High-Tech Employers Seek More Foreign Workers to Depress Wages

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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.

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Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).

7 Comments

  1. avatar
    STEMLookingforwork on

    Graduated with a second bachelors in Environmental Science in December – still looking. I’m just about ready to give up on this country altogether. It seems now that the american worker is basically being dumped on at every turn. I give up.

  2. avatar
    Mass Immigration Is Unsustainable on

    Isn’t there some commercial that says, “Let’s fix this?”

    OK, how about not creating the impression that this is a dumb field to go into due to foreign labor importation.

  3. avatar
    John Winthrop on

    Leland these foreign students pay double the tuition and have no access to scholarships nor financial student aid……..and honestly for the past 15 years plus our students are the minority demographics in science…most want careers to make millions……..

  4. avatar

    EXACTLY. We lecture students to put the effort and MONEY into getting college degrees in the sciences and then we let the companies bring in foreign workers to depress wages. I am also sick and tired of the argument that we can’t educate foreign students and then let them go home.

    The question should be WHY are we allowing them to take spots at our taxpayer supported universities, when a LOT of American students cannot get into those schools in spite of fairly high grades. What kind of country goes out of it’s way to use it’s facilities and education system to educate people who will then COMPETE with us.

    If there was ever any proof that this is all about depressing wages, it’s the fact that Bill Gates has been lobbying for years for UNLIMITED tech visas. Not based on any alleged shortage at Microsoft or other companies, but as MANY people as he can bring in. And several years ago, Microsoft LAID OFF thousands of American workers while he was lobbying for more visas at the same time.

    • avatar
      John Winthrop on

      Leland the issue is very VERY complex………..now that the economy is bad people see things they never saw or cared…………………………….it has been like this for decades and the reason we became a POWER YET…………you are right at the fact that it needs to be controlled as per the needs of the country such that there is balance.

    • avatar

      Its Been Like This for Decades????

      When have had like CHRONIC/WORSENING 20%+ unemployment [when you honestly add them all in] for decades in America?

      The Great Depression?