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With President Trump’s crackdown on immigration, what will happen to H-1B visa workers?

U.S. Immigration  inspectors check passports July 2, 2002 at Miami International Airport in Miami, Forida.
U.S. Immigration inspectors check passports July 2, 2002 at Miami International Airport in Miami, Forida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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The Wall Street Journal reported on a recent study out of UC San Diego and the University of Michigan that looked at the impact of the H-1B visa program on wages and employment.

Researchers focused on a period between 1994 and 2001, which is the longest period on record of maximum H-1B claims (total of 85,000 per year) made by employers:

"[Researchers] found that, while the visa program bolstered the U.S. economy and corporate profits, tech-industry wages would have been as much as 5.1% higher in the absence of the H-1B visa program and employment of U.S. workers in the field would have been as much as 10.8% higher in 2001."

Critics of the study say other research has shown the immigration of highly skilled workers--not specifically H-1B recipients--has an overall positive effect on wages and employment. While the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Trump administration recently announced it is suspending for six months the fast-track visa processing option for H-1B applications, it's unclear if the President is sticking by his hard line campaign rhetoric on foreign workers. Supporters who want President Trump to fulfill his promise to "end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program" say by simply suspending the $1,225 premium processing option, he's not doing enough to protect American workers.

What's the future of H-1B's under the Trump administration? How is the uncertainty impacting businesses that rely on the visa program to find skilled workers? For employees or students about to graduate and enter the labor market, do you think you are unfairly expected to compete against foreign workers?


Gaurav Khanna, co-author of the study, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Global Development

Dick Burke, president and CEO of Envoy, a Chicago-based immigration services provider

John Miano, Center for Immigration Studies