The Effects of High-Skilled Immigration Policy on Firms: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries


We compare winning and losing firms in the Fiscal Year 2006 and 2007 H-1B visa lotteries, matching administrative data on these lotteries to administrative tax data on U.S. firms, and to approved U.S. patents. Winning additional H-1B visas generally has insignificant and at most modest effects on firms’ patenting and use of the research and experimentation tax credit. Additional H-1Bs cause at most a moderate increase in firms’ overall employment, and these H-1Bs substantially crowd out firms’ employment of other workers. There is some evidence that additional H-1Bs lead to lower average employee earnings and higher firm profits.