Macro

The Brain Drain Effects of “America First”

A couple of months ago we published a piece on the H1B Visa freeze, titled “They Survived Coronavirus. Can They Survive the H1B Freeze?” Even leading up to the freeze, there were many restrictions placed on international students. Now that some time has passed, we wanted to take a look at how these policies affected the ability of foreign students to find positions in the US.

Revelio Labs

2/2/21

A couple of months ago we published a piece on the H1B Visa freeze, titled “They Survived Coronavirus. Can They Survive the H1B Freeze?” Even leading up to the freeze, there were many restrictions placed on international students. Now that some time has passed, we wanted to take a look at how these policies affected the ability of foreign students to find positions in the US.

We would like to see the placement rate of all international students into domestic positions, but, of course, it takes some time to find a job, so we would naturally see that more recent grads have lower placement than those who graduated in the more distant past.

By looking at how long it takes people to land a job after school, we see that only about about 65% of international students find a job within the first year:

plot

By applying that rate to the recent period, we can see the difference in what was expected to have occurred vs the observed rate:

plot

By zooming in to the most recent period, we can see that the drop in International students finding a job has been most extreme after 2016:

plot

Takeaways:

  • There has been an unprecedented drop in the rate of international students finding jobs in the US, even after adjusting for the natural time it takes to find a job.
  • The drop in 2020 is partially due to the stagnant economy, but the drop was beginning for several years, suggesting that the trend has more to do with anti-immigration policies in the US.
  • The rate of foreign students securing work in the US has been relatively stable for the last 50 years, suggesting that the last four years have been very different from the US immigration policy of the past.

If you have any ideas of other metrics to track or would like to hear more, please feel free to reach out.

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