TAG Calls for Action Following Report on Visa Lottery Gaps

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) today issued a call for legislative action to be taken in light of a new report from The Partnership for a New American Economy. The report details how existing H-1B visa lottery caps disproportionately hurt U.S.-born tech workers in the Atlanta metropolitan area by slowing job creation and wage growth in computer-related fields.

“Technology companies compete in a global marketplace and if we want our companies here to succeed on that stage, we will need to access the best and the brightest,” said Tino Mantella, TAG President/CEO. “This report shines a light on the fact that Georgia has a high tech skills gap and we must deploy common sense solutions to close that gap.”

H-1B visa denials in 2007 and 2008 caused Atlanta to miss out on creating as many as 11,052 tech jobs for American-born workers in the years that followed, including as many as 8,814 jobs for U.S.-born less skilled workers in the tech industry, and cost U.S.-born, college-educated workers in computer-related fields as much as $134.6 million in aggregate annual earnings.

“This report shows that the existing cap on H-1B visas is directly undermining our technology industry’s ability to grow and create new jobs for U.S.-born workers,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “Our current system jeopardizes the fastest growing sector of our economy and if Congress does not act, other countries will win the race for global talent. It’s time for Washington to work with – not against – the industries that make our economy strong.”

Nationwide, H-1B denials in 2007-2008 resulted in nearly 231,224 lost jobs for U.S.-born workers and caused the 1.1 million U.S.-born, college-educated workers in computer-related fields almost $3 billion in aggregate annual earnings.

Key Local Findings

●    As a direct result of the 2007 and 2008 H-1B visa lotteries, Atlanta missed out on creating as many as 11,052 tech jobs for U.S.-born workers. To put that in context, before the H-1B visa lotteries (in 2005-2006), the city had 65,672 jobs for computer workers overall.
●    Of the total number of tech jobs lost, as many as 8,814 were lost for U.S.-born less skilled workers in the tech industry.

●    By 2009-2010, preexisting workers in computer-related fields were also missing out on as much as $134.6 million in additional wages because of the visa lotteries.

Key National Findings

●    Visa denials stemming from the 2007 and 2008 H-1B visa lotteries caused the U.S. to miss out on creating as many as 231,224 tech jobs for American-born workers in the years that followed.

●    The number of jobs for U.S.-born workers in computer-related industries would have grown at least 55 percent faster between 2005-2006 and 2009-2010, if not for the denials that occurred in the H-1B visa lotteries at the start of the recession.

●    The H-1B visa lottery caps disproportionately hurt American-born less-educated tech workers, many of whom play valuable roles supporting the work of high-skilled engineers, programmers, and others.
o    Less-skilled workers in computer jobs lost out on as many as 188,000 jobs by 2010 due to the earlier H-1B visa lotteries.

●    The H-1B visa denials in 2007 and 2008 slowed wage growth for workers in computer-related industries.
o    American-born, college-educated workers in these fields missed out on as much as almost $3 billion in aggregate annual earnings.

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…