Maryland residents have likely heard claims that the H1-B visa program is being used by employers to replace qualified Americans with foreign workers who are willing to accept lower rates of pay, but a study from the University of Michigan and the Center for Global Development suggests that the controversial immigration policy is actually good for the U.S. economy as a whole. Researchers say that the incomes of the United States and India rose by a combined $17.3 billion in 2010 due to H1-B visas, and they claim that program increased the wealth of American-born workers by $431 million.
The researchers were trying to determine what impact of the program has had on the economies of India and the United States since the early 2000s. India was selected because the country has a thriving technology sector and is home to many of the foreign workers awarded H1-B visas each year. The results of the study may not be received warmly in the nation’s capital. President Trump says that the H1-B visa program is unfair to American workers and has made redesigning it a top priority.
The H1-B visa program has also been criticized in India. Some observers there have called the program a brain drain, but the researchers claim that the possibility of working and living in the U.S. legally has been instrumental in attracting skilled and educated workers to the country’s $155 billion information technology industry. The study also suggests that employment-related visas help to reduce business overheads and keep the prices of consumer products in check.
While there are several visa programs that offer the chance of a new life in the United States, applying for them can be a bewildering and frustrating experience. Attorneys with immigration law backgrounds may be able to prevent visa applications being denied due to misunderstandings or documentation errors, and they could also seek to ensure that all paperwork is submitted on a timely basis.