The sharp decrease in the number of H-1B visas issued over the last two years has not resulted in any change in employment growth for American natives, according to a study conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), highlighting the US labour market’s reliance on temporary foreign workers.
According to the report, the decrease in the availability of temporary high-skilled employees did not translate into an increase in demand for American workers with comparable skills. Most opponents of the H-1B visa program argue that it deprives local workers of possibilities while allowing firms to hire foreign labour at a lesser wage.
The lacklustre local hiring indicates a shortage of highly qualified employees with the abilities required to meet certain job criteria, which is consistent with the reasons stated by corporations that use H-1B visas to meet their desire for highly skilled labour.
According to US government data, the number of H-1B specialty occupation visas awarded declined substantially, from about 190,000 in FY2019 to around 62,000 in FY2021 and around 125,000 in FY2020. These visas, which are awarded to roughly 70% of Indians, are primarily employed by technology and IT services companies to fill the shortage of highly educated workers in the United States.
The United States had to hold two visa lotteries in the fiscal year 2021 because it did not receive enough applications to achieve the necessary limit of 85,000 new visas.
“There is also no evidence of faster employment growth or lower unemployment rates for college graduate US natives as a result of decreased admissions via the H-1B program,” said Madeline Zavodny, a research fellow at NFAP, in the report.
Instead, labour markets that were more reliant on temporary foreign workers under the H-1B program before the pandemic looked to have more vacant jobs during the pandemic, according to the report – the impact of the Covid-19 reduction in international migration on the US labour market.
Thus, the huge decline in new temporary foreign employees through the H-1B program does not appear to have resulted in better labour market results for US residents who would compete for jobs with those individuals.
The analysis examined numerous temporary visa categories and discovered that the United States received around 630,000 fewer working-age international migrants between mid-March 2020 and mid-March 2021 than it did at its peak during the same time in 2014-15.
It linked information on employer demand for temporary foreign employees through the H-2B, J-1, and H-1B visa programs with information on employment, unemployment, and job listings.
The continued labour shortages in various labour markets indicate US firms’ demand for extra workers from both domestic and international sources. Furthermore, there was no evidence of increased employment or unemployment for US citizens with at least a bachelor’s degree in areas that relied heavily on the H-1B program.
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