March 20, 2008

Policy Spotlight: H-1B Visas & Job Creation

The National Foundation for American Policy has released a study entitled “H-1B Visas and Job Creation,” further examining the problems associated with current restrictions on high skill immigration. This study complements the recently released NFAP study profiled here last week: “Talent Search: Job Openings and the Need for Skilled Labor in the U.S. Economy.” “Combined, these two studies show that U.S. employers continue to need skilled labor, including individuals not born in the United States who, the empirical evidence indicates, are creating new opportunities for U.S. workers,” said NFAP Executive Director Stuart Anderson. “While every H-1B hired may not necessarily lead to five to seven Americans being hired, the data does strongly imply, at minimum, that new H-1B professionals are complementing other U.S. hires, rather than displacing them, as critics allege.”

In “H-1B Visas and Job Creation,” NFAP performed a regression analysis of H-1B filings and employment growth at S&P 500 technology companies The data show that for every H-1B position requested with the Department of Labor, U.S. technology companies increase their employment by five workers. For technology firms with fewer than 5,000 employees, each H-1B position requested in labor condition applications was associated with an increase of employment of 7.5 workers. This is particularly remarkable since the actual number of people hired on H-1B visas is likely to be much lower than the total number of applications filed with the Department of Labor.

“The research showing H-1B visa holders are associated with increased hiring at U.S. technology companies is further evidence that current restrictions on high skill immigration are counterproductive and the result of legislative inertia, rather than legitimate concerns,” said Anderson. “The survey results indicate that when H-1B visa restrictions block cutting-edge companies from hiring foreign nationals in America companies are likely to place more of their human resources outside the United States.”

The NFAP has posted both the full report and a press release on the report to its website.

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 08031936 (posted Mar. 19, 2008)