Latest Research

“A Day in the Life of an Immigrant Entrepreneur” illustrates immigrant contributions in the Rust Belt. A new report from WE Global Network (formerly Global Great Lakes Network) highlights the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs in Rust Belt cities. The report contains the stories of eleven entrepreneurs from WE Global Network’s “A Day in the Life of an Immigrant Entrepreneur” contest. “These stories, written by the entrepreneurs themselves, or their families and friends, tell of their journeys and lives,” the report describes.

Immigrants help fill gaps in the U.S. trucking industry. A new report from the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University shows that while the U.S. economy is heavily dependent on truck transportation, the industry itself experiences chronic worker shortages. Immigrants, the report illustrates, have the potential to ease the driver shortage. 

News Updates

Immigrant entrepreneurs help fuel record growth streak. A February 6 piece for theHuffington Post describes how immigrant entrepreneurs are helping to fuel a record growth streak. As Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration,observes, “immigrants are actually creating jobs in neighborhoods where they’re needed the most. In so doing, they’re contributing to America’s entrepreneurial character.”  

Incubator helps new wave of immigrant entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley fine-tune their products. A February 21 piece from KQED highlights several immigrant entrepreneurs participating in the 500 Startups incubator. 500 Startups brings in new foreign-tech talent every four months to the Bay Area, specifically looking for successful entrepreneurs in countries where Internet technology is still emerging.

National Skills Coalition outlines recommendations on skilled immigrant integration. As part of a recent request for information from the White House Task Force on New Americans, the National Skills Coalition outlined a set of recommendations specifically regarding skilled immigrant integration. “Our recommendations recognized that skills must be a focal point in immigrant integration efforts,” Amanda Bergson-Shilcock said.

How New Americans are shoring up America’s economy. A January 30 article for NationSwelldescribes how immigrants contribute to business growth and the housing market. The article, citing recent research, notes that immigrants own over half (53 percent) of America’s grocery stores and over a third of its restaurants (38 percent). In addition to playing a huge role in local businesses that contribute to neighborhood vitality, immigrants are also responsible for 27.5 percent of the growth in homeownership over the past 20 years. And the children of immigrants, unlike their millennial counterparts from non-immigrant families, account for the largest increase in the growth of households headed by people under age 30.

Immigrants help revive St. Louis and other Rust Belt cities. A February 19 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes the story of Julio Zegarra-Ballon, a small business owner from Peru, who was one of the recent winners of WE Global Network’s “A Day in the Life of an Immigrant Entrepreneur” contest. Zegarra-Ballon, owner of Zee Bee Market in St. Louis’ South Grand neighborhood, renovated a vacant space in which he now sells handcrafted and Fair Trade products from around the world. “Immigrant entrepreneurs are making important contributions in St. Louis, from our nationally renowned start-up community to lifestyle retail businesses,” Betsy Cohen, Executive Director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, said.

Immigrants in the Twin Cities help build the economy and revitalize neighborhoods. AJanuary 30 piece for MinnPost spotlights ways in which immigrants are adding to the vitality of neighborhoods. At Minneapolis’ Midtown Global Market, for instance, immigrant entrepreneurs from many different points of origin sell a variety of products. The Market has played an integral role in reviving this particular area of Minneapolis.

New program in St. Louis to teach local immigrant professionals the nuances of finding a job. The International Institute of St. Louis is launching a new program for immigrant professionals to develop their career skills for entering the U.S. workforce. The Career Advancement for International Professionals Program (CAIP) will provide a four-week course aimed to teach immigrant professionals essential skills for job searching, including resume writing, interview and professional communication training, job search tactics and social media, and recertification and credentialing. The program will partner with the St. Louis Regional Chamber to use the Professional Connector program, originally started by the St. Louis Mosaic Project. This program gives professionals the opportunity to meet with well-connected and globally-minded professionals in St. Louis for industry and job-seeking advice.

U.S. to grant work permits to spouses of some skilled immigrants. A February 24 article in the Wall Street Journal notes that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon allow spouses of certain high-skilled immigrants working in the U.S. to apply for work authorization of their own, effective May 26, 2015. Specifically, the change affects certain individuals with H-4 dependent spouse visas whose spouses are H-1B nonimmigrants seeking employment-based lawful permanent residence (LPR) status. This change “helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents,” León Rodríguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said in a statement. “It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”