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‘H-1B Visa Holders Don’t Adversely Affect US Workers’: Report

Companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

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World
2 min read
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The H-1B visa-holders, a majority of them Indian IT professionals, do not adversely affect Americans, according to new research, which also suggests that the presence of foreign workforce having such visas boost employment among other workers in an occupation.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

Over 67% Indians Request for H-1B Visa

On 1 April, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that the US received nearly 275,000 unique registration requests for the Congressional mandated 85,000 H-1B visas for foreign technology professionals, of which more than 67 percent are from India.

The National Foundation for American Policy said that the findings of its new research should give pause to policymakers considering imposing additional restrictions on the H-1B programme.

The report said, “The evidence points to the presence of H-1B visa holders being associated with lower unemployment rates and faster earnings growth among college graduates, including recent college graduates. Further, the results suggest that, if anything, being in a field with more H-1B visa holders makes it more likely that US-born young college graduates work in a job closely related to their college major.”

The Trump administration has been planning new restrictions on the H-1B visas based on the argument that foreign-born scientists and engineers harm the job prospects of US college graduates.

There is little reason to think doing so will help American workers, the think tank said in its latest research.

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The study uses data from 2005 to 2018 to examine how the number of approved petitions to hire the H-1B visa-holders as a share of college graduates within each of 22 occupations affects the unemployment rate and earnings growth rate in those occupations.

An increase in the share of workers with an H-1B visa within an occupation, on average, reduces the unemployment rate in that occupation, the report said.

The results indicate that a 1 percentage point increase in the share of workers with an H-1B visa in an occupation reduces the unemployment rate by about 0.2 percentage points.

The findings suggest that the presence of H-1B visa holders boosts employment among other workers in an occupation. The results provide no evidence that the H-1B programme has an adverse impact on labour market opportunities for US workers, it added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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