professional visas creating jobs in US: study
By Arun Kumar, Washington, March 14, 2008 (IANS)
businesses are finding it hard to fill skilled positions even as
H-1B visas that bring in foreign professionals, including a large
number from India, are creating jobs in the US, shows a new US study.
Confirming Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' contention that an arbitrary
cap on H-1B visas is forcing them to outsource jobs, the study shows
major US technology companies today average more than 470 job openings
for skilled positions in the US while defence companies have more
than 1,265 each.
complementary study by the National Foundation for American Policy
(NFAP) found after examining H-1B filings and year-by-year job totals
for the technology companies in the Standard & Poor (S&P)
500 that hiring skilled foreign nationals on H-1B visas is associated
with increases in employment at US technology companies.
data collected by the Arlington, Virginia-based policy research
group, on "H-1B Visas and Job Creation" show that for
every H-1B position requested with the Department of Labour, US
technology companies increase their employment by five workers.
technology firms with less than 5,000 employees, each H-1B position
requested in labour 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 Labour, said NFAP, focussing on trade, immigration
and related issues.
these two studies show that US employers continue to need skilled
labour, including individuals not born in the United States who,
the empirical evidence indicates, are creating new opportunities
for US workers," said NFAP Executive Director Stuart Anderson.
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 US hires, rather than
displacing them, as critics allege."
to "Talent Search: Job Openings and the Need For Skilled Labour
in the US Economy", a number of companies have thousands of
skilled positions open, with this level of openings persisting for
a year or more.
is part of a longer-term trend that threatens to harm America's
economic future, with US companies lacking access to the skilled
professionals needed to grow and innovate inside the US.
than 140,000 job openings for skilled positions are available today
in the 500 companies that make up the S&P 500. S&P 500 companies
employ only about 14 percent of individuals working in the US, so
the overall demand for skilled labour in the US economy is much
Department of Labour's JOLTS survey indicates that there are approximately
four million job openings in the US every month at all skill levels.
S&P 500 companies with the most job openings as of January 2008
are Microsoft (4,005), Northrup Grumman (3,925), Lockheed Martin
(3,901), General Electric (3,078), Countrywide Financial (2,415),
JPMorganChase (2,164), Tenet Healthcare (2,050), United Health Group
(1,927), Raytheon (1,694), IBM (1,670), Computer Sciences Corp.
(1,666), Cintas (1,664), L-3 Communications (1,618), Bank of America
(1,600), US Bancorp (1,562) and Cisco Systems (1,504).
are openings for jobs in the US requiring a BA, professional degree
or higher. The NFAP study also found that even employers that reduced
employment reduced it less if they had filed for H-1Bs visas.
companies in the sample that had layoffs, the regression results
found for every H-1B position requested on a labour condition application,
total employment is estimated to be two workers more than it otherwise
would have been.
were used on total employment and H-1B labour condition applications
between 2001 and 2005, allowing calculation of employment growth
NFAP survey of 120 major US technology companies, with a 22 percent
response rate, indicates preventing companies from hiring foreign
nationals by maintaining a low limit on H-1B visas is likely to
produce the unintended consequence of pushing more work to other
percent of technology companies responding to the NFAP survey said
in response to the lack of H-1B visas they had "hired more
people (or outsourced work) outside the United States".
is significant in that even if those companies responding to the
survey are heavier users of H-1B visas, it means that these are
the firms most likely to hire outside the US in response to an insufficient
supply of skilled visas for foreign nationals.
percent of companies believed that for every H-1B professional they
hired, it created one or more complementary jobs at their firms
or in the US economy. Twenty-two percent thought the hiring of an
H-1B visa holder created 10 or more jobs.
percent of company respondents said an inability to fill positions
because of the lack of H-1B visas has potentially affected their
"company's competitiveness against foreign competitors or in
research showing H-1B visa holders are associated with increased
hiring at US technology companies is further evidence that current
restrictions on high skill immigration are counterproductive and
the result of legislative inertia, rather than legitimate concerns,"
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
the US Congress to let more foreign engineers work in the US as
immigration restrictions were forcing US high-tech firms to outsource
jobs overseas, Bill Gates too made the point that the current cap
of 65,000 H-1B visas aimed at highly skilled professionals "is
arbitrarily set and bears no relation to the US economy's demand
for skilled professionals".
NFAP advisory board members include Columbia University economist
Jagdish Bhagwati and Ohio University economist Richard Vedder.