Dazzling Knowledge

Monday, April 07, 2008

US needs to scrap visa program for skilled workers

Paranoia over immigration is causing America to shut it's borders to even the most skilled of foreign workers, workers we need to maintain our competitive edge in the global technology economy. Meanwhile, other countries are getting wise:

England recently scrapped its Byzantine work permit program in favor of a Canadian-style point system that will allow entry to some skilled workers even before they get a job. New Zealand has a remarkable program that gives accredited private companies fast-track access to work visas that they can hand to foreign workers along with a job offer. Australia is considering modifying its skilled visa program along similar lines.

Even more radical is the blue card program that the European Union proposed last year to bump up its skilled workforce by 20 million over 20 years. The card will admit not only skilled workers – but their entire families – and give spouses the legal right to work in all 27 EU countries within three months of applying. By contrast, the U.S. Congress recently questioned even a relatively modest suggestion by Bill Gates to raise or scrap the annual H-1B visa cap. Astoundingly, this cap was lowered to 1990 levels four years ago.

Whole WSJ article here.


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