A report claims that job availability in the computer science field would be up by as much as 11% and that wages would have increased by 5% if the H-1B visa system allowing companies to employ foreign workers in high-skilled fields had not been introduced.
The report, by John Bound and Nicolas Morales of the University of Michigan and Gaurav Khanna of the University of California, San Diego, studied the economy between 1994 and 2001, known as the Internet boom era. This period was also the time when H-1B labor was close to its cap, before the start of the IT sector in India. The study states that in 2001, the number of US computer scientists was between 6.1% and 10.8% lower than it is now and that wages were between 2.6% and 5.1% lower.
The report description reads, “Over the 1990s, the share of foreigners entering the US high-skill workforce grew rapidly. This migration potentially had a significant effect on US workers, consumers and firms. To study these effects, we construct a general equilibrium model of the US economy and calibrate it using data from 1994 to 2001.”
Silicon Valley companies have benefited from the use of H-1B visas for some time. The Trump administration has many tech companies on edge as rumors of an executive order aimed to stop the H-1B visas surfaced last month. Bloomberg Technology reported in January that the Trump administration had drafted a new executive order reportedly aimed at tightening and re-working the H-1B visa system, which is used by many Silicon Valley tech companies to hire workers from overseas.
The use of H-1B visas has been a subject of debate for some time, as many believe that the overuse of these visas has lead to white collar Americans being pushed out of the workforce. In some cases, former American employees were forced to train the H-1B visa workers that would be replacing them.