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Visa Wait Times and Future Earnings: Evidence from the National Survey of College Graduates


  • Michael Coon

    () (University of Tampa)

  • Miao Chi

    () (Drew University)


Abstract This study explores the relationship between lawful permanent resident status and earnings. We begin by estimating wage differentials between lawful permanent residents and immigrants on temporary visas. We find a wide variation in earnings differentials according to category of temporary visa, and find a negative differential between lawful permanent residents and immigrants on temporary work visas. We then examine the effect of longer wait times to obtain a permanent resident visa on immigrants’ income. Using data from the National Survey of College Graduates, we find that immigrants who enter the US on temporary work visas earn 2% less for each year between the time of entry into the US and when their permanent resident visa is issued. We find a similar relationship for immigrants who enter on student visas and have wait times of more than 5 years. Further, we find a larger relationship for African and Latin American and Caribbean immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Coon & Miao Chi, 2019. "Visa Wait Times and Future Earnings: Evidence from the National Survey of College Graduates," Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 43-61, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joerap:v:2:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s41996-018-0024-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s41996-018-0024-6

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    Immigration; Earnings; Visa backlogs;


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