Researchers, including John Bound and Nicolas Morales from the University of Michigan in the US, studied the impact that the recruitment of foreign computer scientists had on the US economy. They selected the time period of 1994-2001, which marked the rise of e-commerce and a growing need for technology workers.
Foreign computer scientists granted H-1B visas to work in the United States during the IT boom of the 1990s had a significant impact on workers, consumers and tech companies, researchers said.
Mr Bound, Mr Morales and Gaurav Khanna of the University of California-San Diego found that "the high-skilled immigrants had a positive effect on innovation, increased the overall welfare of Americans and boosted profits substantially for firms in the IT sector".
Immigration also lowered prices and raised the output of IT goods by between 1.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent, thus benefiting consumers. Such immigration also had a big impact on the tech industry's bottom line.
On the flipside, the influx of immigrants dampened job prospects and wages for US computer scientists.
US workers switched to other professions lowering the employment of domestic computer scientists by 6.1 per cent to 10.8 per cent. Based on their model, wages would have been 2.6 per cent to 5.1 per cent higher in 2001, researchers said.
"As long as the demand curve for high-skill workers is downward sloping, the influx of foreign, high-skilled workers will both crowd out and lower the wages of US high-skill workers," said Bound, U-M professor of economics.
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