Clause 61: The Pushback Blog

Because ideas have consequences

Guestworkers in the High-Skill US Labor Market

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If you think that there really is a shortage of skilled science and engineering talent in the US, justifying the expansion of the H1-B program, read this paper:

The authors show that:

  • There is an ample supply of domestic labor available in the IT industry;
  • Use of H1-B labor has expanded out of proportion to market signals;
  • Colleges are producting more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates than can find employment in STEM-skilled jobs.

Abuse of these guestworker programs is well-known by those of us who live in these industries and see first-hand what is going on. For example, I worked in Chicago in 1995, where my then-employer posted a job that was intended to be filled with an H1-B worker, as was required by law. The job was for a C++ programmer and paid $33k/year, which was laughable in an environment where trading firms were snapping up these skills. Best of all, this job was publicly posted — in the break room of the sales floor, where the programmers would never see it.

The standard economics are that you will pay $10-15k for the immigration lawyer. In return, you get someone who you can pay below-market wages to and cannot leave for a competitor.

When I was managing, I never hired anyone who could not work in this country without sponsorship.


Written by srojak

April 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Economics

Tagged with ,

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