78% of Americans Support High-Skilled Immigrants: SurveyTop Stories

January 23, 2019 14:41
78% of Americans Support High-Skilled Immigrants: Survey

(Image source from: prospect.org/)

Contrary to the perception that high-skilled immigrants are displacing Americans, a new survey showed that a majority of Americans support high-skilled immigrants.

A report by Pew based on a survey of 12 countries said, around eight in ten adult Americans - 78 percent - support encouraging highly people to immigrate and work in the United States.

The support was around the same as in other advanced countries, but lower than in Sweden (88 percent), the United Kingdom (85 percent), Canada (84 percent), Germany (81 percent) and Australia (79 percent).

The findings of the study for the U.S. is contrary to the negative perception of the H-1B visa programme, which is a major path for high-skilled immigrants, among critics who say it has been misused to displace Americans with cheaper workers provided by outsourcing firms.

The H-1B visa, which is largely sought by Indians, allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

H-1B visa programme supporters have argued it helps American companies make up for the shortage of locally available hands.

The Trump administration is tightening the rules for the entry of foreigners in the U.S. schools and colleges, which industry sources say, have made the procedure complicated, unpredictable and expensive.

Asked about this gap between the opposition and public support, Pew senior researcher Phillip Connor, who also co-authored the report, said, “Those in the U.S. who have more education are more likely to support the immigration of highly skilled people. Similarly, those in the U.S. with a higher income are more likely to support the immigration of highly skilled people.”

Every year scores of foreign professionals enter the U.S. workforce through Optional Practical Training (OPT) for students and H-1B. A large number of them stay on if sponsored, by their employers to join the queue for citizenship, going first through acquiring permanent residency (Green Card).

Earlier this week, the U.S. think-tank claimed that the workers under the H-1B visa programme are “vulnerable to abuse” and “frequently” placed in substandard working conditions.

-Sowmya Sangam

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H1B visa  immigrants