The American community holds various fallacies concerning high-skilled immigration and how it affects the American economy. Many immigrants come to America for education right from their undergraduate to their PhDs, and many will remain in America helping develop its economy. The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experience their influence of foreign-born workers and therefore the rise of fallacies that are mainly based on these specific fields. The H- 1B program makes the most contribution to how employers can acquire foreign-born workers who seem appropriate for their companies and businesses. One fallacy that exists about foreign-born STEM workers is that those programs that identify such individuals including H- 1B and others are not working towards the rise of innovation in technological fields and the levels of talent in the united states. H- 1B does not often require these foreign workers to have any special or rare skills (Matloff, 2013). However, the fact is that the American STEM talent gets a significant contribution from foreign workers. With training in STEM necessary for STEM jobs, many foreign workers are likely to have this form of training that the American natives. Immigrants coming for education to America especially from the undergraduate level and above are likely to have STEM training. Only nineteen percent of Americans at undergraduate level have a STEM degree compared to thirty-five foreign-born students. Only twenty percent of Americans have a masters degree in a STEM field compared to fifty-four percent of foreigners with foreign holders of Ph.D. being at seventy percent compared to forty-two percent of U. S natives.
Another fallacy is that the H- 1B workers are often underpaid compared to American natives of similar education level and experience. These foreign-students and employees appear to have less talent due to their reduced wages compared to American natives (Matloff, 2013). However, the fact is that American citizens and foreign-born workers with a similar level of education and the same years of working experience have a substantially similar wage. Data from the United States labor markets including American community and population surveys show that the foreign born workers who arrived in the country on a student or H- 1B visa from eighteen years and above receive similar pay as the U.S natives. Studies that show foreign-born workers have lower wages including that conducted by Matloff (2013) obtained data from a national survey of college graduates, which only represents workers who got their degrees from American universities.
Another fallacy is that wages in the STEM and computer occupations have remained flat for over a decade compared to the other professions, which is the reason for the shortage of trained individuals in these professions (Hira, 2010). However, statistics indicate that the wages of STEM occupations are on a relative rise compared to other occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on the hourly income of engineers, and it shows that it has risen by seven percent from 2003 and by three percent since 2008. The computer and mathematics occupations have seen a three percent increase from 2003 and a one percent increase from 2010 relative to other occupations. The STEM occupations have had a persistent wage premium of twenty-five percent for the last three decades compared to other occupations. It is an indication of the high value to the United States has placed on STEM occupations.
Hanson, G., & Slaughter, M. (2014). Facts and Fallacies about High-Skilled Immigration and the American Econo-my.
Hira, R. (2010). US policy and the STEM workforce system. American Behavioral Scientist, 53(7), 949-961.
Matloff, N. (2013). Are Foreign Students the'best and the Brightest'?: Data and Implications for Immigration Policy. Economic Policy Institute.
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