Are Americans Losing Jobs to Foreigners?

Immigrants are not the cause of unemployment in the United States. Let us look at how immigration affects employment among U.S. natives, and whether employment based visa program is taking away jobs of native-born workers.

Views are divided among the public. One view is that foreign-born workers have the same skills as native-born ones, and the two groups compete for jobs. The other view is that foreign-born workers complement natives’ labor market in terms that they have different skills and they contribute to diversification of the workforce.

Generally, immigration contributes to job creation through immigrants’ purchasing power, their entrepreneurship, buying goods and services from U.S. businesses and creating their own businesses, both of which sustain U.S. jobs. Several studies demonstrated repeatedly that there is no correlation between immigration and unemployment.

study that has been done by American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for a New American Economy tried to establish whether employment based visas compete or complement the U.S job prospects. It used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and applications for temporary workers. The analysis yields the following main finding:

  1. An additional 100 immigrants with advanced degrees in STEM fields from either US or foreign universities is associated with an additional 86 jobs among U.S. natives.
  2. An additional 100 immigrants with advanced degrees—regardless of field or where they obtained their degrees—is associated with an additional 44 jobs among U.S. natives”.

Another study conducted by American Immigration Council provides that,

There is no correlation between immigration and unemployment. “If immigrants took jobs away from large numbers of native-born workers, one would expect to find high unemployment rates in those parts of the country with the largest numbers of immigrants.”  

Also, immigration gives a small wage boost to the vast majority of native-born workers.

The addition of immigrant workers to the labor force stimulates investment as new restaurants and stores open, new homes are built, etc. This increases the demand for labor, which exerts upward pressure on wages.

Source: American Enterprise Institute, American Immigration Council
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