A timely new academic study of hiring practices in the high-tech industry was released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) on April 24.
Based on extensive data on salaries and hiring practices for foreign and domestic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates, the researchers found that there is no shortage of domestic graduates, that wages have been flat since about 2004 – belying industry claims of a shortage, and that the growing supply of guestworkers, “…appear to provide firms with access to labor that will be in plentiful supply at wages that are too low to induce a significantly increased supply from the domestic workforce.”
More significant than the issue of employers taking advantage of lower wage foreign workers – and pushing for even more in the Gang of 8 immigration bill (S.744) introduced last week – is the fact that this trend has the effect of discouraging U.S. students from pursuing careers in high-tech jobs. This means that by hiring more foreign workers employers depress the supply of domestic high-tech workers. The cyclical effect is to perpetuate and expand the hiring of foreign workers on the basis of the employer-caused reduction in domestic graduates.
The implication is clear: If Congress accedes to the high-tech industry strategy and enormously increases H-1B and L visas for guestworkers and immigrant visas for STEM graduates as included in S.744, future job opportunities for U.S. students will be diminished and the United States will become increasingly dependent on foreigners to staff its vital high-tech workforce.
Take a look at FAIR’s analysis of the H-1B provisions in the Gang of 8 bill here.