Skilled immigration restrictions may have secondary consequences that have been largely overlooked in the immigration debate: multinational firms faced with visa constraints have an offshoring option, namely, hiring the labor they need at their foreign affiliates. If multinationals use this option, then restrictive migration policies are unlikely to have the desired effects of increasing employment of natives, but rather have the effect of offshoring jobs. Combining visa data and comprehensive data on US multinational firm activity, I find that restrictions on H-1B immigration caused foreign affiliate employment increases at the intensive and extensive margins, particularly in Canada, India, and China.
In the Guardian, Jon Henley reports about Switzerland’s new immigration law. The Swiss parliament rejected quotas on EU workers, contrary to what a 2014 referendum demanded. Instead, the new law requires that residents be given priority in new job vacancies.
[C]ross-border commuters to Swiss jobs, plus EU residents in Switzerland, will be able to register with a Swiss job centre and get the same treatment as Swiss citizens.
In the NZZ, George Sheldon questions the efficiency and usefulness of taxes levied on immigrants. He argues that firms rather than immigrants would likely end up paying and that a tax levied at the firm level would thus be more efficient. Moreover, he points out that an immigration tax might reduce incentives to emigrate.
A report by Open Europe argues that for the UK the cost of Brexit would be minor. The benefits might be minor as well. For interest groups could make it hard to reap the potential benefits of newly gained flexibility.
… the path to prosperity outside the EU lies through: free trade and opening up to low cost competition, maintaining relatively high immigration (albeit with a different mix of skills), and pushing through deregulation and economic reforms in areas where the UK has historically been sub-par compared to international partners. … whether there is appetite for such changes in the UK is unclear.
… implications for the type of relationship the UK should seek with the EU post-Brexit. Realising the potential economic gains we’ve identified – notably via immigration and deregulation – means a relatively high degree of flexibility from the EU. The confines of a Norwegian or Swiss-style arrangement would not deliver this. As such, the best option would be for the UK to pursue a comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement, aimed at maintaining as much of the current market access as possible while also adopting a broader liberalisation agenda over the longer term.
Update: The Economist reports about other cost/benefit estimates.
In the NZZ, Simon Gemperli reports about updated statistics on “Grenzgänger,” people residing outside of Switzerland but commuting into the country for work (press release by the Federal Statistical Office). About 300’000 people fall into that category. Since 2001, their number has doubled while the number of resident foreigners in Switzerland has increased by 25 percent and the total resident population has grown by 12 percent.
At the end of 2014, 8.2 million people resided in Switzerland; 2.0 million of them were non-Swiss (source).
Iwan Städler reports in the Tagesanzeiger datenblog about trends in the shares of foreign nationals living in Zurich. In 1912, 34% of residents were non-Swiss (and 21% were German). Today, the corresponding figures are 32% and 8%.