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Temporary immigrants in a high-skilled labour market: A study of H-1Bs

Luthra, RR (2009) 'Temporary immigrants in a high-skilled labour market: A study of H-1Bs.' Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35 (2). 227 - 250. ISSN 1369-183X

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Abstract

High-skilled immigration to the United States is a growing area in immigration, labour and policy research. Research on this subject focuses on the labour market impact of the largest skilled immigrant group: H-1Bs, temporary visa-holders with at least a baccalaureate degree. Many studies have demonstrated that these workers are paid the prevailing wage, yet they continue to be recruited despite unemployment and wage stagnation in H-1B sectors. In this paper I argue that, to understand the attractiveness of H-1Bs, we must look beyond their effects on wages and unemployment, and frame the flow of skilled migrants to the US in terms of the broader advantages they provide: flexible labour, the most up-to-date skills, and the lower expectations of immigrants regarding working conditions and benefits. I broaden the debate on skilled immigrants by examining the relationship between recently arrived immigrant status and two crucial labour market dimensions: contingent employment and eligibility for employer-subsidised health-care and retirement benefits. In addition, wage differentials are reassessed with contingent status, years since immigration, and high-tech industry controlled. My findings support the conclusions of prior studies that H-1Bs are not 'cheap labour'; rather, this study shows they are utilised as flexible labour.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2013 14:47
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 02:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/7163

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