Ethnicity and the immigration of highly skilled workers to the United States

Guillermina Jasso

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)26-42
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
    Issue number1-2
    StatePublished - Mar 27 2009


    • Ethnic groups
    • Immigrants
    • Skilled workers
    • United States of America

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Strategy and Management
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
    • Management of Technology and Innovation


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