How Restricted is the Job Mobility of Skilled Temporary Work Visa Holders?
Using the National Survey of College Graduates, I investigate the degree to which holders of temporary work visas in the United States are mobile between employers. Holders of temporary work visas either have legal restrictions on their ability to change employers (particularly holders of intra-company transferee visas, L-1s) or may be reluctant to leave an employer who has sponsored them for permanent residence (particularly holders of specialty worker visas, H-1Bs). I find that the voluntary job changing rate is similar for temporary visa holders and natives with similar characteristics. For the minority of temporary workers who receive permanent residence, there is a considerable spike in voluntary moving upon receipt of permanent residence, suggesting mobility is reduced during the application period by about 20%. My analysis of reasons for moving suggests that applicants are prepared to pay a small but not large professional price for permanent access to the U.S. labor market.
I thank Bin Xie for excellent research assistance and Ron Hira, Lindsay Lowell, Hal Salzman, and participants in seminars at Renselaer Polytechnic Institute, University College London, the University of Illinois and the 2017 Centro Studi Luca-d'Agliano-Collegio Carlo Alberto migration conference for helpful comments. I am grateful to the James Cullen Chair in Economics for financial support. I am also affiliated with the IZA (Bonn), CEPR (London) and DIW (Berlin). The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Jennifer Hunt & Bin Xie, 2019. "How Restricted is the Job Mobility of Skilled Temporary Work Visa Holders?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol 38(1), pages 41-64. citation courtesy of