Immigration Systems in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom

My current book project examines the children of immigrants’ educational and occupational outcomes under family and skilled immigration systems in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Canada and Australia represent skilled systems where the majority of incoming migrants are screened via the points system whereas the US has a family-based system with most migrants arriving with kin relationships with US citizens or permanent residents. The United Kingdom represents an intermediate case. As countries continue to expand their borders, there is a growing emphasis on attracting skilled migrants via skilled migration policies. Skilled migrants are believed to experience greater outcomes in the host country than family migrants and thus, are viewed more favorably. However, adopting a skill-based policy may not generate similar returns for immigrants and their children in the US, which has a unique temporary visa system where many selective immigrants are admitted under the family reunification category. Moreover, under a family-based policy, immigrants’ children in the US may experience advantages because they have greater familial ties whereas immigrants’ children in Australia, Canada, and the UK tend to migrate with immediate family only. This topic has theoretical and practical relevance in ongoing debates about the integration of immigrants as well as contemporary debates about how to overhaul the US immigration policy. These issues are at the forefront of political news and a key voting issue for elections in the US and other western countries.