This is so excellent. I particularly appreciate the commitment to building a process to keep categories updated rather than relying on another singular push in ~15 years.

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Why not do away with most categories completely ? Just streamline the process and do not make USCIS/The State Department basically do the same over and over for the same person.

My husband got an H-1B, an H-1B extension, another H-1B, as well as an L-1 visa. Not to mention the four Green Card procedures - three of them cancelled halfway - in four different jurisdictions. The only ones profiting from this mess were the immigration lawyers.

But a significant overhaul will need an act of Congress.

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It can be done so much more simple. If you need a high level worker, issue him a Green Card. This means you can under current regulation ask for his police certificates - to rule out a criminal past - and a medical examination. Same for his spouse. Make the Green Card a conditional Green Card, that needs to be turned into a permanent one, if the worker makes his promises come true.

With a permanent Green Card the worker has the same rights and options as a US citizen when it comes to being an employee. He can no longer be used to force other workers to work more hours, take less income home.

With this schedule a Green Card could be issued in 6-9 months. It would save a lot of unnecessary action at USCIS and the State Department. It would also mean significant less stress and misery for the foreign worker. He would know after two years if his future is in the US or not. Going back to the home country would still a viable option re. a job search over there. For the wives of the workers it would make a difference comparable to heaven vs. hell.

But, why would you do something in a sensible way, if you can make it a bureaucratic nightmare ? Loved by civil servants and lawyers alike ! I speak from experience. How many work-bound immigrants has Ms. Nice talked to ?

What Ms. Nice proposes will probably bring in more foreign students, hoping to be able to stay here. But she forgets that many talented people have gone to foreign universities, worked abroad. That mix of different experiences is exactly what often makes foreign workers valuable. Especially when a co. builds products intended to be sold all over the world !

Interestingly, in this whole interview, the H-4 visa and the built-in cruelty of this visa, is never mentioned. Of course H-4's are mainly women, mostly from India. so who cares.

Edit: a need many US businesses have from time to time is again not addressed. Which is, a really short term work-visa (up to six months) for engineers etc. to implement a foreign product of piece of machinery. This is currently done, sometimes, on a restrictive and confusing B-1 in lieu of an H-1B visa, but more often these workers come on the Visa Waiver Program/ESTA. Easy-peasy for the foreign employer but dangerous for the worker, as he is the one that can be hit by penalties if it turns out the work is a real short-term job. A short term work-visa, quickly issued to eligible candidates, would be a real improvement.

Another idea would be to give foreign workers the option to turn an IRA or 401-k into an Individual Return Account by allowing them to take the money out tax-free and without penalties, when they indeed leave to return to their homeland. If you want people to "go back to where you came from" like I was invited to do so many times, the US should put money where the mouth is.

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