Global Experience Proves There Is No Perfect Immigration Policy

Ann All

In late 2007, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett wrote an angry op-ed piece in which he lambasted the U.S. government for its inaction on immigration reform and lauded the European Union for its proposed Blue Card, a renewable two-year visa that would in theory make it easier for foreign workers to seek work in EU countries.

 

The key words are "in theory." The card is still just a proposal -- and one that many experts feel has little chance of adoption. Granted, most U.S. lawmakers seem more interested in avoiding the issue than addressing it. But that doesn't mean, as Barrett implies, that other countries are ahead of the United States in their efforts to craft immigration policies that protect the rights of native-born workers while attracting the right mix of skilled workers. Other countries are grappling with immigration policies as well.

 

The United Kingdom just introduced a point-based system designed to attract a higher caliber of immigrants, reports BBC News.

 

Though the government says that the number of skilled workers from outside the 30-country European Economic Area (EEA) would have been reduced by 12 percent in 2007, some folks have doubts and object to the fact that the plan includes no specific caps on immigrant numbers. Says Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK:

The government's claim that their new points-based system will result in lower levels of immigration is pure spin. The scheme has no limits and, in fact, will probably result in even higher levels of immigration.
Before entering the U.K., immigrants will be required to meet criteria such as possessing certain employment qualifications, according to Reuters UK. All non-EEA residents seeking to enter the country must first demonstrate proficiency in English.

 

British companies seeking to employ skilled workers such as engineers must prove they cannot find employees with the appropriate skills in the U.K. before expanding their recruitment efforts overseas. (A similar requirement for employers was part of the H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, introduced last year by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin.)


 

Although the U.K.'s point-based system was reportedly modeled on Australia's, that country is trying to streamline its immigration process because of a backlog in applications for skilled-immigration visas, reports The Australian. Immigration Minister Chris Evans recently signed off on establishing dedicated centers of excellence in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth -- top destinations for many visa holders -- aimed at expediting skilled visa applications.

 

Australia is also considering creating an accreditation system for companies that regularly employ workers holding 457 visas, which sound similar to H-1B visas in the United States. According to the story, about 20 percent of Australian companies employ some 75 percent of foreign workers.

 

Meanwhile, Canada also is considering a proposal to fast-track visa applications. It would allow immigration officials to prioritize visa applications based on desired job skills rather than following the current policy of processing them on a first-come, first-served basis, as detailed in this Canada.com story. Some Canadian lawmakers suggest the new proposal would be used to curtail the number of immigrants admitted under the "family class," which new immigrants often use to bring family members to Canada. At least two of Canada's political parties, the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, oppose the proposal.

 

Immigration Minister Diane Finley says Australia and New Zealand process immigration applications in as little as six months, compared to a waiting period of more than six years in Canada. She predicts the waiting time could increase to 10 years by 2012 if legislative action isn't taken. She says:

We're facing real and serious international competition for the talents and skills that we need to fill the jobs that are waiting to be filled here in Canada.
Sound familiar?



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 7, 2008 12:11 PM Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD  says:
I will only dwell on the other side of the policies. Not the right but what has the wrong given us. The $200 barrel of oil?I read the following and I think we are crazy. Reason. We do not give the right pay back to those to who dig the black gold for us. We want them to work day and night but pat a paltry sum. Look at the Niger. What is the pay to the oil digger and BP, Shell, or any Petroleum country that repeals, to officially end the validity of something such as a law, the millions in more holes to dig and pay lesser then yesterdays? Why? Then we complain of the pipes sabotages. Supplies of oil have now climbed a total of 11.9 million barrels over the past three weeks, according to the government data. Separately, the American Petroleum Institute reported that crude supplies were up 621,000 barrels at 320.4 million. "This report is bearish, although it remains uncertain how much this report will influence prices given the ebullient sentiment in the oil market," said Chris Lafakis, an associate economist at Moody's Economy.com, in a weekly report released after the data. Motor gasoline supplies climbed 800,000 barrels to 211.9 million barrels last week, EIA said, and distillate stocks were down 100,000 barrels at 105.7 million barrels. Motor gasoline supplies were up 1.4 million barrels in the latest week, at 211.9 million barrels, according to the API. Distillate supplies fell by 1.3 million barrels to 109.7 million, the API said. Weak refinery activityThe decline in distillates came as refinery utilization fell to 85.0% of capacity from 85.4% a week ago, the EIA data showed. "Refinery activity remains weak due to spring maintenance and a lack of refiner pricing power," said Lafakis. "Refinery activity will remain below 90% for the foreseeable future as domestic gasoline demand remains weak." Over the last four weeks, demand for motor gasoline has averaged almost 9.3 million barrels per day, up 0.3% from the same period a year ago, the EIA reported Wednesday. Against this backdrop, June reformulated gasoline was at $3.09 a gallon, down 2 cents, and June heating oil gained 3 cents to $3.38 a gallon. Prices for crude oil have been hovering around $122 against a backdrop of disruptions to oil production in Nigeria. A rebel group operating in the African nation said Sunday it was responsible for an attack on a Shell oil-flow station in Niger delta area, causing some oil production to be shut down. On the currency markets, the dollar strengthened its gains Wednesday after U.S. productivity showed a 2.2% annual growth rate in the first quarter, exceeding the expectations of economists. Recent weakness in the dollar has provided a lift to oil, which is traded in dollars. The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other currencies, rose 0.7% to 73.52. Rounding out the early action in energy trading, June natural gas futures rose 13 cents to $11.29 per million British thermal units. The EIA will release an update on natural-gas inventories Thursday morning. Analysts at Global Insight expect the report to show that supplies rose 76 billion cubic feet for the week ended May 2. Elsewhere on the commodity markets, gold futures fell sharply. We have choice. Pay the ones who go down under to look for the oil, bake themselves in the sun, I doubt if the drilling machines are in the air-conditioned offices and give them encouragements. The low pay, less food will break the pipes and loot the oil reroute. Oil WILL NOT GO ABOVE 150. All are very poor now, the employer and the employees. I thank youFirozali A. Mulla MBA PhDP.O.Box 6044Dar-Es-SalaamTanzaniaEast Africa Reply

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