The Trials And Tribulations Of Highly Educated Immigrants

In today's global economy, for the US to remain a leader in education, the arts, sciences, and business, it needs to be able to recruit the best and the brightest. In a world no longer constrained by national borders, recruiting top talent necessarily entails an ability to attract the highly educated and highly skilled from abroad. Fortunately, US Immigration law permits this type of recruitment and hiring. In fact, the law has long favored highly educated and highly skilled foreign nationals; these individuals should be able to obtain a "green card" or lawful permanent residence with relative ease.

While the statutory scheme is intended to permit the entry of top foreign talent into our labor force, the way the law is currently administered has just the opposite effect- instead it deprives the country of the outstanding and talented foreign nationals. There are two major administrative roadblocks: numerical limitations on the number of green cards available and inconsistent and often confounding adjudication of petitions by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Employment-based immigration is subject to a numerical limitation of approximately 140,000 immigrant visas per year. This is quite low relative to the demand, and results is inordinate delay (as much as 9 years) in the processing of visas. As for the problems raised by adjudication, real-life stories of people caught up in our system are the best way to illustrate the realities of what immigrants face and just how discouraging it can be. What follows are five such stories:

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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