back to article President Trump's H-1B visa crackdown wiped $100bn off market value of America's largest corps, top study finds

The Trump administration's June crackdown on foreign workers with H-1B and other visas wiped $100bn off the stock market value of the largest US companies, according to boffins at The Brookings Institution, Harvard Business School, and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In a research paper distributed by the …

  1. Sparkus Bronze badge

    half of one percent, when those dollars are indeed re-directed toward employing those already in the domestic labor force, well, it's an insignificant and trivial set of numbers.

    Anyone grabbing hold of this to make negative hay is not to be listened to.

    1. sisk

      So what you're saying is 1) You didn't read the article, which clearly says that these dollars are NOT being redirected towards employing domestic labor, 2) Don't even come close to understanding the scale of economic damage being discussed here, in the billions of dollars in one day, and 3) Won't let petty things like "facts" and "truth" interfere with your worldview. Got it.

      Now if you actually have an intelligent counter, let's talk. But if all you're going to do is dismiss it because it seems to say that the great leader's plan is not working without so much as bothering to fully comprehend it, you should maybe take Twain's advice on staying silent and being thought a fool.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Avtually, the article says "Bahar did, however, observe that there's no evidence this sort of immigration policy will lead to more jobs for Americans."

        And they can't know because just observing the stock value is a useless metric. Stock values became so disconnected by real economy they are quite useless for this kind of discussion. Probably investors just panicked a little about the lack of cheaper workers to increase revenues easily.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And the assessment was carried out over a few weeks only - recruitment or hiring of local labor takes longer than that - nevermind developing strategy for it. Of course there isnt evidence of recruitment - there isnt any evidence of increased offshoring either - that was surmised by the author.

          The policy stings HCL and TCS, though.

          The bit about Doctorates having to seek extensions made me laugh. Less than 14% of graduates are doctorate graduates - probably much less in international students.

          I wonder how they weigh in for the global impact of the pandemic - the margin of error would be larger than the figure they quote... (100Bn between industries with a market cap of over 22680 Bn)

          Globally, the hit on market cap in the us because of the pandemic has cost (by some estimates) over 30,000 Bn.... And US federal spend alone has exceeded 6000 Bn - which as got to stimulate something.

        2. Captain Obvious

          Iwas going to say the same thing

          But you beat me to it. Stock valuations have NO bearing on domestic vs offshore employment. This is a useless article.

    2. NiceCuppaTea

      GDP and various economic outputs are a poor measure of a countries "success" and needs to be dropped asafp.

      A better measure would be median income per capita minus median cost of living. Giving a more accurate view of "success" if success is defined as the quality of living for a countries inhabitants.

      Yes there is the age old argument of money doesnt bring happiness but not being able to afford a roof and 3 square meals tends to make being happy more difficult.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes there is the age old argument of money doesnt bring happiness but not being able to afford a roof and 3 square meals tends to make being happy more difficult.

        Playing devils advocate I do feel the need to point out that old adage is in direct contradiction to several studies I've seen that show a strong correlation between wealth and general happiness. You may be onto something there.

        Of course if you take median income and subtract median cost of living America doesn't look very successful. I mean you're talking about a nation where half the population barely gets buy living paycheck to paycheck. So, that being the case, you'll find it hard to get the people who matter, at least in the US, to approach it that way.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          "several studies I've seen that show a strong correlation between wealth and general happiness."

          IIRC based on such studies, happiness (at least in UK) increases with wealth until about £85k pa income, then levels out. That's still over double average income and well over triple the median income.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "GDP and various economic outputs are a poor measure of a countries "success" and needs to be dropped asafp."

        They can be a good measure of certain things within certain limits but are applied and interpreted so broadly most times that the conclusions are meaningless.

        The metric that really gets me is people saying a company is "worth" whatever their market cap is. The value of a big company is much more complex than that and many companies are horribly disconnected from their stock price.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bankruptcy-Boy strikes again

    Everything he touches turns to mush.

    Investment kryptonite

    1. RedneckMother

      Re: Bankruptcy-Boy strikes again


  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Putting up a 'not welcome' sign [..] won’t help our country"

    No it won't, but it will please the white supremacist Nazi sympathizers who think that they are above the fray and don't want to see any people of any shade other than dead fish.

    Except for those who carry the trash and mop the floors, of course.

    However, it would seem that such policies will, in the end, be damaging to their lofty position as well.

    So go for it. Continue bleeding economic value because you aren't intelligent enough to understand that you need everyone, not just masters and slaves, and everyone, including those 'brown people', need to have a valid chance to make it big, not just the dead fish color population.

  4. Denarius Silver badge

    do they mean speculative algorithms

    are actual real economy values instead of transient bits in in silicon memory ? Since when did stock market numbers actually have much to do with real technology jobs and the economy outside of superannuation schemes ? Is there any evidence that high skill jobs are vacant due to EO ?

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: do they mean speculative algorithms

      Well... as I understood the article the cash will flow into automatisation of stuff, effectively reducing head count. Hard to say if that happens, or if so whether it was going to happen anyway - and at which speed. Pretty much like China developing their own CPU. That was bound to happen, but another level of urgency was added, so it happens faster (maybe).

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "as I understood the article the cash will flow into automatisation"

        They think so, but they have no evidence. Not everything can be made automatic. Nor everything can be offshored.

        They have no evidences from their data. Did automation companies value actually increase because of that, for example?

      2. conel

        Re: do they mean speculative algorithms

        The automation part made me laugh. H-1B visa holders are supposed to be highly skilled workers, not the kind that can be automated. And H-1B is used as a vector for offshoring anyway.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: do they mean speculative algorithms

      They've shown that the stock market dipped, but they have not actually proven that it had any effect on the ability of the said companies to actually carry out their work. And that is a big problem, too much emphasis is placed on stock market performance and not on actual company performance, they are not the same thing!

      Looking at the stock price is a stupid metric for the impact of the EO. I don't agree with the EO and I'm for people going to the US to work, if they are truly needed and not just "cheap" alternatives to equally well trained people already in the US. (I don't live in the US, but I have benefited from being able to move to and work in a country of my choice due to freedom of movement.)

      But that second part is a big part of the problem. You need to invest to provide an education to skill people up for the roles required. Ignoring education and just importing people to work cheaply, because you can't find anyone locally is not the answer. The whole "labour supply chain" needs to be examined and adjusted.

      As long as the only metric of import for the stock market is a business' profit for the next quarter and not its sustainability, the US education and labour markets won't benefit or recover. And, yes, the same is true in many other countries. Education means investing in short-term goals over 1 to 1.5 decades into the future. Although this is a short-term goal, it is still at least 40 times longer than many stock market speculators are willing think about,

      Also, we are talking about multi-nationals, for the most part, so why do these skilled workers even need to be in the USA? Especially in Silicon Valley companies, which have been lauding and promoting products for remote working for nearly 2 decades. Some jobs need to be done locally, but if SV's claims for their products are real, they don't need all of those H-1B visas anyway.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many from Coronavirus?

    H1B's are not idiots. How much of that drop in H1B's visa is simply due to the raging pandemic? You know the one that's killed greater than 300,000 people?

    "Now, in the most updated count to date, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that nearly 300,000 more people in the United States died from late January to early October this year compared the average number of people who died in recent years. Just two-thirds of those deaths were counted as Covid-19 fatalities, highlighting how the official U.S. death count — now standing at about 220,000 — is not fully inclusive."

    Even if the Republican Governors have stopped testing and stopped declaring Covid19 deaths, the death toll is over 300,000 now *minimum*. The new spike is twice the size of the spike that caused the 300,000 deaths, so you're looking at another 600,000 deaths minimum on top of that, simply because the spike is double. Even if they act now, you're looking at 900,000 deaths.

    Come to 'Merica, we'll pay you in US dollars and toilet paper. One is worthless and for wiping you ass with, the other is double quilted! You'll need insanely expensive health insurance. You'll live in a box, a very expensive box, surrounded by selfish people who will cough on you because they think its a good thing. And you will be to blame, because you're the chosen figure of hate by the latest Nazi party trying to turn Americans against Americans.


    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: How many from Coronavirus?

      Didn't El Reg report a month or two back, that even with the restricted number of H-1B visas this year, US Immigration had to go into second or third rounds of offering them, because nobody wanted them?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many from Coronavirus?


        "With H-1B workers not exactly rushing to America this year, Uncle Sam plans to spend millions home-growing IT staff"

        It's not just Coronavirus is it. Immigrants are a hated group right now.

        It's election year. To get elected Trump is trying to stir up hate. H1Bs as target are part of that.

        It started with fake 'antifa' twitter accounts, Republicans running the opposing narrative. Having fake extreme arguments between themselves for Fox News liars to echo.


        Then it progressed to smashing windows, at anti Trump protests. Pro-Trump, agent provocateurs pretending to be protestors smashing windows to stir up violence.


        Now its progressed to armed right wing groups, crossing state lines to qualify for a Trump federal pardon, killing immigrants, but also shooting and killing *POLICE* . Playing both sides against the other (see examples below).

        Pretending to be leftists for the Fox News pundits to scream "leftists socialists killed police", only its not, its Trump supporting Boogaloo bois that do the killings with blacks and immigrants taking the blame.


        Come to 'America, get shot, or get blamed for doing the shooting!

        If they want to see what a shithole America has become, turn on Fox News, watch the pundits scream racist hate, 'outraged' at the latest killing of policemen, or burning of buildings, and then realize that their own side is doing the killing and burning.

        Or stay at home and don't climb into that dumpster fire.


        "In late May and early June 2020, two ambush-style attacks occurred against security personnel and law enforcement officers in California. The attacks left two dead and injured three others."

        "U.S. Air Force sergeant Steven Carrillo was arrested soon after the second attack. A second suspect, Robert Justus, surrendered to authorities five days later. The FBI indicated that Carrillo was associated with the boogaloo movement, a loosely organized American far-right extremist movement whose participants say they are preparing for a second civil war.

        "A rightwing extremist boasted of driving from Texas to Minneapolis to help set fire to a police precinct during the George Floyd protests, federal prosecutors said.... He then high-fived another person and shouted, “Justice for Floyd!” according to the complaint."

        "Hunter is the third alleged “Boogaloo Boi” to be charged in connection with protests in Minneapolis. Across the country, the “Boogaloo” movement has been linked to more than two dozen arrests and at least five deaths this year, including the alleged plot to kidnap the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer."

    2. John Jennings Bronze badge

      Re: How many from Coronavirus?

      Read the damn CDC paper, instead of spouting...

      The excess deaths not reported as covid GENERALLY do not fit the MORTALITY profile of the disease anywhere in the world.

      "Although more excess deaths have occurred among older age groups, relative to past years, adults aged 25–44 years have experienced the largest average percentage increase in the number of deaths from all causes from late January through October 3, 2020. The age distribution of COVID-19 deaths shifted toward younger age groups from May through August (9); however, these disproportionate increases might also be related to underlying trends in other causes of death"

      When considering the excess death numbers we have to consider not just the disease, but the actions taken as well.

      yes, there are likely people who were not tested early when the disease was 'new'. I doubt that is happening much now, however. And the report backs this theory up -

      People suffering with aches and pains, but not doing anything about it because of fear of going to get treatment - which in turn is actually serious..

      People waiting for surgery,or treatments, and not getting them becasue there is no capacity to take them;

      People eating poorly becasue they have no money - leadiing to complications with other conditions;

      Mental distress becasue they cannot work and feed their family;

      Suicide, and violent death

      The diseas is not republican or democrat. Locking people in thier homes, forcing masks (especially outside) leads to bacterial loads, closing businesses stresses and ultimately kills

  6. IGotOut Silver badge

    Be careful what you wish for.

    By making it harder to be an immigrant in the Land Of The Immigrants, then more skilled workers will be forced to work domestically, or in another country.

    Lucky India, a country with a lower income rate, therefore more internationally commercial, has no ambitions to become a leader in technology....oh wait.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Be careful what you wish for.

      India will go nowhere anyway. Because if you're not Hindu - and of the right caste - you will not climb the ranks, and you will need to do what an idiot from an upper caste will tell you to do. Exactly what happened in the past centuries in India - which well explain its actual situation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Be careful what you wish for.

        Being upper-caste doesn't disqualify you from running a successful business. Just look at the big-name US tech companies with CEOs of Indian origin. In the US meritocracy, they must have got there by being the best. Wall St. wouldn't permit anything else.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Be careful what you wish for.

          If anything it's worse in the USA than in India = Our CEO is brown therefore we aren't racist

  7. Lars Silver badge

    The simple solution

    The only solution is, as ever, educate all kids well, as well as possible.

    The problems are that it's a longtime solution and it would require affordable education and that would be socialism and the country would turn into a Venezuela.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: The simple solution


      "The only solution is, as ever, educate all kids well, as well as possible."

      Educating kids are well as necessary might be more accurate. It isnt about accumulating knowledge but the accumulation of useful knowledge and the assistance in applying such knowledge.

      "The problems are that it's a longtime solution and it would require affordable education and that would be socialism and the country would turn into a Venezuela."

      The US has affordable education. Then they get to higher education and people decide to pursue their potential career and some go to do left handed puppetry. While having no earning history nor collateral their government insures kids going into higher education at great cost to the taxpayer because a lot of loans wont be repaid.

      1. Snowy

        Re: The simple solution

        The american education system is a mess.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: The simple solution


          "The american education system is a mess."

          I expect it has its problems. As do all.


          I am not going to rely on the undereducated kids to tell me what is wrong with the education system. I would want policy to be based on evidence and quantifiable results.


          Would be john oliver wouldnt it. Charter schools being the solution used in the nordic countries too.


          According to that (at the start) the south is the least segregated. NY being the example it seems to beat on. Maybe they should stop voting democrat. As increased segregation by packing people into groups is a recent left fetish (gender, 2 genders aint enough, whatever gender you feel like, trans, race, pronoun and probably more) it probably makes more sense to stop the no-platforming and move to more right wing ideas of ability.

      2. Lars Silver badge

        Re: The simple solution

        "The US has affordable education".

        No that is not true.

        If it was true people would not have the debts they have. And many will never be able to get the education they deserve.

        I rather write affordable than free, if a year at a real University costs less then say $1000 a year it's not free it's still affordable in my (wallet).

        i don't have free health care either, if the prescription pills exceed about $800 then they are free for the rest of the year. And I pay my taxes, 22% now and I would rather pay 50 as I would have a lot more money then.

        I don't write this out of spite or hatred, I have family in the USA too, including a cousine, a Trumpist, who doesn't answer my emails since I expressed my oppinion about Fox, suggesting he might need to add to his channels for the sake of sanity.

        If everything that is affordable or/and just common sense is leftist then where do you go, you are simply cornered all by yourself.

        This left/right idiocy is a result of the two party system you inherited from the British. It's a crazy system you don't find much anywhere else.

        Just look at the British, up in the shit of their own making, more devided than ever.

        Britain has advanced like a drunken sailor ( I have some experience in that profession too) one step left and then one step right but never one step straight forward.

        A country that kills the middle class will have severe problems, damn it, you have killed even Archie Bunker, you have stopped arguing, discussing, you are all sitting in you own fucking corner talking to yourself, lost, cornered and fucked up all by yourself.

        How the hell do you think norther countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark with a mere 25 million souls together has produced so many world class companies like Volvo, Saab, Nokia, Lego, Ericsson, SKF, Wärtsilä, Elektrolux, Maersk and so many more, due to socialism perhaps.

        We understood long ago that to prosper, even stay alive, you have to take education, living conditions dead seriously and constantly for the whole damned population.

        To some extent northern countries with a winter had a sort of an advantage in creating a decent society because poverty is easier to ignore in a warm surrounding than in a cold.

        So my dear Americans, you can do better, you could do better, you should do better, and you simply have to do better.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: The simple solution


          "If it was true people would not have the debts they have. And many will never be able to get the education they deserve."

          Debts for what? School is provided. Unless I am unaware of kids being charged to go to school. Education beyond school is charged for quite rightly.

          "I rather write affordable than free, if a year at a real University costs less then say $1000 a year it's not free it's still affordable in my (wallet)."

          Why university? That would be higher elective education. That is why there is such a wide range from marketable stuff to arts to grievance studies.

          "i don't have free health care either"

          We were talking education. Yes there are problems with the healthcare system.

          "If everything that is affordable or/and just common sense is leftist then where do you go, you are simply cornered all by yourself."

          That really isnt the case which is why the leftists who believe that are derided as idiots. There are pro's and cons of both sides views.

          "Just look at the British, up in the shit of their own making, more devided than ever."

          I am British. And it isnt a left/right divide as the brexit issue crosses both. That is why the visions of remain and for leave are so incompatible within their own camps.

          I am sorry to say but the rest of your comment is a lot of rambling of a lot of incorrect stuff I would refute except it is so wildly off what we are talking about. But since the US has produced global companies, makes huge contributions to global healthcare (including in Europe) and much more I think America has plenty to be proud of.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A political announcement may have caused a tiny difference in the value that people, who aren't allowed to have any actual inside knowledge, estimate that a company might be worth. A value that isn't really based on any reliable data and fluctuates randomly on a daily basis anyway. A value which only really reflects the confidence of professional gamblers who play games with other people's money. And this conclusion is presented without reference to any control data that might bias it one way or another.

  9. jmch Silver badge

    Economic value??

    The report is confused to say the least. Market cap has nothing to do with value, it is simply the market's estimate of future profits of a company. Note that a company can have larger profits with less economic value to the country as a whole (for example if profits are hoarded, taxes are avoided etc). A company paying higher wages would have less progfits but the spending of wages by employees could result in higher economic value for teh country as a whole.

    And that brings us to the whole crux of the H1-B program, which is supposed to hire skilled foreign workers in areas where the US does not have enough skilled talent, but instead it is being used by large corporations to hire skilled foreign workers who will accept pay and conditions far worse than the equivalently skilled Americans (of which there are actually many) would. These companies are losing market cap because the market knows that their profits are being artificially propped up by the abuse of the H1-B program. It is quite possible of course that the corps would not make up for the labour difference by hiring locally, they would rather have less economic activity in the short term than pay better salaries (as that would have long-term consequences for their balance sheets)

    My feeling is that Trump is doing this for all the wrong reasons, but I'm not shedding any tears for the Fortune 500

    1. tekHedd


      I've just learned that these companies will lose millions of dollars in profit if they pay their skilled tech workers what they're worth. What message am I, an American tech worker, supposed to take away from that?

  10. RedneckMother

    getting tired...

    ... of all the winning.



  11. naive Silver badge


    I feel sorry for the billionaires and CEO's with 8 digit salaries to see their profits drop, since they can't get cheap H1B staff so easy to make them work extra long hours in order for their permits to be extended.

    This whining of the one-percenters has no relation with John Doe on the street, who gets shafted by the same billionaire cry babies.

    Perhaps these leeches can start returning something to the society where they made their fortunes, instead of just paying the big accountancy firms millions for legal tax evasion schemes ?.

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Boohoohoo

      They elected Donald once and they will try to again. He is scornful and vicious. He despises openly. He snarls and barks. He will make a pig’s breakfast of everything he touches, but here’s the thing everyone misses: educated elites will feel the hardship he causes more acutely than the millions of workers who have already adapted to pittance wages, dead-end careers, and chronic disrespect. They’ve endured two decades of it; they can cope. They’re betting that liberal snowflakes like me can’t.

      Trump will not be defeated by educating voters, by exposing his many foibles and inadequacies. Highlighting what’s wrong with him is futile; his supporters didn’t elect him because they mistook him for a competent administrator or a decent man. They’re angry, not stupid.

  12. CheneysLisp

    Racism is expensive

    He runs hotels. He already knows this.

  13. codejunky Silver badge


    Very good read of the success of the US economy under Trump-

    1. RLWatkins

      Re: Trump

      This article misses one important point: That list of successes are all claims made by the White House press office, most of which are false.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Trump


        "That list of successes are all claims made by the White House press office, most of which are false."

        Which one is false?

    2. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Trump

      Maybe ask El Reg just to link to all of Tim Worstall's propaganda... sorry opinion articles and save you some typing.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Trump


        Tim used to write for the reg. Lots of really good articles.

  14. conel

    Policy Based Evidence Making

    This "research report" is simply policy based evidence making.

  15. Sherrie Ludwig

    Never mind the corporations

    Corporations lost value? Cry me a river. The bigger problem is how many HEALTHCARE workers - doctors, specialists like respiratory technicians and ICU nurses, etc. are on these visas, and may have to leave, in the middle of a pandemic. They may never return.

  16. 9Rune5 Silver badge

    Because they need people, or because they do not want to pay them?

    A friend of mine was recently offered a job on the east coast.

    Only problem was that they looked at his Swedish salary and did not compare living costs. He would have to reduce his standard of living if he accepted their offer.

    Which makes me wonder if H-1B is more geared towards importing cheap labor rather than having to pay domestic Joes a decent wage?

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Because they need people, or because they do not want to pay them?

      "Which makes me wonder if H-1B is more geared towards importing cheap labor rather than having to pay domestic Joes a decent wage?"

      It's not always about the lowest wage. Somebody with a H-1B is a slave to the company. If they raise a fuss, they can be sacked and have to leave the country in short order. They can't quit unless they would like to return home immediately. This is a tremendous amount of leverage for an employer. In essence, it is cheap labor if the employer constantly requires overtime. They are supposed to pay comparable wages, but that's fungible. H-1B visa holders aren't rallying for social causes or agitating to bring the union in. They might possibly be able to bring a case with a labor board, but they'd still be required to leave the country to comply with their visa.

      1. CrackedNoggin

        Re: Because they need people, or because they do not want to pay them?

        That's exactly what is wrong with the current H-1B system. If the H1-B holders weren't trapped, they would switch to better employers. Instead of 5 years of bondage, change it 6 months. The advantages to employer of 5-year bondage would vanish, and the number of H1-B applications would plummet.

  17. six_tymes

    because you wouldn't want to keep as many jobs as possible for current citizens.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But how much stolen IP & support of the CCP has it but a stop to?

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