E.g., 10/22/2014
E.g., 10/22/2014

Scientists, Managers, and Tourists: The Changing Shape of European Mobility to the United States

Reports
July 2011

Scientists, Managers, and Tourists: The Changing Shape of European Mobility to the United States

European dominance in U.S. immigration flows has decreased significantly since World War II, a result of economic, demographic, and policy trends on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, migration from European Union Member States is characterized by a substantial numbers of European scientists, professionals, and businesspeople who come to the United States for its high-quality universities and research centers, or to join the U.S. offices of global firms.

EU citizens are particularly well represented among the ranks of “exceptionally talented” O-1 visa recipients and differ from other immigrant groups in that they earn more; are more highly educated and older; are better represented in professional, managerial, and scientific occupations; have greater English proficiency; and are more likely to be naturalized citizens.

These highly skilled migration flows from the European Union have maintained a relatively low profile in policy circles. However, certain policies, such as the Visa Waiver Program, have made their way into the immigration policy debate. Border security measures have been the main focus of EU-U.S. dialogues in the field of migration, while other potential areas of cooperation—such as labor migration and the circulation of professionals—have received little attention.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. EU Immigration and Travel to the United States: Entry Routes and Policies

A. Tourists and Business Visitors

B. International Students

C. Temporary Work Visas

D. Flows into Permanent Residence

E. Naturalization

III. EU Immigrants in the U.S. Economy

A. EU-27 Immigrants in the Labor Market

B. Recent Arrivals and the Brain Drain Debate

IV. Conclusion