First book-length analysis of the impact that temporary migrant workers are having on the U.S. labor market, and public policy initiatives that could be implemented to cope with it.
Legal admission to the United States is primarily for the purpose of permanent residence or temporary stay. Whereas the number of permanent admissions is only now reaching the levels from the turn of the last century, the total number of temporary admissions today—about 25 million—is about 200 times greater than a century ago. The global economy sends tens of thousands of businessmen and intracompany transferees from Japan and other trading partners to our shores. It sends foreign students to American's preeminent institutions of higher learning. And it supplies specially skilled workers to high-tech employers and unskilled workers to labor in our fields.
The numbers of temporary migrants are unprecedented, yet to date there has been little systematic analysis of their impact. The research brought together in this volume suggests that the overall impact of temporary workers and foreign students is positive. Yet, there are points of friction such as in some institutions of higher learning where foreign postdoctoral students and instructors comprise large proportions of those teaching the sciences and engineering. In high technology research and computer programming, some foreign workers are found in job shops that exploit the foreign worker and underbid competitors on special contracts. The authors suggest policy changes that would combat undesirable outcomes and manage temporary labor in a more productive fashion. In doing so, Lowell and the contributors to this volume break new ground and provide readers with the first book-length study and analysis devoted exclusively to foreign temporary workers in the United States. Their book will be an important source of data and ideas for human resource executives, upper management, and policy decision makers thorougout the public sector.