The Brookings report recommends creating a national commission to advise Congress on changes that are needed in skills immigration program.
The Brookings study won't quell the debate over the use of the H-1B visas, about half of which go to people in computer occupations.
The report, for instance, doesn't weigh in over the use of the visa by companies whose primary mission is to move jobs offshore. It doesn't look at wages and what role they play in the geographic distribution.
The study authors acknowledge the debate over the visa use, and say the report's intent is to provide "a new way of looking at the high-skilled immigration issue by examining the demand for H-1B visas in U.S. regional economies."
"This demand is not necessarily evidence of a high-skilled labor shortage in the native labor force, it may reflect employers' preference to hire foreign workers, or it could be in response to skills shortages," the authors said.
The report, in assembling its charts showing regional use, relies on the Labor Condition Application (LCAs) reports that employers must file with the Labor Dept. as part of an H-1B approval process. The LCA data include geographies.
The H-1B demand for 2010-2011 Metro areas broke down this way:
New York-Northern New Jersey: 52,921, 16.3% share.
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana: 18,048, 5.5% share.
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont: 16,333, 5% share.
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara: 14,926, 4.6% share.
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria: 14,569, 4.5% share.
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL: 14,011, 4.3% share.
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy: 11,541, 3.5% share.
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