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					Indian H1B Workers




        by:

   Renee Reichl

     12.5.2003
                                                                                                              2

Introduction



    High-skilled immigration has become a source of controversy in the United States and is receiving

growing attention in the fields of immigration studies, policy discussions and popular discourse. The H1B

visa, a temporary immigration visa for workers in specialized occupations, has become the focus of recent

articles on high-skilled migration to the US (Alarcon 2001, Usdansky and Espenshade, 2001 Lowell,

2001), and serves as a rallying point for opposition from nativist organizations and skilled unions 1. Two

camps have emerged in this debate: employers and some policy makers who argue that the H1Bs are

necessary in the face of a shortage of skilled workers, particularly in the IT industry, and skilled unions

who point to the growing unemployment rate in high-skilled labor sectors as proof that the H1B has run

its course. In addition, the visa is coming under attack as it becomes apparent that H1Bs tend to transfer to

permanent residents and thus become sources of long-term competition. Indeed, more permanent

immigration possibilities have been implicitly condoned by changes made in the wording of the visa

category in 1990, which have allowed for recruitment for permanent positions (Lowell, 2001).

    Scholarly debate is similarly divided, with some research highlighting the part H1-Bs have played in

high-skilled industries‟ growth, particularly the IT boom (Lowell, 2001; IT Workforce Data Project

2003), and others pointing to the unemployment rates and stable wages despite sector expansion as a

source of skepticism (Bach 2001, Watts 2001). Some recent attempts have been made to incorporate

networking and social insurance models, such as those used to describe cases of Mexico-US migration

(Massey et al. 1993), and have proven useful in explaining large numbers of Indian H1-Bs and their

concentration in just a few urban centers (Alarcon 2001). In 2002, workers from India made up 33% of all

H1Bs issued, and 63% of all computer related H1Bs2. The historic incorporation of Indian H1-Bs in the

1960s has served to develop the network capital and ethnic corporations recognized as crucial to


1
 See the following websites for examples: www.zazona.org, www.h1-b.info, www.h1bsucks.com, amongst others
2
 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2002,U.S. Government Printing
Office: Washington, D.C., 2003
                                                                                                           3

continued migration (Alarcon 2001, Massey 1993). This concentration of Indians in high-skilled

immigration has thus received both scholarly and popular attention, and work exists on the economic

implications of skilled-immigration policy and the H1-B visa in both India and the US (Prasad 1998;

Chakravartty 2001). Much of the research to this point has tended to focus on rational choice models and

econometric perspectives. Theories that place high-skilled immigrant demand within structural/Marxist

perspectives have been less frequently applied to skilled migrants, with some important exceptions (Yang

1998; Linton 2002; Bach 2001). This paper will seek to address the debate of the H1-B worker from these

underutilized perspectives.

   My first question asks why, despite unemployment and stabilizing wages, a continued demand exists

for high-skilled temporary immigration in the United States. Applying hypotheses drawn from Piore‟s

(1979) dual labor market theory, I will attempt to explain this demand as a response to the increasing

proportions of jobs with secondary sector characteristics in these occupations. The second question asks

why Indian IT workers are so highly represented amongst H1-B workers, seeking to understand this

phenomenon through Sassen‟s global systems theory. This paper will thus be divided into two sections,

one for each question. The purpose is to provide new insight into previous interpretations of the

continuing debate of the H1-B visa and its meaning for the changing structure of the IT labor market in

the U.S. as well as internationally.



I. H1-Bs Within the Dual Labor Market



   The dual labor market theory, particularly as developed by Michael Piore (1979) takes the position

that the labor market is inherently bifurcated in developed nations. The primary sector of the labor market

consists of mostly native, unionized or high-skilled workers who enjoy higher wages, greater prestige and

more stability and possibility for advancement. Workers in this sector have gained a measure of security

from their employers, in that their experiences and knowledge is recognized as important enough to the

success of the firm to shield them from market fluctuations. This sector can be viewed as “fixed” labor
                                                                                                              4

capital, whereas the secondary sector is flexible. The flexibility of the secondary sector manifests itself in

a general undesirability of the jobs it offers: lower wages and prestige, expendability, and part-time or

irregular work. The nature of the jobs in this sector render them unattractive to natives, thus there is an

inherent, constant demand in the secondary sector regardless of general unemployment or wage changes.

Piore argues that it is immigrants who fill the demand, for due to their temporary nature and sending

country orientation, inequality with other natives or lower wages would not deter them from utilizing

work in a developed nation to improve their standing at home. In light of this perspective, the Indian H1B

worker presents a theoretically interesting case: though the nature of the work of an H1-B is associated

with the primary sector normally reserved for natives, the huge wage discrepancy between sending and

receiving countries, the temporary nature of the visa, and its dependency on employment should make

H1B laborers willing to work in less attractive jobs and more fluid than that of their native colleagues,

thus more like the secondary sector. Where should these workers be placed? Employing the perspective of

the dual labor market, I will argue that the position of the H1-B visa holders can be understood as

secondary sector laborers.



   Fixed vs. Flexible



   Piore argues that a good theory of migration must account for four characteristics: that the jobs held

by migrants are different from those of natives, that the workers are initially recruited by employers in the

developed regions or their agents, that the labor force from less developed countries is inexhaustible, and

finally that immigration tends to sustain itself over time (Piore, 1979:16-17). The dual labor market

hypothesis helps explain these characteristics with the perspective that immigration is initially demand

driven and facilitated through recruitment from the receiving nations to fill unattractive jobs at home.

These jobs cannot simply be eliminated through technology or made attractive through higher wages, for

they are permanent attributes of the lower levels of the labor market hierarchy. The case of the Indian 1-B

worker can be understood in these terms.
                                                                                                             5

   First, the dual labor-market hypothesis proposes that there exists a “fundamental dichotomy between

the jobs of migrants and the jobs of natives (Piore 1979: 35)”. One of the strengths of this argument is that

it accounts for differences in work in higher-skilled sectors as well: “where skilled migrants can be found

and the market can be structured in such a way that they are confined to the variable portion of the

demand, the theory suggests that they will be utilized even in the jobs that otherwise would belong to the

primary labor market (Piore 1979: 40).” This manifests itself in the case of the H1Bs that the jobs filled

by these immigrants, particularly in the IT industries, have a greater propensity to be contingent or

temporary work. For instance, while 9% of computer and mathematical scientists were engaged in

contingency labor during 2001, 15.6% of recently arrived (past 5 years or less) non-citizens were engaged

in such labor (see table 1 on pg. 17).

   This is explained by the changing nature of IT work. The demand for the highly flexible and contract-

driven software and service related work is growing at a much faster rate than the more “fixed” jobs of

hardware and manufacturing sectors; hence the “secondary sector” of IT industries is becoming a larger

proportion of total workers employed (LMID 2000). The problem of “job churning” in IT professions has

been cited as the source of demand for temporary, contractual work that is highly unstable (Watts, 2001;

Aneesh 2001). The high level of competition and project-specific nature of the service sector and software

proportion of IT work has increased the need to un-“fix” these laborers, as the cost of retraining stable

workers in the applicable software is frequently too high for profit margins. These jobs are also

unattractive to younger workers because contractual work is not guaranteed and advancement in such jobs

unlikely.

   In addition to the increasing flexibility of the IT labor market, software and service sector work has

also grown more standardized in recent years. The “invisible deskilling” of IT labor, including the

mandatory standardization of software programming and the introduction of quality control in the IT

workplace, has resulted in the greater interchangeability and expendability of lower level IT workers

(Prasad, 1998; Iredale 2001). This essentially removes these jobs from the “capital” sector and creates a

growing need for lower status, less desirable work, which is more likely to be outsourced (Prasad 1998,
                                                                                                              6

Aneesh 2001) to developing countries or filled by workers imported from these countries when

outsourcing is not possible. Indian H1Bs, as target earners and dependent upon employment for the

validity of their visa, are easily recruited to fill such jobs.



      Recruitment



      The second factor of this supply-focused theory, recruitment by the employers and their agents, is

evident in the H1B case. The competition for Indian IT workers has resulted in heavy recruitment

measures from U.S. employers, which has been facilitated by the government despite growing opposition.

Iredale has noted, “ „industry led‟ has become the most significant motivation” for skilled labor migration

and adds that government programs have acted as a “lubricator” to ease the process (Iredale, 16-17). This

is certainly the case for Indian IT workers, who are recruited in many ways by U.S. employers and

facilitated by increases in the H1B visa quotas and use of the L1 visa as well (Lowell, 2001). Indeed,

Indian H1B workers are commonly recruited through all the recognized channels by the US: through the

internal labor market of multinational corporations who employ L1s, through international recruitment

agencies (headhunters), through smaller ethnic recruitment agents (Indian owned body shops and

employment agencies), or through the internet (Watts 2001). Little more than a preliminary check on any

Internet search engine draws a wealth of sites geared toward the recruitment and facilitation of H1B

workers.

      That the workers are selected by demand is also evident in their characteristics. Age and education

demographics of Indian H1Bs make them ideally suited for the quickly evolving demands of this

industry. Indian H1Bs are both younger and more highly trained than their native counterparts: the mean

age of the Indian H1B is 29 years old and over 43% have a master‟s degree or higher 3. Despite the costs


3
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2002,U.S. Government Printing
          Office: Washington, D.C., 2003
                                                                                                              7

of visa application and recruitment, which have shown to be substantial (Waldinger and Erickson), these

workers save employers money and keep costs low. Though their wages are equal they incur fewer costs

in the long term in the form of health or retirement benefits, and are less likely to need to be trained in the

latest applications. The topic of youth has become an issue in these industries, as unemployment amongst

the older workers in these fields has grown to rates as high as 9% amongst the older workers, despite the

claims of IT shortages (Lowell 2003). The preference for younger, less expensive and more recently

trained workers, both native and foreign, has become a source of controversy in the IT industries (Watts,

2001), and it arguable that H1Bs are only serving to accelerate this trend by providing the ready

replacements.

          Recruitment of the highly skilled has enjoyed support from the government as well.

Congressional support for the recruitment of H1Bs is evident throughout the 1990s, starting with the

Immigration Act of 1990 that expanded the number of employment-based visa categories and created the

H1A and H1B categories from the previous “distinguished merit or ability” H1 visa. Though the act set a

cap of 65,000 for the H1B category and limited the stay to six years, it legitimated the rise in

employment-based immigration and facilitated recruitment of the highly skilled (Usdansky and

Espenshade, 2001). The temporary nature of the visa set the stage for the H1-B to assume a “flux”

position for the high-skilled labor markets, and to serve to prevent inflation in times of shortage. Through

its formation of the H1B visa, Congress facilitated the use of temporary foreign labor as a cushion to

high-skilled industries, an important feature of the secondary market. Though dual market theory

recognizes that “certain conditions in the donor country are required for the process to take place at all

(Piore 1979: 19)”, it would appear that the overwhelming recruitment efforts and support of the US

government favor a demand-driven explanation.



   Vulnerability
                                                                                                                8

   The increased recruitment of H1Bs by body shops and “head hunters” means that H1Bs are difficult to

incorporate in high-skilled unions and thus serve as a split within a common class of wage earners. These

workers are less eligible for the benefits offered workers within a stable firm. H1Bs that are not directly

hired also stand at greater risk of exploitation, for the employers have no liability regarding mistreatment

in such cases. This puts the H1B worker in a precarious position, for if the worker complains no one is

under any obligation to continue to employ him, and thus he runs the risk of losing his visa (Watts 2001).

Even if steadily employed by one employer, the temporary nature of the visa and dependency on the

employer make H1Bs easy to intimidate; their precarious position further isolates them as a threat to less

flexible, unionized workers and makes cohesion difficult. Another factor worth noting is the small size of

firms in this sector; over 77% of the firms in IT industries have ten employees or less (LMID 2000).

Smaller firms, particularly in volatile service industries, lack the economic buffers that enable work

instability protections that larger firms can afford to offer. They are thus more likely than larger firms to

employ immigrant workers purely for short-term projects, whereas larger organizations are more liable to

invest in a college graduate or immigrant for the long term (Waldinger and Erickson).



   Theory Limitations



   The last two factors highlighted by Piore, an inexhaustible migrant labor force and self-perpetuating

migration, do not have as much bearing on this case. Although the idea of inexhaustible labor is not

usually congruent with high-skilled work, the Indian H1B represents an interesting case where this

appears to be true. In a study of the immigration demand of over 184 countries to the United States, India

ranks third behind Mexico and the Philippines regarding the total active immigrant visa applicants from

these countries, and a majority of them are in the high-skilled visa categories (Yang 1998: 369). India‟s

massive investment in higher education, particularly technology, during the past decades has resulted in a

large numbers of the highly trained willing to work abroad (Chakravartty 2001). Although there exists a

certain amount of competition amongst developed nations for this highly trained, English speaking
                                                                                                                9

workforce, the US has emerged far and above its competitors as the number one choice for immigration.

In addition to the strong demand for immigration to the United States in India, highly-skilled workers

from other countries are also available to fill the IT industries demands. The number of H1B applicants

supersedes even the raised cap of 195,000 enacted with the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-

First Century Act of 2000 (Lowell 2003), and the outflow is being adopted into the L1 categories (which

have no cap) as well.

   We know then that there is a massive demand for high-skilled immigration to the United States

amongst many developing nations, but dual market theory does little to explain why nationals from

certain similarly developed countries are being recruited and others are not. The demand-focused

perspective unfortunately cannot account for the fact that so many of the IT H1Bs are from India; they

could have just as well come from another developing nation. A frequent example is China, which has

also concentrated on IT work and has a large number of highly educated workers (Iredale 2001; Yang

1998). The dual labor market perspective allows for little differentiation between similar sending or

similar receiving countries, and it also does not take into effect relationships between them that facilitate

or even initiate recruitment processes. To understand why Indian nationals are disproportionately

represented in the H1B category, we must turn to global systems theory in the second part of this paper.

   The last factor, that immigration sustains itself over time, appears to remain untested for this case. As

the US government has made no real attempt to shut down the immigration of the highly-skilled, but

instead has expanded it within the past decade, it is difficult to suggest empirically whether or not such

immigration would continue if high-skilled recruitment disappeared altogether. Even if this were the case,

dual labor market theory offers little to explain how it is that migrant flows sustain themselves without

continued recruitment and policy sanction. Dual labor market theory does state that the needs for

immigrant labor are inherent and will endure regardless of government policy, but it does not account for

the ways that immigrants are able to enter the country and find work when they are no longer sanctioned

by government facilitation.
                                                                                                               10

   This is an important omission, because government policy up to this point has promoted the

development of Indian immigrant niches in IT industries, as occupational visas historically have served as

the only point of access for Indian immigrants to the US (Alarcon 2001). It is easy to imagine that the

social networks and ties formed in these niches would continue to facilitate Indian migration even without

policy support. Indeed, it has been argued that the position of Indian immigrants within the US has

important bearings on policy already (Chakravartty 2001; Aneesh 2001). Furthermore, this perspective

does not account for differences between sending countries in networks or educational ties that might

allow some developing country nationals to circumspect a restrictive policy. The presence of a large

number of Indian owned businesses in the U.S. can account for the numbers of Indians arriving

increasingly on L1 visa status, a visa for intracompany transfers. Indian immigrants are also using

educational venues through study in the United States to ease the possibility of a green card or H1B at

graduation. These issues are addressed in the second part of the structural account of global systems.

   Finally, two further limitations of this perspective is that it does not take into account the effects of

policy in the shaping the sector status of the immigrants, nor does it account for issues of racial, or in the

case of India, caste considerations, which have real meaning for the Indian H1B worker. While secondary

sector wages might well be flexible downward in unregulated markets, the protective measures of the

H1B visa category create different indicators of flexibility. The use of the visa category requires fair

wages and the Labor Condition Application attesting to the need of the worker; though not protecting

against wage stagnation, this does offer protection against wage deflations. This has been noted

empirically in a number of studies on the effects of skilled migrants on native wages (Lowell 2001; IT

Workforce Data Project 2003; Lofstrum 2001). The regulations of the visa category thus (artificially,

perhaps) keep Indian IT workers wages comparable with those of the primary labor sector. Though dual

market theory briefly accounts for this: “workers in the primary sector might act through such measures

as the minimum wage and institutional restrictions on migration…(Piore 1979: 42),” it does not provide

an adequate explanation for the role of policy, and skilled-union lobbyists, in maintaining wage equality
                                                                                                           11

in these occupations. For this we need to look at the role of transnational entities that receive some

attention in global systems

   Racial and caste considerations also come into play in the case of the Indian H1B. Many of the Indian

immigrants to the United States are of lower caste, and the opportunity to work in the US has value for

them above and beyond economic reasons. Indians of lower castes might be able to break into

traditionally higher caste positions through experience and contacts developed in the US, those of higher

castes but similar educational and financial backgrounds might be less willing to leave (Chakravartty

2003). This is an important dimension that is ignored in this model. The lack of agency afforded to actors

in structural accounts (Phizaklea 1998) leaves motivational factors based on race and caste (and sex) as

mere “texture” to the larger grouping of class; in the case of the Indian H1B class defined economically

might be altered by caste, sex or racial considerations.

   Racial considerations also emerge when discussing the jobs filled by immigrants. An interesting

hypothesis, which still needs to be tested empirically, is that Indian IT workers are being recruited to

perform “back of house” duties due to racial and perhaps language skill considerations. Communications

skills are increasingly important in the IT industry (Waldinger and Erickson) and the nature of service

work necessitates “people skills” which may very well be cultural in nature. This would bar the door to

some jobs for some Indian workers. The recruitment to back of house work might not be contingent or

less well paid, but it would still represent a break in between the work performed by natives and

immigrants. These jobs are necessarily isolated and arguably less attractive than work involving more

direct contact with clients; this might be another avenue of inequality to explore that is not properly

accounted for in structural accounts.

   In conclusion, the main strengths of dual labor market theory rest in its ability to account for the

increasing demand for young, high-skilled Indian H1Bs in the IT industries despite wage stagnation and

unemployment. This model helps explain the changing labor market structure of the IT industries as a

need to gain greater flexibility and control over labor in order to reduce fixed costs in this highly
                                                                                                              12

competitive, project-based field. H1B immigration is explained as a result of both employer recruitment

and government facilitation of high-skilled labor mobility; thus it is understood as a result of demand.

   Dual labor market theory, however, does not address several important issues to the Indian H1B case.

The model does not predict which developing nations will respond to the demands for immigrant labor,

nor does it explain the importance of cultural, economic and transnational ties in facilitating and initiating

recruitment. These factors are better explained through the use of a second structural model, the global

systems theory. The omission of racial or caste considerations in the motivations to move are further

weaknesses of the structural account, and must be explored further in later work. Different models of the

self-perpetuation of high skilled migrants are also realms that need to be further explored.



II. H1Bs within Global Systems



   Global systems theory attributes international migration to the development of growing inequality and

interdependency in the world market. While dual labor market theory is largely state centered, global

systems accounts for economic, political, and cultural relationships between highly developed core

countries and less developed peripheral nations. These relationships, often manifested as ideological and

market infiltration of the peripheral nations by those of the core, result in severe disruption in the less

developed nations and the displacement of large numbers of people. These displaced individuals must

seek a new way of life for themselves, and are thus likely to avail themselves to wage labor that is

attractive to the developed nations‟ interests or migrate to the core nations for work. The workers are

most frequently drawn to global cities, nexuses of industry, service and power in both industrialized and

developing nations. Greater ease of communication and transportation helps facilitate both migration

from peripheral countries and the capital investment of transnational corporations from core countries into

peripheral nations. Immigration is further facilitated through international agreements that ease temporary

migration restrictions for transnational corporations and service workers. Hypotheses drawn from this

perspective will shed light on questions left unanswered by dual labor market theory.
                                                                                                            13




   India



   The first question is why, that amongst many different nationals with similar economic and

educational standing, Indians are so highly represented amongst H1Bs. The low wages, high education

levels, and English abilities of the Indian IT workers make India a prime site for foreign investment. The

Indian case provides excellent support for global systems, for despite its intense poverty it maintains the

cultural and linguistic advantages (vis a vis American employers) from its past colonization (Sassen,

1998). As highly-skilled Indians tend to be fluent in English and educated in British-style schools, yet

their position “cheaper” than their European, North American or East Asian counterparts (Prasad 1998),

they are a first choice for foreign high-skilled investment. An additional cultural consideration is the

Indians‟ participation within the “internationalization of higher education,” whereby there is increasing

enrollment of Indians at US higher institutions (Iredale 2001), resulting in a further standardization of

skill requirements. Furthermore, past colonization has set up lines of communication and transportation

with England and Europe that have also indirectly aided in the development of contact with the US. Thus,

cultural considerations effectively set the stage for the next step in creating emigration: foreign

investment.

   Global systems hypothesizes that countries experiencing capital investment from developed nations

are likely to also be sending displaced immigrants to the developed nations. India is an excellent example

of this hypothesis; for it is the recipient of a large amount of investment and outsourcing from IT firms in

the US and other developed countries (Prasad 1998, Aneesh 2001). The rise of the “Silicon Plateau” in

Bangalore after the New Economic Policy of 1991, with many multinational corporations such as IBM

opening branches there, has received a great deal of both popular and scholarly attention, as has the

rerouting of every kind of telephone service from troubleshooting to airline reservation lines to Indian

operators. This investment has disrupted the burgeoning IT and middle class sector in India and made

native firms dependent upon investors for survival. Monica Prasad (1998) has outlined three ways this is
                                                                                                           14

occurring: first, indigenous firms have not been able to summon the capital necessary to maintain

autonomy and are increasingly reliant upon joint ventures with foreign investors. Second, native

companies have been increasingly switching from manufacturing their own brands to serving as retailers

of foreign brands. Third, Indian firms are losing out as the competition for skilled labor increases due to

an increase in foreign employers (Prasad 1998:436). This has resulted in a brain drain from indigenous

businesses both within and without the country. Thus, as predicted by global systems, foreign investment

has disrupted the internal labor market, even at the high-skilled level.

   Yet foreign IT investment in India is only one half of the coin; this initial market penetration

facilitates immigration as well. The presence of multinational firms in India enables immigration in three

ways: first, it enables intracompany transfers (L1) through the initial employment of Indian workers in

India. Workers hired for on-line outsourcing plants in India can thus be easily transferred to the US when

on-site shortages demand it. Second, the presence of American firms in India makes more traditional

recruitment at colleges or job fairs easier as well, though these methods are becoming obsolete as internet

and network recruitment becomes more commonplace (Waldinger and Erickson). Third, less tangible

aspects of IT market infiltration facilitate recruitment as well. These may be simply the knowledge that

work in the US exists; it can be a result of the rising wealth of employees of these companies and the

conspicuous consumption that follows that incites desire to move to the US (Prasad 1998); or it could

include a connection to someone who works in an international company through social networks. All

these factors help to explain how foreign investment in India might initiate immigration.




   Policy



   Cultural and economic connections as described by global systems helps fill in the gaps left by dual

market theory in explaining the policy of the H1B program. Though the H1B is a government policy and
                                                                                                            15

thus very much a part of national sovereignty and control, the move towards skilled immigration and

away from family reunification in the US since 1990 can be understood as part of the “de facto

transnationalizing” of immigration policy between sending and receiving nations accounted for by Sassen

(1998:6). The needs of multinational corporations and ethnic lobbyists receive attention in Congress

(Chakravartty 2001; Sassen 1998) because of the importance of these industries for the American

economy. At present, IT sectors represent the fastest growing sector and one of the largest in the US

(Lowell 2003). It therefore behooves the government to modify its policies on temporary immigration to

facilitate the demands for immigrant labor. Global systems thus provides insight into the transnational

relationships behind both legislative facilitation such as the formation of skilled labor visa categories

(H1B and L1) as well as transnational facilitation in the form of treaties such as NAFTA.

   A prime example, different from and supplementary to the H1B but similarly understood as a

response to globalization and transnational pressures, is the General Agreement on Trade in Services

(GATS). This represents a weakened form of bilateral agreements on service mobility based upon

individual treaties between members of the WTO (Lavanex 2000; Sassen 1998). The US has participated

in several such treaties, and along with Australia is one of the only two developed nations to contract for

specialists without firm employment (Lavanex 2000). Project-specific software and service workers,

which as mentioned above make up a growing proportion of IT work and cannot be outsourced, fall under

the GATS service categories (Lavanex 2000). Therefore the loosening of policies regarding economic

immigrants entering the US can be understood also as a result of connections between sending and

receiving nations as well as cultural factors and core nation investment.




Conclusion



   For the purposes of this paper, global systems serves as a supplement to the perspective of the dual

labor market theory. It helps to explain Indian H1Bs from a more international structural perspective, and
                                                                                                                                      16

provides insight into the effects of cultural and economic ties between the sending and receiving nations.

The perspective of global systems on the globalization of the IT industries, enabled through the

standardization of both education and skills, helps to reveal the logic behind the continued demand for

immigrant labor; closer examination of educational and cultural ties between India and the US help

explain why Indians dominate the H1B visa. “Transnationalizing” of the service sector has interesting

implications that reach beyond the H1B and provide real insight into the structure of skilled migration to

the US, and its meaning for the changing face of state sovereignty in the US and other developed nations.

It is unfortunately beyond the scope of this paper, which focuses exclusively on Indian H1Bs, to delve

into this theory further; but I believe that it holds real promise for explaining alternative routes of entry

such as university enrollment or intracompany transfer. Global systems also offers the city as unit of

study; unfortunately my information was limited to state of destination, but a point for future research

would be to study on the more specific destinations of H1Bs. I think this shows real promise as a site to

apply theories of network and cumulative causation as well, for initial research has found the presence of

Indian niches and networking (Alarcon 2001).




TABLE 1: CPS Data: Contingent Work4



4
 U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. CURRENT POPULATION SURVEY, FEBRUARY 2001: CONTINGENT
WORK SUPPLEMENT All CPS data includes filters for employed, non-military adults. For Table 1, C I = Wage and salary
earners who are not self employed or independent contractors and are (1) in a temporary job or a job that could not last as long as
they wish, (2) expecting their job to last a year or less for non-personal reasons, or (3) in a job where their tenure is a year or less.
                                                                                                                                 17

By Occupation

Occupation                                                               CI          C II          C III       C IV       Total

Executive, Administrative & Managerial                                   7.0%        .2%           .6%         .1%        7.9%

Engineers                                                                3.6         .1            .3          0          4

Technologists and Technicians                                            4.5         .4            1.4         .3         6.6

Mathematical and Computer Scientists                                     3.7         .2            .6          .3         4.8

Across the Population                                                    2.7         .3            .8          .2         4

Chi Square p < .001

By Occupation, Citizenship Controlled

Citizens

Occupation                                                               CI          C II          C III       C IV       Total

Executive, Administrative & Managerial                                   6.9%        .2%           .6%         .1%        7.8%

Engineers                                                                3.5         .1            .4          0          4.1

Technologists and Technicians                                            2.7         1.4           4.1         .3         8.5

Mathematical and Computer Scientists                                     6.9         .8            .9          .4         9



Non-citizens

Occupation                                                              CI          C II          C III       C IV       Total

Executive, Administrative & Managerial                                  9.0%        .3%           .9%         .1%        10.3%

Engineers                                                               4.5         0             0           0          4.5

Technologists and Technicians                                           2.7         1.4           4.1         1.4        9.6

Mathematical and Computer Scientists                                    12.2        0             2           0          14.2



By Occupation, Non-Citizens Selected and Year of Immigration Controlled

Recent Immigrants (1995-2001)

Occupation                                                              CI          C II          C III       C IV       Total



CII = all of the above plus those who are self-employed or self-contracted and expect to continue being self-employed or self-
contracted for less than a year. CIII = Persons paid by a temp agency. CIV= Persons who work through a contract company
                                                                                     18

Executive, Administrative & Managerial           9.8%   0%     2.4%    0%     12.2%

Engineers                                        8.0    0%     0       0      8

Technologists and Technicians                    2.3    2.3    7.0     0      11.6

Mathematical and Computer Scientists             12.5   0      3.1     0      15.6



Older Cohorts (Any year before 1995)

Occupation                                       CI     C II   C III   C IV   Total

Executive, Administrative & Managerial           8.5%   .4%    0%      0%     8.9%

Engineers                                        0      0      0       0      0

Technologists and Technicians                    3.2    0      0       3.2    3.2

Mathematical and Computer Scientists             11.8   0      0       0      11.8




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