Monday, March 20, 2006

An Immigration Crisis

I've been recently interacting with a fair number of graduating international students who have complained about the complexity and stress involved with visa transfers that would allow them to switch to a worker visa. The process was relatively simplified (relative being the key word!) during the booming '90s, but in a post-9/11 world, the restrictions are suffocating. A graduating student would, for example, have to guess when visa quotas for a given year might expire, and how long the process may take, and then try to graduate at the right time, assuming of course, that funding was available until that time.

This clearly is out of control. We cannot have a system where students are required to navigate these loopholes or retain a lawyer. In the end, the US will lose, as students will choose easier pastures. In the past, there were few such options, but in the present era of competitive globalization, penalties for excessive regulation will be severe!

Postscript: Looks like Bill Gates is in Washington trying to lobby for support to increase the cap for the number of foreign workers from 65,000, a number that was 3 times as high a few years ago. More on the Gates visit here

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