Jump-start U.S. growth through immigration

March 12, 2009

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. —

When people think of what to do to help the U.S. economic recovery, admitting more immigrants into America isn’t what usually comes to mind. But a new study by Arlene Holen, an economist and senior fellow with the Technology Policy Institute, could contribute to resolving the current economic crisis.

The study finds that letting in more highly-skilled immigrants would generate more tax revenue, and over time raise labor earnings and national income. (Click here for the study in PDF format.)

Coincidentally, this week the Wall Street Journal reported that bankers are quitting due to onerous conditions imposed by the federal government on banks receiving public funds. Yet the new economic stimulus bill specifically makes it harder for banks to hire foreign workers, thereby limiting the flow of talent to a troubled industry.

If Congress had not imposed a tight lid on green cards, according to Ms. Holen, America in 2008 might have had up to 300,000 more highly educated engineers and graduate students performing path breaking research. They would have added about $23 billion to GDP, and the federal government would have gained about $5 billion more in tax revenues.

Based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, Ms. Holen (who used to be associate director at CBO) said that if comprehensive immigration reform had been enacted in 2007 then GDP would have been $180 billion greater over the next decade, and federal revenues would have been higher by $40 billion.

A similar argument was voiced by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law in a speech on March 10. She said that “we need to jump start our growth through immigration.”

Ms. Lofgren explained that the billions of dollars allocated to scientific research in the 2009 economic stimulus bill cannot be effectively spent without more H-1B (temporary) visas for foreign scientists, “because all this spending needs people to do research.”

She said that comprehensive immigration reform, which was rejected by Congress in 2007, can pass this year if President Obama supports it.

To invoke a familiar truism, America’s immigration system is broken. Every year, the U.S. Center for Immigration Services issues only 65,000 H-1B temporary visas for skilled workers out of over 600,000 applications from employers.

A similar backlog exists for permanent residence visas sought by individuals both in America and abroad, with applications often close to ten times the number of “green cards” that may by law be issued. In 2006, more than 12,000 newly-arrived workers received green cards to work in the United States, and 53,000 temporary workers already in America were granted green cards.

For fiscal year 2009, the H-1B visa cap of 65,000 was reached in a few days. This is not to say H-1B visas have always fallen short of demand. During the 1990s, Congress temporarily raised the quota to 195,000, a number that did not exceed demand, but the quota reverted to 65,000 in 2004.

This quota represents a small fraction of the U.S. labor force of 154 million. Even if the quota were raised to 150,000 a year, that would still be less than one tenth of 1% of the labor force, hardly a source of the mass depicted by anti-immigration xenophobes.

By limiting visas, America is hurting itself, because the number and percentage of PhDs in science and engineering awarded to Americans and permanent residents have declined dramatically over the past decade. Fifty-eight percent of PhDs in physics are awarded to foreigners in 2007, compared with 48 percent a decade earlier. Foreigners earn 66 percent of PhDs in computer science and 53 percent of PhDs in chemistry.

Columbia University professor Amar Bhidé has shown in his new book “The Venturesome Economy” that it’s efficient for Americans to get advanced degrees in law and business rather than in science and math if they prefer these fields. However, we need to issue more immigrant visas so that we have enough scientists.

Issuing more green cards and H-1B visas can provide effective economic stimulus—and this can happen at little or no cost to Uncle Sam or working Americans.

You can reach Diana Furchtgott-Roth at dfr@hudson.org.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Ms. Roth must not live in the USA. She sounds like yet another foreigner trying to push her relatives on us like a cheap drug.

Didn’t Microsoft, the chief pro-opponent and supporter of open immigration assure us that there was an untapped need for h1-bs? The same company that just laid thousands of them off?

Ms. Roth should go back to whatever hole she crawled out of. This is what happens when people fear for their jobs. They’ll say anything! Ms. Roth thinks Americans are dumb!
More NAZI like propaganda. I’m sure some of the Germans thought Goebbels was giving them the truth! Who do you think you sound like Ms. Roth?

Posted by Lazy Dream | Report as abusive

We didnt have a problem with needing advanced education graduates in this country until the public school system was unionized and the quality of education collapsed. When union seniority replaced the advancement of teachers based on expertise, our GNP dropped from 50% manufacturing due to innovation in 1960, to less than 10% today. Unless our own education system is reformed to reward good teachers, as Obama stated yesterday, we will be educationally second class citizens in our own country.

Posted by Albright | Report as abusive

Do like Microsoft. If the government in its wisdom wont let the experts into the country to build your business, and the economy, move it from Seattle USA to Vancouver Canada, where there are no restrictions, and educated professionals are welcome. Duh, I wonder why Canada has not needed a bail-out program….

Posted by richard | Report as abusive

Extremely one-sided and uninformed article. This lady is a fraud.

Posted by augustine | Report as abusive

We never believe the stats until we face serious implications of it. We should allow talented/skilled Immigrants to USA. With that we get quality work and more tax for the government. country will go ahead in the world.

Now all educated masters are going out of the country and they are developing other countries and their economies. Its kind of shame on us.

Posted by larry | Report as abusive

The USA has enough foreigners here already without equal opportunity for USA citizens being able to work in foreign countries. Boost incomes – Sure, HOW? Looks like unfair competition and jobs away from USA citizens here.

Why doesn’t America product its own engineers? Are American kids stupid? No, but their educational system is failing them.
I think it is a great idea to put such sensitive industries as banking and engineering into the hands of foreigners. Helps destroy American independence.

While I agree 100% that the system is broken, I couldn’t disagree more with your underlying premise. Mrs Roth is naive and wrong and several levels.

First I need to preface the statement by saying that as an American living in Central Europe, and a former contractor/ real estate agent, I have personal experience hiring foreigners. There are about 12-14 million illegal aliens currently most of whom are from Mexico. These people are not only not paying taxes as you naively assume, they are a major source of the US cocaine problem.
They are also a burden on the current welfare system and often live four or five families together in one house or apartment violating the lease agreement and overburdening the septic capacities. Many of these who are already here illegally have prior records in Mexico.

In another example, most of the illegal aliens who do work, are then sending the US dollars they are earning illegally back to their families in Mexico.

In my business I hired Ukrainians, Americans, Russians and Poles. The literacy rate among Poles is actually 99%, and many of these workers are by-lingual. The best workers I ever had were the POlish ones. Under Obama’s plan, he wants law abiding citizens to pay for the medical care of these 14 Million illegal aliens.

Check the record — In addition, his latest moronic move was to sign a bill which costs 23 million tax-payer dollars to relocate Palestinians to the US. 56% of these voted for Hamas, and over half polled support suicide bombing in the US. These are anti-American, uneducated people who hate the US, and use women and children as human shields.

Maybe Mrs Roth should actually spend some time with real blue collar people doing physical work instead of reading socialist reports in her law firm.

Posted by Dariusz | Report as abusive

I’m in IT.
Over the last 12 years, I’ve seen my actual dollar wages go down and my true spending power decrease dramatically.

Students have all but stopped majoring in IT.

One only need look back a month ago to see that the banks were laying off American workers while trying to increase their allotment of H1-B workers.

The reason is simple. Greed.
CEO’s bonuses are tied in large part to the cost savings they produce for a company. The quickest way to reduce cost is through cheap labor.

With the middle class being squeezed from both having their jobs outsourced, having H1-B’s imported to reduce labor costs and the wink of allowing 20+ million illegal immigrants into this country, I pause for a moment and am concerned for the future of this country.

When did America get to the point where they held what amounts to disdain for American born workers?

One last thought. The middle class has always acted as a solid buffer between rich and poor. Take away that buffer and what do you think happens?

Posted by Wayne | Report as abusive

bottom line, high skill immigration increases tax collection. It will not snatch jobs from natives as (intelligent) native are more aligned to non tech kind of jobs like lawyers, business person, docs as they are more into tradition.

Posted by a jawale | Report as abusive

If the H1-B visa is disbanded, corporations would value U.S. Math and Science graduates more and pay them accordingly.

When students looking to select a career see that these jobs are valued, they will enroll in these programs more.

Posted by CoolMower | Report as abusive

I guess US needs more people from Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and other radical countries. Green cards are distributed to these peoples like hot cakes. US don’t need Indians and Chinese anymore, And guess what.. We are also getting more opportunities back home and in other countries. So it is the time to even out. Living in Canada, with no threats of H1 expiration and unnecessary taxex, is far better than in US, and especially with US degrees. H1 holders are feeding your social securities and medical plans and they have to leave this country immediately after loosing jobs. It is so stupid that the most brilliant people with Masters and PhD are stopped to participate in any country’s growth and political system. Since they are no longer residents of their countries of birth and waiting 20 years to be citizens of US. What to do- be a slave of IT companies and Wallstreet. A few of us goes to earning million dollars since it is not the money but good and safe living what brought us here. You will get more of your European and Middle Eastern brothers there.

Thanks US for setting the quality work ethics and letting us to learn it through your best education system. Now we will bring whole world equal to yours.

Another great news- now your campuses are going global. Many universities are opening campuses in Middle Eastern countries and other Asian countries, though I am not a fan of living in Islamic countries.

Posted by Deepti | Report as abusive

One more point: Every year my country of birth gives citizenship to millions of people from Bangladesh and Tibet, entered illegally and regardless of the country’s population of 1 billion. They are allowed to do whatever they want – follow Sharia rules, have multiple wives, lots of kids, follow their religions and be part of next generation of ‘Slumdogs’. I guess now Indian government should sign a deal with Virgin Atlantic and pick them from borders and bring to US- you will give them Greencard. Do you recognize Tibet as a country??

In one man’s comment, I was reading about the impact of immigration on Carbon Emission. I also work in the area of Environment and sorry to tell you that it is not the each and every country’s individual emission at the day end counts. And most of educated people have 1 or 2 kids and we make sure that they get higher education to influence thousands of other lives. Surely an American has larger carbon Footprint than an African. But at the day end counts also matter and your companies are selling same life style you have here. Every year 1000s of shopping malls are opening in India and still growth is lower than China’s. Stop churches and mosques, funded on your money, which are working there to raise the ‘religious statistics’ through propaganda against family control.

Posted by Deepti | Report as abusive

I don’t know where people are coming up with the idea that H-1 workers are cheap labor. They get paid the same as a US Citizen, and for IT thats anywhere between 63k-120k/year. That is not cheap labor.

The problem is the education system in the US is a total failure. Kids dont want to study. Kids dont even graduate High-School, they get GEDs. Kids dont even get 4 year Bachelor degrees, instead they get Associates. America makes its citizens lazy and second class. That is its own undoing. And all of you are blaming corporations for not hiring US Citizens? Hard working, striving and exceptional US Citizens of old are GONE. They were replaced by the fat, lazy, non-inspired kids of today that nobody wants to hire and why should they?

All the smart US Citizens, which unfortunately is a minority, take up law, become politicians or entrepreneurs that go on to hire H-1 workers because the qualified people they need are not here. While the rest of the country simmers in a cesspool, a byproduct of the failed American Educational system.

Posted by Wake up | Report as abusive

One of the major reasons for the decline of the US economy in the simplest way is the loss of exports. We no longer make anything in the USA(almost) and instead pay other countries to produce everything we use. If our trade deficit and national debt aren’t enough of an indicator to Diana that now importing skilled labor is the solution I don’t think she’ll ever understand our situation. This is not an idea to stimulate our economy or to be used as a stop-gap measure to lift the government’s budget shortfalls with new tax revenue. It is a sure path to further eroding our already crippled economy. If we take this advice in ten years the United States will be on a direct path to third world status with no educated citizens of its own and no products to sell to the rest of the world.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

At my advanced age, I remember many liberal rants and 30-40 years ago, the libs were hollering about overpopulation. Their rant was valid then as it is today. They claimed our resources could not support more population and campaigned for ZPG — Zero Population Growth. Now that it doesn’t fit the liberal agenda, they’re advocating another hundred million people for our nation in place of a stable population. Why? It’s always the same. Disguised as compassion, civil rights and environmental concerns, it’s really about wealth and power.

Posted by Tom2 | Report as abusive

First ask the immigrants the basic purpose for which they come to migrate. Is it because there are not opportunities in their homelands? Since these people are considered ‘highly-skilled’, then why don’t they stay back and develop their own nations? Why do they need to come to the greener pastures to practices their ‘highly developed’ skills?

Of course, the basic reason is that these immigrants migrate simply to escape the poverty and unemployment of their homelands. Given a chance, any migrant would strive to do that whether or not he/she is skilled or not. But the US employers, who consider their individual profit with more priority than the concern of the nation as a whole, simply want to employ the immigrants because they readily work for lower wages, though these wages might still be higher than what they would get in their own countries.

If there were no restrictions on giving Visas to migrants who are ready to work for low wages, then the whole US would gradually be filled with immigrants working everywhere for a few elite moneyed class. Why doesn’t Microsoft completely replace all its technical and skilled staff with migrants? Or better yet, fill the managerial and administrative positions also with the migrants so that the few bosses can gain all the profit!

Posted by fallenmonk | Report as abusive

Dear Mrs. Furchtgott-Roth,

I came across your article regarding immigration-based economic growth
and it really moves me; I’m very satisfied that someone is giving a
positive spin to the impact that immigrants can have in the US
recovery. I’m actually one of the thousands of hopeful professionals
waiting for a Labor Certification to go back to US; in the mean time,
my company hasn’t been able to find anyone to perform the same quality
of work that I do. Fair? Not really, immigration laws need to change,
especially providing some benefits to the most skilled professionals,
which ultimately will benefit US corporations.

Again, thanks very much for your insights. I can only hope the
Department of Labor starts working at a “normal” pace again: I’ve been
waiting for my LC since Nov 2007 (what about PERM speeding the process
up?). One can only hope that others see the benefit of skilled
immigrants for US and stop seeing them as a threat for Americans as is
currently happening (and that’s, in my opinion, the reason why DOL and
USCIS are silently slowing down the paperwork processing)… And we
just can’t ask DOL too much as that’s understood as “suspicious”,
isn’t that beautiful? I hope it’s worth the wait.

L Baez, MBA and hopeful future GC holder

Posted by L Baez | Report as abusive

Here is the brutal truth you never examine: When you, the White and Well-to-Do,import your tidal waves of slaves, what exactly happens to the poor people who are ALREADY HERE?

Well, this is what happens: They have to live with the brutality of your slaver actions. You don’t get fired, but we do. You don’t watch your co-workers get fired one by one and replaced with slaves, but we do. You don’t spend month after month applying in person for jobs, and seeing workplaces exclusively employing immigrant slaves, but we do. You don’t see your earnings cut by 75%, but we do. Your lives and families are not destroyed, but ours are.
Meanwhile, both the Lefties and Righties pollute the air with their gasbag, idiot, non-book-reader, talk-radio opinions. The Rightie morons are brainwashed into thinking they’re taxed to death because illegals get vast amount of welfare. The Lefty morons, are brainwashed into babbling about a mindless fantasy of plenty for all which has never existed. The only thing you have in common is this: all of you make damned sure that your White Rug Rats attend schools which are completely uncontaminated by the presence of the offspring of your slaves.

I am astounded to find myself saying that I’ve actually grown to hate you people. In your bickering, you’re ALL idiots. You’re really and truly hopeless, but it is instructive to actually hear the world views of arch-segregationists. Spare me your indignant responses. I will not be checking in again. Goodbye.

Posted by I.M. Crawford | Report as abusive

The quickest way to lower unemplyment is to end the issuance of H1 Visas for non-critical roles (reduce to 1,000 per year). Most H1s are issued to Indian run firms that specialize in bringing people over from India for IT jobs, not research. In many cases, they fabricate resumes and credentials and University degrees which cannot be easily verified here in the US. Most Indians are aware of this practice and many have described this practice to me first hand as an IT firm owner, (as well as having witnessed it first hand). To top it off, many of these indian run firms file for minority status and get preference on government contracts over US run firms.

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

I noticed most of the supporters of this article pose as Americans using english names when the grammar clearly gives them away as foreign nationals from Indian or Asian countries.

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

Even though I am not gainfully employed, I find the whole idea of non Americans i. e. immigrants not being able to contribute to our social and economic basic alarming. There are so many talented people from Ireland, Inda, China,Africa and the list can go on. I hope that cooler heads can provail even in these economic hard times. Immigrants that work hard and make money in this country desire all that citizens like my self have. Tim

Weak Economy will lead the companies to do outsource the jobs to cheaper destination and get the work done. That’s even better to have H1B job here and pay the taxes.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

I am a USA born citizen. I am married to a Mexico born citizen. Since he has lived, worked and paid taxes in the USA since 1991. No criminal record. I would like for him to become a documented human being and then a Naturalized US Citizen. Neither he nor I have any interest in Mexico. We would like to live and die in the USA in a legal status. The government regulations at this time will not let us do that. I hope things will get better for us. There has to be a way that we can live “legally” in the USA.

Posted by Lydia Gil | Report as abusive

I am an immigrant. I came here to study, got good assistanceship. I will work here for some time and will start my new journey, since I am not a coward and believe in adventures. But to all, who thinks that their country is here to provide them million dollar jobs and homes without any calibre and input from their side, I have one suggestion to stop immigration:

Stop funding the churches and mosques, which are working in Asia, Africa and South America to raise their ‘religious statistics’ through propaganda against family control. And also to fund terrorism and nuclear bombs in Asia and Africa. Better save this money to pay unemployment benefits when all the jobs will be outsourced or to gift homes to reckless parents of 14 kids.

Posted by Deepti | Report as abusive

One of the major reasons for the decline of the US economy in the simplest way is the loss of exports. We no longer make anything in the USA(almost) and instead pay other countries to produce everything we use.for example, outsourcing most of the call center to bloody curry indian bastrad… If our trade deficit and national debt aren’t enough of an indicator to Diana that now importing skilled labor is the solution I don’t think she’ll ever understand our situation. This is not an idea to stimulate our economy or to be used as a stop-gap measure to lift the government’s budget shortfalls with new tax revenue. It is a sure path to further eroding our already crippled economy. If we take this advice in ten years the United States will be on a direct path to third world status with no educated citizens of its own and no products to sell to the rest of the world.

Posted by Darren Smith | Report as abusive

Deepti : “Stop funding the churches and mosques, which are working in Asia, Africa and South America to raise their ‘religious statistics’ through propaganda against family control.”

This is the hypocrisy of an immigrant. You would like to get settled in a much more developed, safer and cleaner country like the USA while escaping poverty-stricken and difficult native country of yours, but you wouldn’t like the USA to interfere in your home country. Why so? Now that you are not a citizen of your native country, why would you bother if the citizens of your ‘new country’ are funding their religious institutions somewhere else?

As for your ludicrous comment about funding nuclear bombs in Asia and Africa, all I can do is laugh.

Someone else here commented about the fraudulent methods by which some of the Indian immigrants apply for jobs in the US. I can attest this fact. Many of them like exaggerating their CV content to make it look impressive to the US employers, and they wouldn’t hesitate to add “unverifiable” data about their experience if need be. Moreover, there is a big difference between the education of the US and that of these countries. Otherwise, why would students come in hordes from there to study in the west?

Posted by fallenmonk | Report as abusive

For 18 years, the H1B and EB greencard programs have worked in tandem to destroy American careers. Most of the time, there is no requirement that employers first look for American workers before hiring foreign workers on H1B visas. Dept. of Labor rules actually allow most companies to replace American citizens with lower-wage H1B workers at will, even if the citizen workers are getting good performance reviews. Sure, there’s a law that says employers must try to recruit Americans before sponsoring a foreign worker for an employment greencard. That process is called labor certification, and it’s a sick joke because businesses game the system by using fake job ads and bad faith interviews of American job applicants in order to get around the law.

Posted by Darren | Report as abusive

Wow!! So US will interfere in all the world. This country will fund Pakistan’s nuclear. People of this country will do scam, design ponzy scheme and use whole wotld as labor. I used to think here lack of IQ is the concern, but I guess common sense is also at the risk in U.S.A. Anyway, I guess your time is out.

And as far as, people who came here on fake degrees is concerned, this is the learning whole world is again getting from US. Your richest people are school drop out. I have never seen any single US person in work places with a degree from recognized degree. They got degrees from some kinda ‘cornered colleges’ and since they have reservation in federal so it is easy for them to make back door entry. And it is the failure of your system who can’t recognize. If your CIA can work all around the world, can’t they get a list of recognized universities worldwide. Silly and pathetic!! So as the million dollar home pwners who can’t afford mortgages.

Posted by Deepti | Report as abusive

Since I am not related to contracting business, I still need to understand who employs these contractors, probably Federal and state government. These small businesses definitely have some source of income. probably they are working under the umbrella of leading contractors of Federal or getting the projects of states where no one goes such as KY, WY. So probably someone on H1 plays with your SSN too and you are treating them as aliens. Appears that you are totally screwed..
Many European countries and Canada can give cleaner and safer life (drug and gun free) as compared to US.

Posted by Deepti | Report as abusive

Deepti: “Your richest people are school drop out. I have never seen any single US person in work places with a degree from recognized degree.”

Since you are audacious enough to accuse the lack of college education among the US citizens(rich ones at that), this would mean that the college education in your native country far exceeds that of US, right? If so, why do you need to come to the US to get higher education and job? Aren’t you contradicting yourself? Why is your native country facing such high unemployment and poverty if the education is better there, and all are college-educated? Do you have answers for these? If you have so much disregard for the American people and their education, why do you want American citizenship in the first place?

Moreover, the fact that even “school drop-outs” in the US are far more richer than the most educated man of your native country only proves the superiority of the US education and economic system. If students can’t find good jobs, security, prosperity in your native countries with college degrees, and have to migrate to the US for the same, then what’s the use of such degrees? I am aware of the education standard of developing nations. You cannot simply compare those with that of the more developed world. That is why the students (you included) migrate from developing countries to the developed countries for better education and not vice versa. Its very easy to get a college degree in the developing nation since the system is too mechanical and corrupt.

By the way, Bill Gates is a college drop-out too, and yet he employs thousands of “highly educated” (college educated), “highly skilled” immigrants, in Microsoft. What do you have to say about that?

PS – I am not a US citizen, nor am I a migrant.

Posted by fallenmonk | Report as abusive

Deepti: “Many European countries and Canada can give cleaner and safer life (drug and gun free) as compared to US.”

What about your native country? Why are you trying to escape it? If European countries and Canada can give cleaner and safer life, then its good for its citizens, not for the migrants. Otherwise, migrants will come in hordes from the developing countries to escape their own problems for a more safer, secure and cleaner country like Canada, and will perhaps even exceed the original citizens in population.

A friendly advice from my side: Go back to your original country and use your US education to develop it further.

Posted by fallenmonk | Report as abusive

Athena said:

“If it will take immigrants like Albert Einstein to re-educate America like in the 1940’s and 1950’s, so be it.”

I oppose H1-B, but I enthusiastically support allowing anyone of Albert Einstein’s abilities to emigrate to the US.

Posted by lance sjogren | Report as abusive

First, Arlene Holen is oblivious that Microsof and many high-tech companies recently have massively laid off workers who are still collecting unemployment benefits.

Holen should also examine the Census data to see the explosive numbers of elderly parents that former H-1bs and “professional” immigrants brought in to the U.S. and put them on welfare. Holen should also compute the cost of many social services rendered to these newcomers and families, such as education, health care, costs of construction/maintenances of roads/bridges, fire/police/emergency services, homeland security measures, traffic control, pollution control, costs of finding new sources of energy and water as the result of population growth.

China realized 3 decades ago that population growth would seriously impede its economic success. It went as far as adopting its draconian one-child policy. It also seriously restrict immigration, even for people of Chinese descent!

Holen obviously has not thought of the impact of mass immigration on our national unity. It is high time that Americans woke up and urged President Obama and Congress to enact some sort of immigration moratorium for the good of all Americans and legal immigrants already here!

Yeh Ling-Ling
Executive Director
Alliance for a Sustainable USA
Oakland, CA

The whole statistics about job availability itself is fraudulently represented frequently by various media and fraud experts. Most big and medium companies job hirings are done through staffing firms (called vendor list). Every company has 50-200 staffing firms that they notify them to get a good candidates, whenever a new requirement arises in a company. Here is the fun part. All these companies head out to find a suitable candidate quickly, and will post the same job in various job boards. In reality for every available job, there are 200+ same job appears from various sources. Hence, 6 million jobs every year itself is a BS information. There are not many new jobs (mdeium/high paying >60K) every year, and defintely not in millions. You can test it yourself(example: for software engineer in NY). Go to http://www.simplyhired.com/a/jobs/list/q -software+engineer/l-NY/fem-employer, and you will see 3016 jobs. Now modify your search (on left side), and choose Source is Company, Job type is Permanent, and the number of jobs drops to 29. That means, there is only 1% job, but it is maginified almost 100 times.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive


I do not know your individual circumstances, and if they are unfortunate then you have my sympathy.

However, advocating stricter immigration policies is not “xenophobic”, and when you play that card you have abandoned your credibility on the issue.

Stricter H1-b policies were enacted by politicians responding to public opinion that larger quotas were not good for the country. You are free to disagree with that on the merits, although I suspect that your view is heavily biased by your own self-interest.

What is not acceptable, however, is to make ad hominem attacks against those on the other side.

There are occasionally advocates of stricter immigration policies that cross the line of decency just as you did. For example, claiming that anyone on your side is simply a sweatshop profiteer.

Any such slurs on either side of the issue are uncalled for, and believe those in the debate (especially those on the same side of the issue as the one making the slur) have a moral obligation to condemn them.

Posted by lance sjogren | Report as abusive

The flagrant disregard of anything happening outside the US that is displayed in this article is simply breathtaking. Did it cross the writer’s mind what removing expensively educated workers does to foreign countries and their economies?
I suppose that the only thing that counts is the US and the US economy? I suggest the writer studies the meaning of the words egoism and unethical.

Posted by A Mulder | Report as abusive

I am not sure, whether this message gets through finally to the message board.

We have enough unemployed US citizens who can be used for tech jobs. I have worked in IT for more than 20 years, and from my experience I know there is a wide spread fraud through the media to convince Americans that, there is a serious shortage of skilled workers. I hope, your article is not one of those to hoodwink the public.

Posted by US Citizen | Report as abusive

There are two kinds of people who think that continuous population growth and economic growth are sustainable: economists and madmen.

If the so-called comprehensive immigration reform had passed, it would have exploded our already immigration-driven population explosion to well over a half-million human pile-on by 2050.
It always amazes me whan rank amatures and economists weight in on immigration so ignorantly. GEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!

Posted by MIke McGarry | Report as abusive

FallenMonk- it seems you are living in some imaginary world where whole world is way behind than US. Wakeup many countries are catching up. India has its own MIT – Indian Institute of Technology. Many students from this MIT comes here for higher degrees. Immigrants don’t work only for themselves but they support both countries by paying taxes in the resident country and supporting NGOs’ and education system in native country.

A PhD won’t go to earn million dollar – better he or she will spend his life in laboratories to make world better place- obviously it is hard for you to understand, because your yardstick works only in stock values and bank statements. It is not million dollar home what attracts them. Microsoft is not the magic of Bill Gate (actually I was talking about him, more than Indian kids he influences yours, that’s why they don’t want to go for highre education) only- many people of different countries are contributing there. That’s why he is shifting jobs to other places to save his company from protectionism.

Posted by Deepti | Report as abusive

Not everyone is saying H1s are not needed. Filter the system to bring in only the talented ones, to keep this country competative. Presently, the system is being misused by fraud companies, staffing firms helped greatly by the misguided articles such as the one above, to bring in average and below average folks who obviously are ready to undercut wages of US citizens.

I know, some of the honest H1 folks who said, they have a better chance of surviving in US job market than India. I know my cousin, who graduated from top MBA schools in India, and refused to job offer from Cisco/Microsoft because he felt the oppurtunities are better in other industries in India. Hence, not all IITs and top graduates in India are eager to work for US companies.

At the same time, Microsoft or any companies moving to India is for cheap talent and to under cut the wages of US workers. Afterall they are businesses and do ANYTHING to keep their company afloat. There is nothing wrong in it. It is the responsibility of the governemnt and the immigration that, these companies do not use USA whenever they want and move jobs out when it is convenient. If they like India so much, let them move their head offices and move their entire operation including the CEO homes to India.

There has to be balance between greed and responsibility towards a nation for these companies, just like an average US citizen is expected to. It is shame, an average citizen is telling the company, what their responsibilities are.

In this country, If every kid drops out of school because of high cost of education, every adult loses job because of age/outsourcing and fails sick with no health insurance what will happen to the future of this country?

It is easy for us to sit at home comfortably and argue and write great articles about the merits of outsourcing and immigration. But look into the future and thing about your kids in this country.

I doubt, this message will go beyond the moderator ;-)

Posted by IndianImmigrant | Report as abusive

Deepti : “Wakeup many countries are catching up. India has its own MIT – Indian Institute of Technology. Many students from this MIT comes here for higher degrees.”

Again you contradict yourself. If there is an “MIT” in India, then why do they need to come to the real MIT of USA to study? Should I laugh at this?

“Immigrants don’t work only for themselves but they support both countries by paying taxes in the resident country and supporting NGOs’ and education system in native country.”

So, immigrants think that the only way to improve their native countries is by NGO’s, where as the real research should be done in the US? Well, its good if the research is done in the US, because it will only benefit and improve the US economy. However, the truth is that the innovations that happen in the technological field is still more or less a monopoly of the developed nations. The immigrants are allowed to work only because “there is a lack of suitable workers for some jobs”.

“That’s why he is shifting jobs to other places to save his company from protectionism.”

He’s outsourcing jobs to developing economies simply because he is greedy and want to make more profit. Immigrants from India, Pakistan etc, readily work for wages 1/3 or even 1/5 of what a corresponding US professional would demand, therefore these firms are tempted to outsource the jobs for their own profit. This is good, but it should have some limit. Otherwise, Gates would have employed all the Indians/Pakistanis/Filipino etc for all the technical jobs.

Posted by fallenmonk | Report as abusive

Deepti, no American citizen would have any problem if someone of the caliber of Albert Einstein migrates to the US, because he would really benefit the country through groundwork and real research. But the immigrants come for jobs and they only benefit their employers, not the nation as whole. I hope you are understanding the difference.

PS – I am neither a US citizen nor an immigrant.

Posted by fallenmonk | Report as abusive

I would like to mention that here in Ohio and according to NPR across the nation we are experiencing a flood of trained graduates who cannot find work. And someone thinks we can jumpstart our nation with immigration? How high do you want unemployment to go? We have lawyers bagging groceries, engineers flipping burgers, teachers working at Wall Mart and it is going to get worse without immigration opening the flood gates. I personally know of a surgical nurse who is working as a masseuse because she can’t find a position in Ohio. The situation is bad. The last this thing nation needs is imigrants who will increase the competition for our children who are pouring our to our nation’s colleges and universities.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

What Holen neglects:

If Congress had passed the 2007 “comprehensive immigration reform” bill (a/k/a amnesty for 12-20 million illegal immigrants), the Heritage Foundation reports this would have cost taxpayers $2.6 TRILLION.

This is what happens when poverty is imported. It’s not rocket science.

It is time for a moratorium on ALL immigration (legal and illegal) to help taxpayers, allow assimilation of those already here, and to open up jobs for the 12 million unemployed Americans.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

“They would have added about $23 billion to GDP, and the federal government would have gained about $5 billion more in tax revenues.”

I fail to understand how they would add to GDP since research dollars are a competitive industry, and are a finite resource.

What this article then requires, is a concomitant increase in basic research funding. That money usually comes from the DoD or the Federal Government in the first place.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Adding more skilled immigrants to the US will only cause the wages for skilled jobs to go down. It’s a basic supply and demand calculation– no research needed. Obviously, this will only benefits the companies, allowing them to drive down cost. Not so good for American who paid so much for their educations. I think our schools are pumping enough newly graduates to cover this demand. If their was a demand.

Posted by Lo | Report as abusive

A fine point, letting in skilled immigrants. But nowhere in your article do you mention that the government doesn’t seem to be able to do that. A finely tuned immigration system would be a fine thing. Your idea is a good one, I’m just not sure the government can put it into practice without opening the flood gates.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

If we are in need of so many engineers year after year, where is the commitment to producing such graduates here? Are our schools not capable, our students not prepared to study engineering? If so, let us build a first class educational system and encourage our young people to study math and science. I do not see the logic behind continuing to issue more H1 Visas without embarking on a path to produce our own engineers so as to employ more Americans in the future.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

It is very sad to see the hipocrisy of a whole nation as this issue drags on.
1) If the Immigration Act of 2007 would’ve passed, we would not be in a recession, because of the millions of new customers added to the economy. For those of you who were sleeping during the early 90′s recession, it was the newly naturalized immigrants who saved the economy with their newly find purchasing confidence.
2) These immigrants (H1B applicants)are our representatives in their native countries, and they will take our values to their nations. They are not poor in their countries, but the best, and they bring new ideas and innovations to us all.
3) They happened to be coming from nations that are not fair skin. That is the center of the problem, if they were lighter skin there will be no discussion about the issuing of these visas; there would be public outrage at the slowness of the process instead.
4) Everybody but Native-Americans have immigrant relatives in their lineage. This is why America captivates the imagination of the World, opportunities are given to those deserving enough and to those who prove themselves worthy, no matter where they are from.

Posted by Athena | Report as abusive