Friday, April 21, 2006

The Quiet Canadian

One of the more frustrating things about the current immigration controversy in the US is the complete lack of attention given to skilled, educated immigrants. Most, such as myself, are here on H1-B visas, which are good for 3+3 years, and then not available for renewal after the second three year period. The government has recently cut the number of these issued to 55,000 per year. So my question, echoed here by Ilya Shapiro, is why every proposal being made in Congress and the White House offers options for unskilled workers to obtain permanent resident status when their visas expire, with further possibilities for full citizenship later, when the same courtesy is not offered to skilled workers. In all likelihood I plan on returning to Canada at some point - but I'd prefer to have that decision come because of what my home country means to me and the job and lifestyle opportunities that exist there, rather than because I'll be forced out of the US because my visa expires. The complaints (which are mostly illegitimate ones, anyway) about illegal immigrants don't typically apply to skilled workers, yet nobody is offering proposals that will make it easier for them to stay in the country, despite what they have to offer. In some way, the fact that this gets so little attention makes leaving more appealing as it doesn't really seem like we're wanted, anyway - except by the companies that hire us.


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