Rising H-1B visa costs are stifling innovation and hurting the success of US companies

66
Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 1:13 AM

“Facts are stubborn things,” he wrote. “Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” This wisdom is particularly apartment in the context of the debate about immigration reform and H-1B visas— a debate too frequently marked by exaggeration and unrepresentative anecdotes.

Rising H-1B visa costs are stifling innovation and hurting the success of US companies

As an academic researcher, I've long been fond of John Adams’s well-known maxim on the dogged persistence of facts. “Facts are stubborn things,” he wrote. “Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

This wisdom is particularly apartment in the context of the debate about immigration reform and H-1B visas— a debate too frequently marked by exaggeration and unrepresentative anecdotes. Facts, however, always create their way to the surface. And my new study— released today with the American Competitiveness Alliance— presents the latest proof against the common assertion that highly-skilled immigrants are suppressing American employment and wages.

“The Cost to Companies in America of Hiring Skilled Immigrant Workers” is grounded in new polling data from the Benenson Strategy Group, and reveals a ordinary truth: STEM positions are becoming harder to fill domestically, and rising H-1B visa costs are stifling innovation and success of companies in America.

The survey, fielded from four hundred hiring executives at both tiny and large American businesses across the country, asked about hiring costs and challenges.

Inconsistent with the notion that H-1B worker are depressing the salary of U. S. workers, three-quarters of executives responded that the salaries of their IT workers are higher today than they were just five years ago. An even greater majority of respondents— eighty-two percent— reported that hiring skilled foreign-born workers costs them just as much or more as hiring U. S. workers. These high and rising costs for skilled immigrant workers reflects the ongoing, powerful demand in American companies for talent. eight in tenth executives report they've been forced to invest more money into recruiting the talent they need.

These higher foreign-worker costs burden our businesses, not just financially, but also in terms of time and effort— all of which hampers America’s race for innovation. And these costs are, unfortunately, rising. In December Congress included a provision in the omnibus spending bill that doubled the H-1B processing fee from $2.000 to $4.000 for certain immigrant-intensive companies. All these visa fees hit hardest businesses without the resources to pay these escalating costs— typically smaller, younger businesses struggling to crack in against their larger rivals.

Consider this: a multi-billion-dollar multinational company won't go below for wish of one or two key colleagues. But a fledgling start-up just might. At a time when the U. S. economy continues to suffer from a decades-long decline in new-business formation, this burden on youthful start-ups is especially unwelcome.

Is it any astonishment that three-quarters of survey respondents declare hiring temporary H-1B workers to assistance meet their talent needs has become too expensive? Those who stand to lose aren't just the businesses themselves. The immediate cost is foregone jobs, but more broadly, the cost is foregone ideas, investments, and connections to the world economy that are, ultimately, what drives long-term growth in jobs and income throughout America.

Many of my fellow economists advocate for U. S. education reform so that we can start meeting our mounting talent needs domestically. I share this view: America’s post-secondary schooling should be updated to reflect the needs of our ever-shifting economy, and U. S. worker training should be portion of any serious map to bridge our growing skills gap.

But America’s businesses cannot wait decades for education reforms to bear fruit. By some estimates, the U. S. is already on track to face a shortage of five million workers by the finish of this decade. Will we ask our businesses to bear that burden unaided? Will we begrudge them the frequently U. S.-educated professionals they necessity to compete in a globalized economy? Will we create H-1B visas increasingly unaffordable for the companies and start-ups that necessity them most?

The facts propose we chase a different path. And facts are very stubborn things.

Matthew Slaughter is Dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Academic Advisor for the American Competitiveness Alliance. Slaughter also served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2005-2007.

READ ALSO
Boston Bombing Survivor Throws first Pitch on Marathon Monday

Boston Bombing Survivor Throws first Pitch on Marathon Monday

An iconic image of Bauman — ashen and injured — was etched into the minds of Americans reeling in the wake of the two thousand thirteen attack. His photo and recovery came to symbolize the resilience of a Boston that couldn't be broken.

51
12-Year-Old Boy Shot During Fight in Woodbridge

12-Year-Old Boy Shot During Fight in Woodbridge

The victim, a Woodbridge resident, was playing with several friends in the four thousand nine hundred obstruct of Kirwyn Ct when he got into in a verbal altercation with an acquaintance, Prince William County Police said.

55
Woman Slain in Church; Police Seek Man in Tactical Gear

Woman Slain in Church; Police Seek Man in Tactical Gear

Fitness instructor Missy Bevers, forty-five, arrived at the Creekside Church of Christ shortly after four a. m. to prepare for a Camp Gladiator class, police said Monday afternoon.

39
TN Transgender Bathroom Bill Dies Amid Criticism

TN Transgender Bathroom Bill Dies Amid Criticism

The move Monday comes after intense opposition from businesses and gay, lesbian and transgender rights' organizations that called the measure discriminatory and amid questions of whether the state would lose more than $1 billion in federal education funds.

48