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

Guillermina Jasso, New York University

This paper examines ethnicity among highly skilled immigrants to the United States. The paper focuses on five components of ethnicity – country of birth, race, skin color, language, religion – among new immigrants in 2003 in the three main employment categories (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3), using data from the U.S. New Immigrant Survey. Initial findings include: (1) The visa categories have distinctive ethnic configurations; India dominates EB-2 and Europe 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 ultra highly skilled. (4) Highly skilled immigrants are mostly male; they are not immune from lapsing into illegality. (5) A little measure of assimilation suggests that highly skilled immigrants are more likely to “think in dollars” than their cohortmates. Further work examines these patterns in a multivariate context, attentive to selectivity processes and the Globalista impulse.

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Presented in Session 8: The international migration of highly skilled workers