Help wanted: Employer demand for less-skilled temporary foreign worker visas in an era of declining unauthorized immigration
Employer demand for less-skilled foreign workers admitted on temporary worker visas has increased considerably in recent years. Issuances of H-2A visas for agricultural workers and J-1 visas for exchange visitors have soared, and the cap for H-2B visas for nonagricultural workers is reached well before the end of the issuance period. This article examines the rise in employer demand for these programs, focusing on the roles of improved economic conditions, tougher immigration enforcement, and the drop in the number of less-skilled workers, including unauthorized immigrants. Economic conditions appear to be the most important determinant of employer demand. The upward trend in employer usage of the programs suggests that they can be a viable alternative to hiring unauthorized workers, and even more so if restructured appropriately.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Orrenius, P.M., Zavodny, M. (2020) Help Wanted: Employer Demand for Less-skilled Temporary Foreign Worker Visas in an Era of Declining Unauthorized Immigration. RSF, 6(3), 45-67.