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The Effect of the H-1B Quota on Employment and Selection of Foreign-Born Labor

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  • Anna Maria Mayda
  • Francesc Ortega
  • Giovanni Peri
  • Kevin Shih
  • Chad Sparber

Abstract

The H-1B program allows skilled foreign-born individuals to work in the United States. The annual quota on new H-1B visa issuances fell from 195,000 to 65,000 for employees of most firms in fiscal year 2004. However, this cap did not apply to new employees of colleges, universities, and non-profit research institutions. Additionally, existing H-1B holders seeking to renew their visa were also exempt from the quota. Using a triple difference approach, this paper demonstrates that cap restrictions significantly reduced the employment of new H-1B workers in for-profit firms relative to what would have occurred in an unconstrained environment. Employment of similar native workers in for profit firms did not change, however, consistently with a low degree of substitutability between H1B and native workers. The restriction also redistributed H-1Bs toward computer-related occupations, Indian-born workers, and firms using the H-1B program intensively.

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  • Anna Maria Mayda & Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri & Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber, 2017. "The Effect of the H-1B Quota on Employment and Selection of Foreign-Born Labor," NBER Working Papers 23902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23902
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    Cited by:

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    3. Morgan Raux, 2019. "Looking for the "Best and Brightest": Hiring difficulties and high-skilled foreign workers," Working Papers halshs-02364921, HAL.
    4. Chassamboulli, Andri & Peri, Giovanni, 2020. "The economic effect of immigration policies: analyzing and simulating the U.S. case," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 114(C).
    5. Lin, Gary C., 2019. "High-skilled immigration and native task specialization in U.S. cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 289-305.
    6. Kahn, Shulamit & MacGarvie, Megan, 2020. "The impact of permanent residency delays for STEM PhDs: Who leaves and why," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(9).
    7. Bächli, Mirjam & Tsankova, Teodora, 2020. "Free Movement of Workers and Native Demand for Tertiary Education," Other publications TiSEM 33968781-3521-459e-86c9-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Murat Demirci, 2020. "International students and labour market outcomes of US‐born workers," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(4), pages 1495-1522, November.
    9. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Shih, Kevin Y. & Xu, Huanan, 2020. "International Student Enrollments and Selectivity: Evidence from the Optional Practical Training Program," IZA Discussion Papers 13730, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Gouranga Gopal Das & Sugata Marjit, 2018. "Skill, Innovation and Wage Inequality: Can Immigrants be the Trump Card?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7082, CESifo.
    11. Sparber, Chad, 2019. "Substitution between groups of highly-educated, foreign-born, H-1B workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    12. Bachli, Mirjam & Tsankova, Teodora, 2020. "Free movement of workers and native demand for tertiary education," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 515, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    13. Sara Signorelli, 2020. "Do Skilled Migrants Compete with Native Workers? Analysis of a Selective Immigration Policy," Working Papers halshs-01983071, HAL.
    14. Mariele Macaluso, 2022. "The influence of skill-based policies on the immigrant selection process," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 39(2), pages 595-621, July.
    15. Sara Signorelli, 2020. "Do Skilled Migrants Compete with Native Workers? Analysis of a Selective Immigration Policy," PSE Working Papers halshs-01983071, HAL.
    16. Sun, Weizeng & Zhang, Sisi & Lin, Chengtao & Zheng, Siqi, 2021. "How do home purchase restrictions affect elite Chinese graduate students’ job search behavior?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    17. Anna Maria Mayda & Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri & Kevin Y. Shih & Chad Sparber, 2020. "Coping with H-1B Shortages: Firm Performance and Mitigation Strategies," NBER Working Papers 27730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Zahra Murad & Robert Dowell, 2020. "Foreign visa salary requirement and natives’ reservation wages," Working Papers in Economics & Finance 2020-06, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Business School, Economics and Finance Subject Group.
    19. David Escamilla-Guerrero & Moramay Lopez-Alonso, 2020. "Migrant self-selection in the presence of random shocks. Evidence from the Panic of 1907," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _179, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    20. Anna Maria Mayda & Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri & Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber, 2018. "New Data and Facts on H-1B Workers across Firms," NBER Chapters, in: The Roles of Immigrants and Foreign Students in US Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, pages 99-121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Britta Glennon, 2020. "How Do Restrictions on High-Skilled Immigration Affect Offshoring? Evidence from the H-1B Program," NBER Working Papers 27538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Mandal, Biswajit & Chaudhuri, Saswati & Prasad, Alaka Shree, 2020. "Unemployment of Unskilled Labor due to COVID-19 led Restriction on Migration and Trade," GLO Discussion Paper Series 614, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    23. Bächli, Mirjam & Teodora Tsankova, 2020. "Free Movement of Workers and Native Demand for Tertiary Education," Economics Working Paper Series 2019, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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