Back on Oct. 25, 2005, I published excerpts from a study by John Miano, a member of the board of directors for the Programmers Guild, which refuted claims, using the government's own labor and wage statistics, that those working on an H-1B visa in high tech were receiving equivalent salaries to U.S. citizens.
The point of the column was to shed light on emerging evidence that companies might in fact be using H-1B visas not as a way to fill in skills gaps but as a way to hire cheap labor at the expense of both U.S. and foreign national workers.
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Miano has now published a new study with the Center for Immigration Studies. This one, titled "H-1B Visa Numbers: No Relationship to Economic Need," refutes the claims made by some that the granting of H-1Bs creates more job opportunities for everyone in high tech.
Everyone from Bill Gates to prestigious business publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Economist has claimed that for every H-1B visa granted, between three and five new jobs are created.
Gates stated his claim in testimony before Congress this year: "Microsoft has found that for every H-1B hire we make, we add on average four additional employees to support them in various capacities."
To support its claim, the Journal cited a study by the National Foundation for American Policy called "H-1B Visas and Job Creation." According to the study's regression analysis of H-1B filings and employment at U.S. tech companies, the Journal said, "the data show that for every H-1B position requested, U.S. technology companies increased employment by 5 workers."
Miano blows those claims apart with simple arithmetic.
Using public data, Miano says that if the H-1B program is creating five jobs for each visa, then logically with 100,000 H-1B visas issued last year, there should have been at least 500,000 new high-tech jobs. Obviously, this was not the case. Actually, approximately 63,000 jobs were created during 2005. Miano's figures are from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which announced 116,927 H-1B visas for 2005 and 130,497 for 2004.