by Chris Musillo

In 2009, a mere 9,000 H-1Bs were received in the first month of H-1B processing. It would be 264 days before the H-1B cap was reached. In 2010, it took 300 days until the H-1B cap was reached. In 2011, there were 236 days between the April 1, 2011 cap opening and the November 23, 2011 cap being reached. Not coincidentally, the US employment rate from 2009-2011 ranged between eight and ten percent.

On the other hand, the H-1B cap was reached on the very first day in 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2014, mirroring the low unemployment rate.

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Larger version of chart.


The lack of H-1B petition filings in years when the unemployment rate is high is compelling evidence against the argument that internationally-trained workers are being used to displace American workers and lower US workers' salaries.

Why? Because if H-1B visa labor was being used primarily to lower US workers’ salaries, then H-1B filing numbers would not be impacted to any meaningful degree. If anything, the reverse would happen because the incentive to reduce workers’ salaries is likely greater in a recessed economy, not less.

This logic is straightforward and it is a shame that otherwise successful people cannot understand basic economics. Organizations work better when they work on data and not nonsense.


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