Abstract

The need for and role of highly skilled immigrant workers in the U.S. economy is fiercely debated. Proponents and opponents agree that temporary foreign workers are paid a lower wage than are natives. This lower wage partly originates from the restricted mobility of workers while on a temporary visa. In this article, we estimate the wage gain to employment-based immigrants from acquiring permanent U.S. residency. We use data from the New Immigrant Survey (2003) and implement a difference-in-difference propensity score matching estimator. We find that for employer-sponsored immigrants, the acquisition of a green card leads to an annual wage gain of about $11,860.

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