Study Shows Bringing In Skilled Immigrants Does Not Hurt Americans; May Increase Innovation
from the bringing-some-data dept
Thankfully, there's now some additional research that shows these particular worries are mostly hogwash. theodp points our attention to some new research about the impact of H-1B visa recipients on the job market, innovation and the economy. After going through a lot of data, the researchers concluded that increasing the number of H-1B visas does not negatively impact American jobs.
We do not find any substantive effect on native scientists and engineers across a range of labor market outcomes like employment levels, mean wages, and unemployment rates.In other words, for all the talk of H-1Bs stealing jobs, depressing wages, increasing unemployment among American engineers, there's simply no evidence to support that. Now, the research did debunk one claim from the other side of the debate as well: many supporters of H-1B visas have suggested that skilled foreign workers create even more jobs. However, the data showed no evidence of that. In other words, they did not take away jobs, but they did not then create additional new jobs, beyond their own positions, in most cases, at an aggregate level.
Separately, the researchers also tried to look at whether or not an increase in H-1Bs resulted in greater innovation, and they concluded that yes, it did. Now, I have some problems with the methodology here, in that it uses patents as a proxy for innovation, which I've always found to be a very inaccurate methodology. At best, the study seems to show that when there's greater foreign skilled immigration allowed, there is also a greater number of patents awarded to people who are likely of foreign origin. Additionally, there was no corresponding decrease in patents given to non-foreigners (again supporting the claim that H-1Bs are not taking away jobs). I don't think this is a proper measure of actual innovation, but it's still an interesting figure.
Along those lines, it's also excellent news to see that the White House is effectively clarifying the H-1B process to create what basically is the "startup visa," which we've argued for in the past (even if we've been concerned about some of the specifics).
The new guidance, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, says a company founder may qualify for EB-2 Green Card visa if his or her position would report to a board of directors.We know of too many stories of brilliant engineers being unable to start their companies in Silicon Valley because crazy immigration rules forced them back to their home countries. I can't fathom why people are against such startup visas. These are, clearly, cases where the individuals are not "taking jobs from Americans" because these jobs don't exist if the startup cannot be founded. I'm glad to see that the White House isn't even waiting for the various attempts by Congress to carve out a separate startup visa, but are using what they can do with the existing program to use it for this important purpose.
This visa also requires advanced degrees or some exceptional ability, which is "a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business," according to USCIS.
Similarly, an "immigrant founder" may be eligible for an H-1B visa "if there is a way to demonstrate that if in fact there is a separation between your role as founder and that role as employee," said Chopra in the Webcasted presentation.