How Many US Workers Are Displaced by H1-B Workers?

Executive Summary

  • H1-B lobbyists like to propose that no US workers lose jobs because of H1-B workers.
  • This article provides an article quotation of the displacement level.


H1-B lobbyists want to present a pleasant fiction that all H1-B visa holders take jobs that are new and that there is no displacement of US workers.

Evidence for the actual amount of displacement found by the following quotation.

Applying the INS’ 52 percent figure for the proportion of computer-related H-1Bs to the 2002 count of 80,000 H-1B visas granted279 results in a figure of approximately 40,000 visas that were issued to IT H-1Bs in 2002. Meanwhile, the IT unemployment rate was more than 5 percent,280 which, using the NRC numbers281 would work out to around 100,000 unemployed workers.

In very rough terms, then, it can be argued that about 40 percent of the unemployed American IT workers were displaced by H-1Bs. Furthermore, there were an estimated 890,000 H-1Bs in the U.S. at that time,282 which again from the INS percentage figure for IT would mean approximately 463,000 computer-related H-1B workers. This further places the 100,000 statistic for unemployed computer-related Americans in alarming perspective. Note that this is just counting formal unemployment, not including underemployment, e.g. former programmers now working as bus drivers because they cannot get programming work. – University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 

Companies are bringing in roughly 300,000 H1-B visa workers to the US every year as we cover in the article How the H1-B Program Understates The True Number of Yearly H1-B Visas. It is ludicrous for industry to state that no US workers are being displaced.

The speed of transformation of IT in the US to highly and, in some cases, predominantly Indian, is breathtaking. IT departments now bear no relationship to the racial composition of the rest of the companies where the IT departments are housed. 

How Did Domestic Firms With Previously Domestic Labor Become Indian So Quickly?

Indians like to propose that they are so skilled that companies become Indian after the first small number of Indians are hired because of the demand for skills. This is a rather unique position that Indians are not only more skilled than any one group but than all other groups. And that further Indians from one part of India are also more competent than all of the other Indians from other parts of India. However, the following quotation brings up a different reason.

“I have worked in Silicon Valley in both startups and big companies and my experience is the same as what the question says: Indians will ONLY hire other Indians and, like other people mentioned, they will only hire Indians like them. This is true most of the time with Indians who arrived in Silicon Valley to work or to go to University to study. The next generation, the Indians who were born here, is more Americanized and therefore more attuned to the principles of fairness and judging somebody on their merits, not on who they are related to or who are their friends with.”

How Indians Proliferate More Indians

This is an entirely different commenter than the commenter from the previous quotations. This commenter goes on to describe a pattern of infiltration that occurs after the first Indians begin to work at a firm.

“I can tell you it is something that is recognized and spoken by everyone here. I have friends from all ethnic groups (Latino, Chinese, Japanese, White) and they all say the same thing: once an Indian is hired in a position of relative power (say middle management) a constant stream of resumes from his family or friends will come and, after that, most of the group will be Indian. I, like other people who answered, also have very good Indian friends and they themselves say the same thing: Indians have a long-running tradition of nepotism and cronyism and they do the same here in Silicon Valley. It is not uncommon to go to a startup run by Indian management or a big company with Indian managers and see their relatives working there (the second cousin, the brother-in-law, the wife, the son and so on). This, of course, is not a problem, if people were qualified for the job they do. Sadly, in a lot of cases that is not the case, they get the job because a relative got it for them.”

Why would nepotism and cronyism be so consistently attributed to Indians who immigrate to other countries? This further brings up the question of what happens when Indians are hired? Does the hiring of a few Indians necessarily mean that many more Indians will soon be working at that company?


This is yet another lie that we have caught H1-B lobbyists and those that rely on H1-B labor stating. However, when H1-B lobbyists make statements, they have no concern for anything they say being true. They are paid to promote more and more H1-Bs by companies that make large amounts of money from H1-B labor.