Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 33–58

Skilled temporary and permanent immigrants in the United States

  • B. Lindsay Lowell

DOI: 10.1023/A:1010697201627

Cite this article as:
Lowell, B.L. Population Research and Policy Review (2001) 20: 33. doi:10.1023/A:1010697201627


The US temporary migration system is closely intertwined with the permanent system. First, this paper defines the various temporary and permanent admission categories. It presents available statistics on the occupations of temporary migrants upon admission and upon adjustment to permanent residency, especially since the Immigration Act of 1990 went into effect in 1992. There has been a sizable increase in the number of temporary workers over the past few years and those who adjust from specialty workers (H-1B) and intracompany transferee (L) have increased the overall skill composition of permanent immigrants. Secondly, the paper reviews the literature on the labor market impact of temporary migrants in academics and in the private sector. While there are marked concentrations of foreign-born workers among the college educated and especially Ph.D.s, the literature raises concerns but does not establish adverse effects (wage differentials, unemployment, etc.). There is, however, reason for some concern given trends in the postdoctoral labor market and for employersin `job shops' who undercut US workers with temporary workers.

Skilled peopleImmigrantsTemporary worker

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Lindsay Lowell
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashington DCUSA