Connect with us


More evidence that immigrants are not displacing US-born professionals




More evidence that immigrants are not displacing US-born professionals

New research finds that admitting more foreign-born physicians helps Americans live longer and does not displace American physicians. The study is relevant to the debate over H-1B visas and concludes that blocking the admission of highly skilled professionals does not provide sound economic reasoning. The results are similar to other research showing that foreign-born scientists and engineers help the economy and don’t hurt the prospects of American professionals.

H-1B Lottery Results

Because lawmakers believed that highly qualified foreigners could hurt the employment of U.S.-born workers, Congress limited annual admissions of new H-1B corporate visa holders to 85,000. That includes an annual limit of 65,000 and a 20,000 waiver on the annual limit for those with an advanced degree from a US university.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has changed the H-1B registration selection process for FY 2025 to eliminate potential gaming by some employers. The new system is beneficiary-centric, meaning USCIS selects unique beneficiaries to eliminate the problem of employers filing multiple registrations for the same individuals (except for those with legitimate job openings). That change appears to have been successful and will probably make additional selection rounds unnecessary. (USCIS has added selection rounds for FY 2024 to approve a sufficient number of qualified beneficiaries.)

“The new system will change the process, but it is unlikely to fix a fundamental flaw in U.S. immigration law: the annual H-1B cap is too low for America’s size and an economy that relies on tech talent to grow and innovate,” according to a message dated March 4, 2024, Forbes article. That turned out to be the case.

According to a agency statementUSCIS selected only approximately 25% of eligible beneficiaries in FY 2025. This was approximately the same share as in FY 2024, after accounting for the additional rounds resulting from multiple registrations. USCIS stated that it selected 120,603 registrations from 470,342 eligible registrations in FY 2025. (USCIS is selecting more than 85,000 H-1B registrations to enable denials and revocations.) USCIS selected 114,017 beneficiaries from approximately 442,000 unique beneficiaries for FY 2025 , meaning the agency did not select nearly 328,000 highly skilled aliens in the H-1B registration process for FY 2025 due to the low annual cap.

Research into increasing the number of foreign-born physicians

The inadequate annual limit for H-1B visas impacts high-tech employers, hospitals and rural health clinics. Many states need help attracting physicians to practice in rural areas, and limited access to medical care is impacting residents’ health outcomes.

In 1994, Congress passed the law Conrad Visa Waiver Program to allow states to waive the requirement that a foreign physician with J-1 status return home within two years if he has worked in a medically underserved area for at least three years. The federal government must designate the location as a Health Care Professional Shortage (HPSA), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or a Medically Underserved Population.

The 1994 law limited the number of exemptions for foreign physicians on J-1 visas to 20 per state. In 2002, Congress expanded the program up to 30 for each state. That expansion made it easier for economists to examine the program’s impact on patients and other doctors.

“Our analysis uses available data on physicians, the use of J-1 visa waivers, and associated government policies to assess the impact of the Conrad 30 program on physician supply,” a researcher said. study by Breno Braga (Urban Institute) Gaurav Khanna (University of California, San Diego) and Sarah Turner (University of Virginia).

“We find that relaxing the base limit for J-1 visa waivers has generated a sustained increase in IMG [international medical graduates] physicians, without reducing the supply of U.S.-trained physicians, with these effects being particularly large in states with the fewest restrictions on the nature of work for waiver recipients.

‘In precise terms, we find that states that benefited from the expansion of the program have 0.04 more IMGs per thousand residents than states that did not benefit from the expansion of the cap in 2001. (2019), we estimate that this increase in physician supply was associated with a 20.6-day increase in life expectancy in states that benefited from the 2001 cap increase.â€

No evidence of negative impact on US-born physicians

Braga, Khanna and Turner examined the impact of the Conrad 30 program, which expanded the number of foreign physicians per state, on U.S.-born physicians and found no negative effect. “Our results are also consistent with evidence that an increasing supply of highly skilled immigrants could have null to positive effects on natives’ labor market outcomes when their labor supply is limited (Kerr and Lincoln 2010 and Peri, Shih, and Sparber 2015).â€

As the economists noted, the findings on the expansion of the Conrad 30 program are consistent with other research results. A May 2020 NFAP study found by economics professor Madeline Zavodny of the University of North Florida: “[T]The evidence suggests that the presence of H-1B visa holders is associated with lower unemployment rates and faster earnings growth among college graduates, including recent college graduates.”

Economists Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih and Chad Sparber examined the impact of H-1B visa holders on American professionals. She concluded“An increase in foreign STEM growth of 1 percentage point of total employment increases the wage growth of college-educated natives by 7-8 percentage points. The same change had a smaller but mostly significant effect on non-college-educated native wage growth of 3 to 4 percentage points.

William R. Kerr (Harvard Business School) and William F. Lincoln (University of Michigan) analyzed employment data from the Current Population Survey from 1995 to 2008. They found that an increase in the number of H-1B visas slowed innovation (patents) increased and did not negatively impact American professionals. “A 10% growth in the national H-1B population corresponded to 2%-4% higher growth in immigrant employment in SE for each standard deviation increase in state dependency,” Kerr and Lincoln said. “We find no substantive effect on natives [U.S.-born] scientists and engineers on a range of labor market outcomes, such as employment levels, average wages and unemployment rates.â€

The Conrad 30 program study and other recent studies indicate that allowing more foreign-born doctors, scientists, and engineers to work in the United States would help the U.S. economy and increase employment of U.S.-born would not harm professionals.