Ethnicity and the immigration of highly skilled workers to the United States
Purpose – This paper aims to examine ethnicity among highly skilled immigrants to the USA. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines five classic components of ethnicity – country of birth, race, skin color, language, and religion – among persons admitted to legal permanent residence in the USA in 2003, as principals in the three main employment categories (EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3), using data collected in the US New Immigrant Survey. Findings – The visa categories have distinctive ethnic configurations. India dominates EB-2, European countries and Canada EB-1. The ethnicity portfolio contains more languages than religions. Language is shed before religion, and religion may not be shed at all, except among the ultra highly skilled of EB-1. Highly skilled immigrants are mostly male; they are not immune from lapsing into illegality; they have a shorter visa process than their cohortmates; smaller proportions than in the cohort overall intend to remain in the USA. Larger proportions in EB-2 and EB-3 sent remittances than in the cohort overall. A little measure of assimilation – using dollars to describe earnings in the country of last residence, even when requested to use the country's currency – suggests that highly skilled immigrants are more likely to “think in dollars” than their cohortmates. Research limitations/implications – The paper is like an aerial reconnaissance. It is necessary to now go under the ledges and into the caves. Originality/value – The data used are the first ever collected on a probability sample of new legal immigrants to the USA. It is expected that many researchers will use these data to generate valuable new knowledge.
Ethnic groups, Immigrants, Skilled workers, United States of America
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