Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Issues Report on H-1B Visa Demand in New England

On October 8, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released an analysis of the regional demand for H-1B visas. The analysis found that the region has a very high demand for H-1B visas relative to employment, higher than much of the nation. This demand was spurred by metropolitan areas in Connecticut and Massachusetts, which consistently rank among the top areas for intensity of demand for H-1B workers.

The analysis shows that in New England, H-1B visas have multiple uses. It identifies employers seeking computer and mathematics skills as the driving force behind the demand– both regionally and nationally. The report highlights that demand for computer skills in Connecticut is very high, while in the Boston and Worcester markets, the demand for science and engineering was identified as the highest. In fact, the concentration of employment in STEM is much larger in New England than in the country—roughly one million workers in the region are in STEM occupations.

Looking forward, the report calls for clearer policy goals for the H-1B visa program. According to the analysis, the objective of providing temporary employment of foreign guest workers in “specialty occupations” creates ambiguity and clouds policy discussions. With a clearer objective, effective policies could be put in place that would improve the system as a whole.

The New England Council has supported an increase in H-1B visas, as well as other federal policy to address the shortage of high-skilled workers in New England. Read more about the Council’s advocacy efforts on the Technology page of our website, or read Jim Brett’s Op-Ed on the need for comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the shortage of high-skilled workers in the STEM fields.

The Federal Reserve Bank’s press release can be found here



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