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immigrant workers

Immigrant Workers Comprise 17% of American Workforce

By Peek & Toland on February 27, 2019

A recent report by the Urban Institute indicates that immigrant workers make up 17% of the American workforce, and much higher percentages in some cities and urban areas. These workers have been in the U.S. for 17 years, on average, and have a median age of 41. Just under 50% of these workers have limited English proficiency. Median annual wages for these workers are $29,407, but many wages are lower for those in lower-skilled jobs. Those immigrants in lower and middle-skilled jobs earn less than their American counterparts in the same jobs. About 25% of these workers have less than a high school diploma or its equivalent, which is a higher rate than for Americans, which is about five percent.

Immigrants fill many lower-skilled jobs that are necessary parts of our workforce, including home health care aides, custodial workers, and construction laborers. Limited English proficiency and difficulties transferring job skills, experience, and credentials from their native countries to the U.S. present barriers to obtaining better education, training, and employment. Immigrants also have limited opportunities to improve their language and technical skills that might enable them to seek better jobs or higher wages.

Immigrant Workers Comprise 17% of American Workforce

As there are currently low unemployment rates in the U.S., American employers increasingly need workers with bilingual and cultural skills. There also is a large need to fill mid-level jobs, which immigrants are just as likely to fill as American workers. While as many as one-third of immigrant workers hold advanced degrees, they often are underemployed in professional jobs due to an inability to transfer skills from a profession in one country to the same profession in the U.S.

Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.

Posted in Immigration

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Study Finds Immigrant Workers Are Not Cheap Labor

By Peek & Toland on March 22, 2017

There is a commonly held perception that immigrant labor is cheap labor and immigrant workers are paid less than their American-born counterparts.

It’s a perception that’s not borne out by the statistics, according to an article in The Atlantic.

The article looked at one of the most talked about types of visas, the H-1B program that is used to bring skilled foreign workers to the United States.

The H-1B program was intended to help companies recruit workers with difficult-to-find skills.

immigrant workers are not cheap labor

Figures suggest immigrant workers are not cheap labor

It became an issue during the presidential election when critics claimed it allows employers to hire thousands of cheap IT workers to replace American workers.

Supporters say the H-1B program is necessary to meet a skills gap and bring in the best talent from around the world. It’s used to bring over thousands of workers from India.

The Atlantic article pointed out foreign students are more likely to have expertise in STEM fields than Americans and many of them have been studying for years at universities in the United States.

As we point out on our website, these temporary visas are in high demand and companies seeking workers more enter a visa lottery.

A recent study has questioned the perception that these workers represent cheap labor from overseas.

A study released in late 2016 by economists at the University of California, San Diego, and Dartmouth College found that the average foreign worker in science and technology jobs makes only slightly less than American-born workers from the outset, equating to about 94 cents on the dollar. After working in the United States for five years, the average foreign STEM worker makes more money than the average American – $1.04 for every dollar their American colleagues make.

There are a number of theories behind these statistics. Foreign workers may acquire more work experience in the United States and study more. Another explanation is that after obtaining a green card, immigrants can end up in better-paying jobs. There’s a big disparity compared to non-STEM fields. In these areas, it takes two decades for immigrant workers to achieve equal pay with their American counterparts.

Gordon Hanson, an economist at the University of California and the lead author of the report, said the study revealed no evidence that H-1B workers were undercutting their native counterparts.

If you are seeking a visa for a foreign worker,  our Texas immigration lawyers can help you. Contact us here for more information.

Posted in Immigration, Visas

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