Fareed Zakaria just introduced me to another pair of interesting ideas: the ease with which I could legally live outside the United States, and the artificial hurdles the United States puts up to expanding our skilled and educated workforce.
When we lived in Germany in 2005, we had to come back from that great experience earlier than I would have liked because we couldn’t get long-term legal status. We looked into the possibility of getting legal status in other European countries, but all of them built their requirements on close family connections. While this makes some sense, it’s not really a system designed for the future economy, is it?
Of course, I’m lucky that I don’t have to worry about trying to get into the USA. Our immigration policy is just a mess, I’m glad I don’t have to navigate it, and it’s not designed to build our economy, either.
And then there’s Canada.
As Zakaria writes, the Canadians just keep doing things right. I guess it comes from the same wellspring of common sense that led them to be the only country “in the industrialized world (that) has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors.” Here’s what Zakaria writes about Canada’s much more sensible immigration policy:
The U.S. currently has a brain-dead immigration system. We issue a small number of work visas and green cards, turning away from our shores thousands of talented students who want to stay and work here. Canada, by contrast, has no limit on the number of skilled migrants who can move to the country. They can apply on their own for a Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, which allows them to become perfectly legal “permanent residents” in Canada-no need for a sponsoring employer, or even a job. Visas are awarded based on education level, work experience, age and language abilities. If a prospective immigrant earns 67 points out of 100 total (holding a Ph.D. is worth 25 points, for instance), he or she can become a full-time, legal resident of Canada.
Doesn’t this just make sense? I just took the test, and we could live in Canada. Our combination of education, work experience, English language skills, and age puts us at 76 points on their scale. So, we are eligible to move to Canada because we would help their economy.
This just makes sense.
Unfortunately for the United States, our policies are such that Microsoft had to open up a research facility in Vancouver, BC, to accommodate the skilled and educated workers from India and China who wanted to help us build our economy, but who we wouldn’t let in. Why is this, exactly?