High-skill immigrants don’t necessarily generate jobs

Beryl Lieff Benderly’s reporting suggests the conventional wisdom on high-skill immigrants and entrepreneurship doesn’t quite add up:

Greifeld, Smith, and Skorton then expounded on the pressing need for more technically trained foreigners to create jobs and economic growth in the United States. They noted repeatedly the many openings Microsoft and other companies are advertising right now. (Unmentioned were the claims of critics that companies sometimes strategically place job advertisements to circumvent federal requirements that exist to give hiring preference to Americans.) Senators and witnesses both invoked Google, Yahoo, and eBay as examples of immigrants’ reputedly special propensity to found great corporations; as often happens, the discussion failed to note that these companies’ foreign-born founders and co-founders arrived in this country as small children and were educated in American schools.

Witnesses also repeated another widely repeated, though convincingly refuted, claim — that H-1Bs create jobs for Americans, specifically that five citizens are hired for every short-term visa holder admitted. Were this bit of mythology true, John Miano of the Center for Immigration Studies has written, “the H-1B program should be creating around 500,000 to 1,000,000 new jobs a year,” a number so large it couldn’t be missed, but that “simply is not there. Statistically, there is no linear correlation whatsoever between H-1B visas and job growth. 

Background here and here.

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