Immigration and the tech industry: As a labour shortage remedy, for innovation, or for cost savings?

Norman Matloff


The two main reasons cited by the U.S. tech industry for hiring foreign workers--remedying labour shortages and hiring "the best and the brightest"--are investigated, using data on wages, patents, and R&D work, as well as previous research and industry statements. The analysis shows that the claims of shortage and outstanding talent are not supported by the data, even after excluding the Indian IT service firms. Instead, it is shown that the primary goals of employers in hiring  foreign workers are to reduce labour costs and to obtain "indentured" employees. Current immigration policy is causing an ‘Internal Brain Drain’ in STEM.


H-1B; green card; prevailing wage; best and brightest

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