Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Virtual Immigration

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Virtual Immigration

Article excerpt

From 1996 to 2008, immigration to the United States rose about 68 percent. Although this statistic represents strong growth, it appears that a much newer phenomenon--virtual immigration--has been increasing substantially faster. Virtual immigration is similar to physical immigration in that tasks are done by people from other countries; the difference is that it is the work--not the worker--that moves when virtual immigration occurs. One example is a bookkeeper in India who creates a report of financial data for a company in the United States.

"Labor Market Globalization in the Recession and Beyond" is an article by W. Michael Cox, Richard Alm, and Justyna Dymerska (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Economic Letter, December 2009) that discusses virtual immigration before and during the recession that started in December 2007. The article explains that there are no nations that measure virtual immigration explicitly. However, there are numerous data which indicate that virtual immigration has increased rapidly. For example, about two-thirds of the categories of imports and exports tracked by the Department of Commerce are categories that are likely to include strong concentrations of virtual immigrants, and U.S. imports and exports in these categories climbed by 180 percent from 1998 to 2008. According to the article, the growth of data transmission capacity to the point at which large quantities of information can be uploaded and downloaded has made a great difference in the amount of virtual immigration in recent years. …

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