90 Miles From Tyranny : How study contradicts benefits of H-1B visas

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How study contradicts benefits of H-1B visas

A recent study in the US by three economists – Kirk Doran of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Alexander Gelber of the University of California, Berkeley, and Adam Isen of the office of tax analysis at the US department of the treasury – has found that H-1B visas do not lead to any significant increase in the number of patents and nor do they result in any significant job creation in America.

The findings of this study contradict many highlights of earlier reports, including one by big IT companies which was discussed at the US congress last month. According to that, every foreign-born worker in the US with a US STEM (science, technology, engineering & management) degree creates 2.62 jobs for US-born workers. It also said that every H-1B visa holder creates 1.83 jobs in the US. The recent report, The Effects of High-skilled Immigration on Firms: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries, is surprisingly not causing concern to Indian IT companies, which are the largest users of H-1B visas and Indian IT professionals.

“It is an academic study. One of its authors has been doing work for years on the impact of immigration and guest workers on the labour market. I think the report will contribute to the debate. Its findings support what we know about how the H-1B programme is being used,” said Ron Hira, an immigration policy expert and associate professor of public policy at Howard University.

The backdrop to the recent debate is the US Immigration Innovation Act (I-Squared Act) which was introduced by senator Orrin Hatch in the US congress and is being promoted by the technology industry. “It would vastly expand the number of H-1Bs but includes no reforms to fix the programme from being used to replace American workers with cheaper guest workers,” said Hira. In his opinion, the Obama administration could do much more to crack down on...

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