top of page
A team discussion at a trading room

H-1B Visas and 

Economic Impact

The important role of H-1B workers in the U.S. economy

While some worry that H-1B visa holders can adversely affect U.S. jobs, the data unequivocally show that the U.S. benefits from the considerable talents of foreign workers who work for companies, nonprofits, and educational institutions within the U.S. As noted in an article entitled "H-1B Workers: Misperceptions and Corrections", the U.S. "has long benefitted from the ingenuity of foreign workers operating alongside our domestic workforce".

But how do foreign workers on H-1B visas contribute to the U.S. economy?

First, remember the the H-1B was introduced as part of the 1990 Immigration Act, a set of laws that sought to strengthen the U.S. economy via the contributions of talented workers. H-1B workers are indeed, persons with considerable talents:

"In 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, 99% of H-1B visa holders had at least the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, with over 50% in each year also holding a graduate degree (Masters, Doctorate, or Professional degree)" (source) Simply put, H-1B workers have a considerable amount of knowledge and skill that can provide benefits to U.S. organizations.

To understand the effect of these workers, consider that a 2020 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that President Donald Trump's visa ban via an executive order "statistically and economically significantly caused negative CAARs of up to 0.45%, the equivalent of over 100 billion of US dollars of losses, based on the firms’ valuation before the event" on Fortune 500 companies.

H-1B visa holders make significant contributions to businesses, in a variety of ways. H-1B visa holders are:

  • Professors at leading institutions of higher education like Stanford University, Harvard, and hundreds of Universities across the U.S.

  • Developers, technical experts, and other persons in computer science professions that enable companies like Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft, and others to operate

  • Consultants at companies like Bain, BCG, Accenture, GenPact, and others that help companies solve intractable problems

  • Professionals within nonprofits that seek to make the world a better place

To get an understanding of their profound impact, consider, for example, the effects of H-1B workers as the U.S. and world fought COVID-19.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association notes that ​H-1B workers played a key role in developing the COVID-19 vaccine and other pharmaceutical products that save lives.​  Companies like Gilead Sciences, Moderna Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline, Inovio, Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron, Vir Therapeutics, and Sanofi, that have received over 3,000 approvals for biochemists, chemists, biophysics, and other areas (source)

Outside of the businesses they work for, H-1B visa holders also contribute to social programs through their taxes, programs like social security that they may never benefit from (source).  Their impact is profound.  Recently, STILT, a company that provides loans to visa holders, estimates that "When accounting for all H1B visa holders in the U.S. those contributions account for $6,391,950,000 per month being pumped into the U.S. economy," (source)  STILT further estimated that H-1B visa holders:

  • contribute more than $27.1 billion dollars per year towards Social Security and Medicare benefits
  • spend $76.7+ billion at U.S. businesses annually

  • spend $57.1 Billion in dollars that go directly to local businesses with their communities

  • invest more than $12 billion into U.S. businesses annually

Outside of all of this, research shows that H-1B visa holders actually lead to the creation of jobs.  For "Every 1 additional H-1B visa awarded to a state was associated with the creation of 1.83 more jobs for U.S.-born workers in the following seven years" (source)


Other pages you may find interesting

On H-1B​

External Websites

In changing their own lives, H-1B workers have positively impacted U.S. companies, nonprofits, and even U.S. workers

On this page:

  • The role of H-1B workers on the U.S. economy

  • Each H-1B worker creates 1.83 jobs for U.S. workers

  • The effect of H-1B workers on the economy represents hundreds of billions of dollars in impact for U.S. businesses each year

  • H-1B workers create essential contributions for the U.S. economy

bottom of page