Some employers are saying that if foreign worker visa backlogs are not handled quickly as they wish, they will move the work involved overseas. How much of a threat is this?
These employers, of course, are the exploiters of domestic and foreign workers who see anything but a completely open doors policy as a threat to their businesses, and therefore to the nation. What they really need to do is to raise wages to recruit whatever additional talent they may need locally—a proposal they reject.
Some employers, as reported by Law360, simply do not have the option of remoting work—you cannot, for instance, remote either the harvest of wheat or its conversion into bread. But most employers who can remote their work in the United States can also send it overseas.
The policy question is: how damaging is this threat?
Losing a decent-paying American job to someone sitting at a computer overseas is, of course, a blow to American workers and to the U.S. labor market. It should not be encouraged.
On the other hand, the ramifications of such a move is benign in three other general fields of potential impact: the effect on the environment, the effect on the American population, as well as various administrative considerations.
As we summarize in the table below, there are three areas of potential impact beyond the obvious one in the labor market. Bringing in extra workers (above and beyond the million plus new immigrants we get every year, and the massive number of illegal entrants tolerated by this administration) runs counter to our worries about the environment, about the size of the population, and the administrative effort.
The guy or gal who has a full-time job, handling remote assignments in Brazil or Gambia, is taking a job that should be filled by a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, to be sure, but that person is not using our over-used subways and bridges and electric systems, is not adding to our census numbers, is not running up some administrative costs for either their employer (such as travel). Nor is she or he creating work for our under-staffed immigration system, or the many our other layers of our governments.
|Employment Practice Impacts||Work here by U.S. Residents||Work done overseas remotely||Work done by alien workers here|
|Labor Market||No disadvantages||U.S. jobs lost||U.S. jobs lost|
|Environment||No additional damage to the environment||No additional damage to the environment||More people using our infrastructure than needed|
|Population||No extra people||No extra people||Extra people in United States|
|Administrative||No extra costs to either employers or our government||No extra costs to either employers or our government||Extra costs for employers and the government|
|Summaries||4 advantages||3 advantages, 1 disadvantage||4 disadvantages|
Source: The Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, DC.
In other words, remoting work overseas is a bad idea, but it is far better than expanding our foreign worker programs.