An employee uses a headset to speak to a customer at a call center servicing Xiaomi Corp. in Bengaluru, India.

The controversial H-1B visa program, widely criticized for costing American workers their jobs, has actually provided economic benefits for both the U.S. and India, according to a new study from researchers at the Center for Global Development and the University of Michigan.

The combined incomes for the two countries as a result of the U.S. visa program rose by about $17.3 billion or 0.36 percent, and the total IT output from both countries rose by about 0.45 percent in 2010, say researchers Gaurav Khanna of the Center for Global Development and Nicolas Morales at the University of Michigan. While recognizing negative repercussions for some workers, the study said that on the whole U.S.-born employees were wealthier by about $431 million in 2010 because of the program.

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