if those are the high-tech jobs the governor is referencing, fine.
But what about the smaller companies that need high-tech workers and can’t afford legal fees for citizenship?
Not only that, but the group the governor is considering might not be as big as he hopes it is.
America is still considered the land of opportunity to many potential immigrants. The average immigrant is not a student; they’re a family looking for a job, any job, to help them get the fresh start they came here for.
The international student pool is not a big group, and getting help from Washington will probably be tricky.
Still, it’s good Gov. Snyder is trying. Making Michigan attractive to companies and citizens, foreign or domestic, is a good thing for this state. As long as people are getting employed, the state’s economy will improve.
Getting qualified people for the jobs we need is an important step in the process. If those people are from another country, fine with me; it’s nothing new in American history anyway.
Regardless of whether or not the governor can convince Washington to let international graduates stay in this country, the state’s government and its citizens need to make sure qualified people are found or trained in order to help Michigan’s economy grow. It doesn’t matter how high the unemployment rate is if no one is qualified to fill the vacant positions.
Not all jobs require extensive training or qualifications, and companies willing to do the training themselves should do well in Michigan. But all levels of employment — no training, low training, extensive training — need to be filled in order for the state to replace the losses from the auto industry.
Whether from this country or another one, everyone who can help this state, and the nation as a whole, should have a chance to.