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Flight of the H-1B: Inter-Firm Mobility and Return Migration Patterns for Skilled Guest Workers

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Author Info

  • Depew, Briggs

    ()
    (Louisiana State University)

  • Norlander, Peter

    ()
    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Sorensen, Todd A.

    ()
    (University of California, Riverside)

Abstract

Critics of the H-1B program for high-skilled workers argue that the program restricts immigrant job mobility and lacks a vehicle for adjusting the number of visas during a recession. We study the job mobility of highly-skilled Indian IT guest workers and provide new evidence on their inter-firm mobility and return migration patterns. We use a unique multi-year firm level dataset to show that, outside of the Great Recession, these workers are mobile and that lower paid guest workers are more likely than higher paid guest workers to separate to another firm in the U.S. We also analyze return migration decisions and find that low wage workers repatriate more than high wage workers, and that this relationship intensified during the Great Recession. This partially mitigates concerns that guest worker visa programs do not adjust to fluctuations in the macro economy. Following this finding, we show that the employment to population ratio (EPOP) for highly-skilled male workers has fallen at a much steeper rate since 2008 than is typically recognized, once we account for the phenomenon of discouraged immigrants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7456.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7456

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Related research

Keywords: skilled migration; labor market frictions; business cycles;

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References

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  1. Kirk Doran & Kirk Doran, 2012. "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians," Working Papers 002, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2012.
  2. Michael R Ransom & David P. Sims, 2010. "Estimating the Firm's Labor Supply Curve in a "New Monopsony" Framework: Schoolteachers in Missouri," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 331-355, 04.
  3. Boris Hirsch, 2007. "Joan Robinson Meets Harold Hotelling: A Dyopsonistic Explanation of the Gender Pay Gap," Working Papers 024, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  4. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2013. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of U.S. Firms," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-040, Harvard Business School.
  5. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2009. "Employer monopsony power in the labor market for undocumented workers," Working Paper 2009-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, 07.
  7. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," NBER Working Papers 18011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Douglas Webber, 2011. "Firm Market Power and the Earnings Distribution," Working Papers 11-41, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Sankar Mukhopadhyay & David Oxborrow, 2012. "The Value of an Employment-Based Green Card," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 219-237, February.
  10. Torberg Falch, 2010. "The Elasticity of Labor Supply at the Establishment Level," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 237-266, 04.
  11. Depew, Briggs & Sorensen, Todd A., 2011. "Elasticity of Supply to the Firm and the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 5928, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Kuhn, Peter J. & Shen, Kailing, 2014. "Do Employers Prefer Undocumented Workers? Evidence from China's Hukou System," IZA Discussion Papers 8289, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Giovanni Peri & Kevin Y. Shih & Chad Sparber, 2014. "Foreign STEM Workers and Native Wages and Employment in U.S. Cities," NBER Working Papers 20093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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