The Migration Policy Institute reports that foreign-born workers account for at least one quarter of employment in three major high skilled job groupings:
other sciences/engineering 24%
Of the state’s entire skilled workforce in 2008, 30% in California were foreign born, and 24% in New York.
But for many highly skilled foreign-born workers, the job market isn’t rosey. MPI also reported on the brain waste of highly educated immigrants working at jobs beneath their skill level. The main reasons: non-recognition of foreign academic and professional credentials and limited English proficiency.
MPI’s data (as I understand it) suggest that on the order of half of immigrants with a college degree earned outside the U.S. take jobs below their skill level. Among those foreign born who got their education in the U.S., a much higher share are employed in high skilled jobs.