Immigration: Legislative Issues on Nonimmigrant Professional Specialty (H-1B) Workers [Updated January 23, 2003]   [open pdf - 86KB]

"In FY2001, the majority (58%) of newly arriving H-1B workers had Bachelor's degrees, and an additional 30% had Master's degrees. Over half (55%) reported occupations in computer-related fields. The only country sending more than 10% of the newly arriving H-1B workers was India with 45% of the total. The median annual compensation for a newly arriving H-1B worker in FY2001 was $50,000. Those opposing any further increases or easing of admissions requirements assert that there is no compelling evidence of a labor shortage in these professional areas that cannot be met by newly graduating students and retraining the existing U.S. work force. They argue further that the education of U.S. students and training of U.S. workers should be prioritized and that reliance on foreign workers would stymie those objectives. Proponents of current H-1B levels say that the education of students and retraining of the current workforce is a long-term response, and they assert that H-1B workers are essential if the United States is to remain globally competitive. Some proponents argue that employers should be free to hire the best people for the jobs, maintaining that market forces should regulate H-1B admissions, not an arbitrary ceiling."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL30498
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