20 February 2013

So You Want to Work in the United States?

Just move to Luxembourg, Monaco, or Vatican City first...
I came across some information today* about a rather strange wrinkle in United States immigration law.  Leaving aside all the sub-programs for work specific visas it seems that the number of work visas available for people wishing to enter the United States is the same for every country of origin.

Every country of origin, regardless of size....that's right, the same number of visas to enter the US to work for people from the smallest countries as there are granted to people from the largest.  It would suggest then that the path for an Indian or Chinese citizen wishing to immigrate to the US would be to first immigrate to Tuvalu or a similarly tiny nation.   

I was aware that there were thousands of visas going unused each year, while hundreds of thousands of potential immigrants (mostly from Mexico and Asia) continue to wait in line.  This goes part of the way to explaining why.  Given that our current economic climate is one in which we desperately need economic growth, especially growth in employment markets, new blood, new ideas and new work ethic that can be brought by an influx of immigrants cannot help but be a good thing**.  I know that the current administration is targeting changes in immigration law, it would seem that getting rid of the caps based upon country of origin without considering population would be a logical move.  

*This information came from a  fairly reputable source, however I have been unable to verify it from a quick internet search.  If anyone happens to have navigated Home Land Security's site deep enough to verify this, or know where I can, I would appreciate it.

**  This sentence is written largely to fire up people who continue to argue that immigrants "steal" jobs from "hard working" Americans.  I intentionally did not argue the point well or back it up with data as I am hoping to start a fight with a certain college of mine whom I know reads my work.

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