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Survey Methodology

Immigrant Scientists and Engineers

Survey Design
Trend Data
Availability of data

1. Overview
a. Purpose
SRS obtains information on immigrant scientists and engineers from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to understand the levels and trends in the immigration of scientists and engineers and to understand the characteristics of S&E immigrants. This type of information is useful in determining the Nation's immigration policy. The information in this data file supplements the information that SRS collects on foreign-born individuals educated in this country.

b. Respondents
This file is compiled from USCIS administrative records.

c. Key variables

2. Survey design
a. Target population and sample frame
The population for the FY 1994 file consisted of all individuals admitted to the United States on permanent visas during the fiscal year who classified themselves as scientists, engineers, or technicians. Those admitted may have entered this country on a permanent visa or may have already been in this country and changed their visa status from temporary to permanent. Note that individuals who identify their occupation as researcher, manager, teacher, or student are not included in the population definition used in creating this file.

b. Sample design
The S&E immigrant file includes all individuals identified by USCIS as being in the population.

c. Data collection techniques
Information is taken from USCIS administrative records.

d. Estimation techniques
Since data are taken from USCIS administrative records, no weighting techniques are needed in order to estimate population values.

e. Possible sources of error
(1) Sampling - All individuals identifying themselves to USCIS as scientists, engineers, or technicians are included, so there is no sampling error.

(2) Coverage - The major coverage problem is probably attributable to incorrect classification of individuals' occupations. Since individuals are not surveyed to verify their classification as in-scope or out-of-scope, the population may be either overcovered or undercovered.

(3) Unit nonresponse - Since this file is based on administrative records, unit nonresponse is not relevant.

(4) Item nonresponse - Since this file is based on administrative records, item nonresponse is not relevant.

(5) Measurement - When administrative records are used to create a data base, one is constrained by one's inability to design the data collection instrument to meet research needs. In particular, the occupational classification used in creating this file is not strictly comparable with occupational measures used in SRS or Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys.

3. Trend data
Trend data are available from 1968 on. Care needs to be taken in examining the trends due to changes in admission categories and in country definitions.

4. Availability of data
a. Publications
The data from this survey are published in Detailed Statistical Tables in the series Immigrant Scientists, Engineers and Technicians. The most recent report in this series (NSF 96-322) is for 1993.

Information from the immigrant scientist and engineer file is also included in Science and Engineering Indicators.

b. Electronic access
Microdata can be obtained in the form of a public use file prepared by the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, by contacting Mike Hoefer at the Office of Immigration Statistics (202-305-1594).

c. Contact for more information
Additional information about this survey can be obtained by contacting:

Mark Regets
Division of Science Resources Statistics, Room 965
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: (703) 292-7813
Internet: mregets@nsf.gov

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