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Ethnicity and the Immigration of Highly Skilled Workers to the United States

Guillermina Jasso

New York University (NYU) - Department of Sociology; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

IZA Discussion Paper No. 3950

This paper examines ethnicity among highly skilled immigrants to the United States. The paper focuses on five classic components of ethnicity - country of birth, race, skin color, language, and religion - among persons admitted to legal permanent residence in the United States in 2003 in the three main employment categories (EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3), using data collected in the U.S. New Immigrant Survey. Initial findings include: (1) The visa categories have distinctive ethnic configurations. India dominates EB-2 and European countries EB-1. (2) The ethnicity portfolio contains more languages than religions. (3) Language is shed before religion, and religion may not be shed at all, except among the ultra highly skilled of EB-1. (4) 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 United States. (5) Larger proportions in EB-2 and EB-3 sent remittances than in the cohort overall. (6) 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. Further work is taking a deeper look at these patterns in a multivariate context, attentive to selectivity processes and the Globalista impulse.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: immigration policy, immigrant selection criteria, employment immigration, highly skilled immigration, illegal immigration, ethnicity, race, language, religion, remittances, assimilation, globalization

JEL Classification: F22, F24, J15, J24, J61, J68, K42, O15

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Date posted: January 25, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Jasso, Guillermina, Ethnicity and the Immigration of Highly Skilled Workers to the United States. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3950. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1332591

Contact Information

Guillermina Jasso (Contact Author)
New York University (NYU) - Department of Sociology ( email )
295 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10012-9605
United States
212-998-8368 (Phone)
212-995-4140 (Fax)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
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