Outsourcing America's Technology and Knowledge Jobs: High-Skill Guest Worker Visas are Currently Hurting Rather Than Helping Keep Jobs at home

Publication Date: March 2007

Publisher: Economic Policy Institute

Author(s): Ron Hira

Research Area: Labor; Science and technology

Type: Brief


This briefing paper focuses on two key policy mechanisms for high-skill labor mobility and immigration, the H-1B and the L-1 guest worker visas.

In practice these programs not only fail to meet their policy goals, they actually work against them. And more importantly, the vast expansion of the H-1B program passed by the U.S. Senate last year will make the programs even more harmful. If these H-1B provisions were to be signed into law, the consequences are obvious: they would directly lead to more offshore outsourcing of jobs, displacement of American technology workers, decreased wages and job opportunities for those same workers, and the discouragement of young people from entering science and engineering fields.

Instead of expanding these non-immigrant work-permit programs, Congress should focus on repairing them so that they serve their intended purposes.