If you are a non-US citizen working in the United States, you are likely to accused of job stealing at some point during your stay here. This goes double for H-1B workers, who are highly skilled non-US citizens working specialty occupations requiring advanced degrees. While many people in the United States on all sides of the immigration policy reform debate believe that more immigrants mean less jobs for US citizens, this is simply not true. If you ask any economist, they will actually tell you that immigration is great for economic growth for everyone.
Here are three things you can say – either aloud or to yourself – when you are accused of job stealing:
1) “I didn’t steal your job, I made ten new ones.”
The fact that you’re working an H-1B job means your making the prevailing wages of a specialty occupation. That means you are a person with a reasonable – and in many cases, ample – income who lives in the United States. That means you’re putting a large portion of your income back into the US economy. Every H-1B worker needs to rent a house or apartment, pay for food and clothing, a cellphone, a haircut, and so forth. Not to mention, if you’ve brought family members over on H-4 visas, they will also be spending your income in the United States. This means more money circulating in the economy and the need for more jobs created to meet the needs of more people who are making more money to spend. This is the very definition of economic growth.
2) “I didn’t steal your job, and neither did anyone else.”
The myth that this country is overrun by immigrants snatching up jobs from the hands of American citizens is simply that: a myth. If you applied for an H-1B visa, you are painfully aware that there aren’t that many work visas to go around. In reality, even if the United States were to double the number of work visas issued every year, the number would be less than one million. That’s less than 0.7% of the US workforce. That means currently, the percentage of non-US citizens in the workforce “stealing jobs” is less than half of one percent of the entire US workforce. This number hardly constitutes a flood of workers. No one is stealing anyone’s job.
3) “Immigration doesn’t actually make a difference on wages and employment.”
A notable example is the Mariel boat lift in 1980 where 125,000 immigrants from Cuba came to the United States all at once. About 45,000 of these immigrants were of working age, and they all landed in Miami increasing the city’s labor supply by 7% overnight. Guess what happened? Absolutely nothing. This sudden and massive influx of workers made no measurable impact the wage rate or the employment rate in Miami. Forty-five thousand new workers landed in a single city at once and not one of them stole anyone’s job.
The United States has a long and monumental history of immigration. This country was literally built on immigration and the health of its economy depends on a healthy influx of immigrants to fill existing jobs and create new ones. In fact, the reality that immigration is good for the economy is a long-standing, proven economic principle. So what’s the problem? Why are you being accused of job stealing?
The fallacy comes from thinking of people as commodities. For example, if the market is flooded with tomatoes, the price of tomatoes will drop. It’s easy to think of people in the same way – if the job market is flooded with more workers, wages and job availability will drop. There are two big differences here:
1) The job market is NOT flooded with immigrants.
2) People are NOT tomatoes. Tomatoes don’t spend money on food, clothing, shelter, entertainment and hobbies, and so forth.
People do, and people making money do even more so. This creates more jobs and greater wealth for everyone.
Sheila Danzig is the director of Career Consulting International at www.TheDegreePeople.com, a foreign credential evaluation agency. They specialize in difficult cases and RFEs, Denials, NOIDs, 3-year degrees, etc. and offer a free review of all H1B, E2, and I140 education at http://www.ccifree.com/.
This article was written by Rebecca Little