Improving High-Skill Immigration Policy for New England: A regional perspective on demand for H-1B visas and an exploration of potential policy improvements
How might we improve immigration policy to support New England’s economy? High-skilled immigrants play an important role in innovation and research and development in New England, particularly in science, technology, engineering and computer & mathematics fields and are therefore important contributors to New England’s skilled labor force. H-1B visas are a primary vehicle for attracting skilled immigrants but are limited in number, and the program’s policy goals are not well defined. Further, little is known about these visas at the regional level, information that is critical when considering its benefits for New England and opportunities for policy improvement.
This forum presented new research by the Boston Fed’s New England Public Policy Center profiling the demand for H-1B visas in New England and its major metropolitan areas. Panelists discussed the extent to which the program is accomplishing its intended goals and explored policy reforms that could promote better policy outcomes.
Registration and continental breakfast
Welcome and introductions
Presentation of new research: "Demand for H-1B Visas in New England: An Analysis of Employer Requests for Highly Skilled Guest Workers"
Panel discussion: How might the H-1B visa program be reformed to promote better outcomes?
Moderated questions from the audience
Claire Sala Ayer,
Director, Office for International Professionals and Students (PIPS) , Partners HealthCare
At Partners, Claire provides non-immigrant services to international researchers, clinicians and allied health personnel at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, McLean Hospital, Northshore Medical Center, Faulkner Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital—all members of the Partners HealthCare network in greater Boston. Prior to establishing the International Office at MGH in 1992, Ms. Ayer was the Regional Certifying Officer responsible for the Department of Labor’s (DOL) immigration programs throughout New England. Ms. Ayer was part of DOL’s Task Force implementing IMMACT ’90 and is a participant and organizer of a number of conferences, regionally and nationally. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Global Immigration.
Robert Clifford, Senior Policy Analyst, New England Public Policy Center
Robert's research focuses on regional labor market and demographic trends and challenges and housing affordability. He was the lead researcher and author of in-depth profiles of labor markets in Massachusetts regions, reports that were prepared in collaboration with the Commonwealth Corporation in 2011 and 2012. Robert routinely presents to policy makers about his research findings and on regional economic conditions. He is the editor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s regional economic data resource, New England Economic Indicators. Originally from New Hampshire, Robert holds a Masters in economics from the University of New Hampshire and a BA in economics from Keene State College.
William Kerr, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
William is a Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS) where he teaches in the M.B.A., executive education and doctoral programs. He is the faculty chair of HBS’ Launching New Ventures program, and he recently created an M.B.A. course entitled Launching Global Ventures. Bill's research focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation, including the role of immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs in US technology development and commercialization, as well as their impact for the global diffusion of new innovations and ideas. Bill has worked with companies worldwide on projects related to entrepreneurship and launching new ventures, with particular emphasis on innovation and global dynamics. Bill has also advised several governments about deregulation processes and their investments in the innovative capacities of their nations..He has received the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship, awarded annually to one scholar under age 40 whose research has made a significant contribution to the literature in entrepreneurship. He also received Harvard's Distinction in Teaching award. Bill has a B.S. from the University of Virgina and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yolanda Kodrzycki, Director and Vice President, New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Yolanda is a vice president and the director of the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The Center conducts research on key economic and policy issues in New England, and engages with regional partners in advancing identified policy options. Prior to assuming this position, Yolanda was a senior economist and policy advisor in the Boston Fed's research department, specializing in regional, labor market, and public sector economics. Her research has examined topics such as economic development strategies for older industrial cities, the long-term implications of job loss, the migration patterns of college graduates, regional differences in educational attainment, and corporate tax policy at the national and state levels. She has been a senior contributor to "Toward a More Prosperous Springfield," a multi-year commitment by the Boston Fed to support the economic revitalization of Springfield, Massachusetts. She serves as co-editor of MassBenchmarks, an economics publication issued jointly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the University of Massachusetts. Yolanda has advised numerous organizations with an interest in the New England and national economies. During 1991–92, Yolanda took a leave of absence from the Federal Reserve to consult for the U.S. Treasury advisory program in Central and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining the Boston Fed, she taught economics at Amherst College. A graduate of Radcliffe College (at Harvard University), Yolanda received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jennifer Lawrence, Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development is an executive branch agency that works to maintain Massachusetts’ competitive edge and drive economic growth by attracting new businesses, fostering an innovation economy, building and retaining a talent pipeline, empowering regions, and increasing our housing stock so that the Commonwealth remains an affordable place to live, work and play. Prior to becoming Assistant Secretary, Jennifer served as General Counsel of the Secretariat. Jennifer has both private and public sector experience with an expertise in highly regulated industries. Before joining the Patrick Administration, Jennifer was the Managing Director of a Boston and New York-based legal and business consulting firm and prior to that, Jennifer served as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of a publicly-traded property and casualty insurance company. Jennifer has also served as a board member for several financial services institutions. Early in her career she was a special assistant attorney general in the Public Protection Bureau of the Attorney General’s office. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and holds a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and an M.B.A from Boston University School of Management.
Nicole Wetmore, Immigration & Compliance (Global Mobility), EMC Corporation
Nicole is the Senior Manager of Global Immigration & Compliance for EMC Corporation, a global leader in data storage, information security, virtualization and cloud computing products which enable businesses to store, manage, protect and analyze massive volumes of data. She is responsible for overseeing the company’s global immigration program as well as Human Resource compliance initiatives such as Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action. Nicole’s immigration background started in the education field where she trained and oversaw 18 Designated School Officials (DSOs) and then moved into Corporate America in 2007. Her areas of expertise for U.S. immigration include employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, Requests for Evidence, FDNS Site Visits and Merger & Acquisition Due Diligence procedures.
Catherine L. Mann, Barbara and Richard M. Rosenberg Professor of Global Finance, International Business School, Brandeis University
Catherine is the Barbara '54 and Richard M. Rosenberg Professor of Global Finance at the International Business School, Brandeis University, where she also directs the Rosenberg Institute of Global Finance. She was recently named the Chief Economist at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. Her current research focuses on two related topics: The US trade deficit, international capital flows, and the dollar; and information technology in global markets. She joined Brandeis in 2006 after 20-plus years in Washington, DC. Her policy positions include Senior Fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, Assistant Director in the International Finance Division at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Senior International Economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers, and Adviser to the Chief Economist at the World Bank. She has authored or co-authored seven books, 60 articles, and numerous shorter pieces and testimony. She frequently appears on Bloomberg, CNBC, and public broadcasting, and has been quoted in Businessweek and The Economist. Dr. Mann received her Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her undergraduate degree is from Harvard University.