The plan would go like this: Companies that want to hire immigrants would bid for a number of visas made available by Congress. They could trade or resell the permits. Immigrants could move between companies as needed.
This plan -- which would be rolled out in phases, starting with a pilot program that would auction off temporary work visas, including those for some agricultural and technical work --could simplify and streamline today's lumbering immigration system, according to Giovanni Peri, a professor at the University of California Davis. His proposal was released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution.
The visa auction would generate revenue for the federal government, which could be used to compensate communities that extend social services to immigrants or on training for American workers, according to the report.
Peri also recommends consolidating visa categories, incentivizing foreign workers to return to their home countries by placing a portion of their earnings in an escrow account which is forfeited if they decide to stay, and encouraging some immigrants, who currently apply for visas through their familial relationships -- like adult children and parents of immigrants -- to apply for visas to work in the U.S.