Mithras Law Group Immigration Blog

Global Immigration and Business Solutions

Study Reveals that Highly-Skilled Foreign Workers have a Positive Impact to the US Economy

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A study on “The Budgetary Effects of Highly-Skilled Immigration Reform” released this month by the Technology Policy Institute, based in Washington D.C., finds that admitting highly skilled workers from foreign countries has a positive economic impact to the US economy.

In particular, the paper discusses that the foreign highly-skilled workers contribute significantly towards the federal budget, as they earn more and pay more taxes and are unlikely to receive any federal benefits, such as Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, or other health or income-related benefits.  Highly skilled workers include those particularly in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

The paper finds:

  • In the absence of green card and H-1B constraints, roughly 182,000 foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities in STEM fields would likely have remained in the United States over the period 2003-2007. They would have earned roughly $13.6 billion in 2008, raised the GDP by that amount, and would have contributed $2.7 to $3.6 billion to the federal treasury.
  • In the absence of green card constraints, approximately 300,000 H-1B visa-holders whose temporary work authorizations expired during 2003-2007 would likely have been in the United States labor force in 2008. These workers would have earned roughly $23 billion in 2008, raised the GDP by that amount, and would have contributed $4.5 to $6.2 billion to the federal treasury.
  • Similar results are obtained when analyzing legislation considered by Congress during the last few years. For example, under reasonable assumptions, the relaxation of green card constraints proposed in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 could have increased labor earnings and GDP by approximately $34 billion in the tenth year following enactment and had a net positive effect on the budget of $34 to $47 billion over ten years.
  • Relaxation of H-1B caps under the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 could have increased labor earnings and GDP by $60 billion in the tenth year following enactment and improved the federal budget’s bottom line by $64 to $86 billion over ten years.
  • The flow of highly skilled immigrants to the United States increases entrepreneurship, economic growth, and productivity.
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