NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 19, 2008

The Labor Department projects that by 2014 there will be more than two million job openings in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.  But the number of Americans graduating with degrees in those disciplines is falling.  Meanwhile, visa quotas make it increasingly difficult for U.S. companies to hire foreign-born graduates of our own universities, says the Wall Street Journal.  

Last year, as in prior years, the base supply of only 65,000 H-1B visas, given to foreign professionals working in the United States was exhausted on the first day petitions could be filed.  Two recent studies published by the National Foundation for American Policy (NAFP), show the need and benefits for allowing more H-1B visas:

  • The first found that major U.S. technology companies average more than 470 job openings for skilled positions.
  • Defense companies average more than 1,200 such openings.
  • In all, more than 140,000 skilled job openings are available today in the S&P 500 companies.

The second study, reports the results of a regression analysis of H-1B filings and employment at U.S. tech companies.  Researchers found a positive association between H-1B visa requests and the percentage change in total employment:

  • Among S&P 500 firms, the data show that for every H-1B position requested, U.S. technology companies increased employment by 5 workers.
  • For technology firms with fewer than 5,000 employees, each H-1B position requested in labor condition applications was associated with an increase of employment of 7.5 workers.
  • Far from stealing jobs from Americans, skilled immigrants expand the economic pie.

The preponderance of evidence continues to show that businesses are having difficulty filling skilled positions in the United States.  By blocking their access to foreign talent, Congress isn't protecting U.S. jobs but is providing incentives to outsource, say the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "More Visas, More Jobs," Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2008.

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For first NAFP study: 

For second NAFP study: 


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