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The Important Role H-1B Workers Play in the U.S. Economy

EmbryogenesisContrary to popular opinion, research shows that H-1B workers complement U.S. workers, fill employment gaps and expand job opportunities for all. Foreign workers fill a critical need in the U.S. labor market, especially in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The idea that native-born workers compete against foreign-born workers for a fixed number of jobs is a commonly held misconception. In reality, H-1B workers positively impact the U.S. economy and help to create new jobs and new opportunities for native-born workers.

How do H-1B visas impact wages?
The overwhelming evidence shows H1-B visas do NOT drive down wages of native born-workers.

From the creation of the H-1B program in 1990 and up through 2010, H-1B-driven increases in STEM workers were associated with a significant increase in wages for college-educated, U.S.-born workers in 219 U.S. cities.

A 1 percent increase in foreign STEM workers in a city’s total employment was associated with increases of 7 to 8 percent paid to both STEM and non-STEM college-educated U.S. natives, with 3 to 4 percent pay increase for non-college educated workers.

How do H-1B visas impact U.S. employment rates?
The United States actually faces challenges in meeting the needs of an expanding knowledge-based economy in STEM occupations. Unemployment rates are low for occupations that use large numbers of H-1B foreign workers.

Research shows that an increase in H-1B visas could create an estimated 1.3 million new jobs and add $158 billion to the GDP of the U.S. by 2045. Despite this fact, the U.S. government rejected 178,000 H-1B visa applications in computer related fields in 2007 and 2008, preventing the U.S. from creating what could have been 231,224 tech jobs for U.S.-born workers.

Are the economic benefits of H-1B visas limited to the tech sector?
No. H-1B visas positively affect the U.S. economy across all fields in America. Although the use of H-1B visas in the high-tech industry gains more public attention, high-skilled immigrants play other crucial roles in the U.S. economy. For example:

• 106 metropolitan areas across the U.S. had at least 250 requests for H-1B workers in 2010-2011
• Private industry also accounts for the intensity of demand
• Nearly two-thirds of requests for H-1B workers are for STEM occupations, however these is also high demand for workers in healthcare, business, finance and life sciences industries

Here at Berardi Immigration Law, we file dozens of H-1B applications each year, whether it may be a cap case, a change of employer, a renewal or an extension. If you have questions on the H-1B category, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!