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America's immigration system is strangely unwelcoming to foreign entrepreneurs, even as other nations roll out the red carpet. America often leaves would-be immigrants in limbo for years. The country that gave the world McDonald's should understand that speed matters
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In my country is the same. I'm a chilean Journalist, and I was working in a top TV Channel Station earning US$600 a month...can you believe that?! And I also have friends in other countries that are living the I guess the problem is not just in the US, I think it is all around the world.
Vote for the new republican and it will be the end of America as we know it
Jeff Bailey
University grads in what fields?  The bay area is desperate for people with actual computer skills and medical skills.

What's ironic is that despite this shortage, it's quite difficult to get a green card.  I'm here on a temporary work visa working in tech and am starting the process for permanent residency.  The whole process seems designed to make me say "Fine, I'll go home after a few years and take my skills and money I've earned with me".
There is a lot of unnecessary bureaucratic red tape. I don't think the government is able to do things quickly and efficiently as it once did.
The point everyone is missing is that United States is actually ran by these people you call, alien immigrants. By funneling foreign immigrant entry to a minimum, you guys are keeping out all the revenue and added business that these entrepreneurs bring to this country. I need not state examples but look around, all major corporations that are fueling our current economy are the outcome of some foreigner who bloomed with his/her ideas.
So to limit immigration we must also expect a proportional decline in our presently decaying economic conditions.
With millions of people in the USA, from another viewpoint it  is like saying we have no entrepreneurs standing in the wings waiting to take centre stage.If that is the case and I dont believe that it is for there can be no need for immigration without  qualifications.Has a Great Nation that put man on the moon lost its vision?Lost its will ,the ability to create,to raise people up .Is it because of the dire financial world circumstances that holds people back? Does the USA need to recapture the American Dream?Does it lie resting, beneath ,asleep,waiting for its Prince Charmings to give a Kiss of life.?Is it not time for government to give even more encouragement to little seeds that may grow and achieve more jobs .The creators of wealth give benefits to all.It is written.Go forth and multiply.Dont hide your light under a bushel...As in life so in business.God Bless America.
No doubt America is a great country. I call it home and am proud of it.
When it comes down to the rain of technological advancements, we owe our gratitude to those individuals from around the world. I would like to think of America as a assembly line for those great ideologist minds but the current policies are rapidly destroying the fabric that we call prosperity.
We need to stop allowing in illegals who don't like or respect this great nation, but instead those who come to thrive and love this country for its unparalleled opportunity. We need to grant more visas, and tighten our borders( ahem... Arizona). But for some reason, this issue got all tangled up with racism and the importation of illegal liberal voters
Martin Bentley how could we hold blame against foreigners. I went through college in the United States and paid upwards of 80k for a bachelors degree where as US citizens get to pay maybe 30k for college fees if that. Not only do foreigners bring valuable dollars back to this country but they turn around and inject their intelligence into this great nation.
Now when it comes down to illegal immigrants, that chapter of our problems is full with side notes of our own ignorance to protect our border.
Great idea and opportunity for an immigrant, even an illegal one. Development a harvester, a fruit and vegetable harvester, similar in kind to the cotton combine. With this invention, we will no longer need illegals. Two problems solved.
+Martin Bentley , holy liberal! Okay, how to tackle this, I honestly have no idea where to start. I guess I should start with the whole saudi thing. Who brought them into this? Bush didn't take a dime from the saudis and how are they related to immigration anyway? As for bush, he was demonized for a war that was voted for by dems, and blamed for an economic collapse decades in the making, his bigges mistak was " abandoning free market principles to save the free market to save the free market", a very liberal move. He made moves and said things that were unpopular because he cared more about the nation than himself. On the issue of corruption it might interest you to know that your man Obama has had more fundraisers than H.W, Clinton, and Bush combined. Onto the republican voting, Not true at all that we're afraid of women, in fact it was your side that bashed anne romney saying she had done nothing with her life when she raised 5 boys and battled MS and breast cancer, (btw, romney is leading w/ women by 4%. As far as gays they have nothing to do with the race. Obama's little gay thing was simply political, and as far as I'm concerned gay marriage is a national issue not a state one and should be legalized following the precedent of the virginia case of interracial marriage. Just because you live in a state of hicks doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to marry someone you love. We care about our economy and getting back to what made this nation great, free enterprise. Now how did we get here from immigration? Btw, I respect you for getting the whole saudis vs. Saudi arabians thing right, people always mess that up, guess we all have our pet peeves
Seems like the paper is about comparing very complicate systems (countries) by choosing a single parameter and then making "global" conclusions, including polytical changes etc. That "way" is illustrative, intriguing, attracting attention,  though it may not be correct and deep... It is very hard to believe to an analysis which compares Australia and New Zealand  (who definitely need immigration flow, see the poulation there for example) and large countries immigration practices. It is funny when the plot shows percentage of visas and do not show absolute value. Etc. Rather strange paper from The Economist.
Man I'm getting tired of this stuff, what broken economic model!? It built
the greatest nation in the world along with the computer/phone/ipad you
used to type your post. Capitalism has been diluted and has given way to a
nation where only 50% pay taxes and 20% of taxes are paid by the top 1% of
earners. The economic collapse was ignited by fannie mae and freddi mac, a
liberal monster that went against the market. We now have an econonomic
system more progressive than denmark. Low taxes, low welfare worked for
reagan, clinton, and if you look at texas they havnt even felt the
financial collapse, due to their fiscal conservatism by their governor who
needs to talk aout that and shut up about social issues. There is no
evidence of corruption and excuse me if I want the leaders of tomorrow to
be those who are innovative, not social leeches. BTW, were talking about
work and education visas not immigration, and how we should be pulling in
the educated rather than todays immigrant who take $3 for every $1 they
It seems so strange to me that so many people who comment here, and I would assume read The Economist, know so little about how the American labor market works. I am not even sure where to begin here; but the bottom line is that illegal labor artificially lowers the costs of things here in the US, this make it harder for legal and illegal workers to earn a living wage and artificially inflates the value of earnings whilst simultaneously causing a whole class of people to be held in servitude - they are not legal but work here - resulting in a legal form of enslavement. If you think your life is not touched by illegal labor in the USA you are mistaken.

The real issue here is that immigration doesn't effect your average effect American's so there is no incentive for the government to fix it. If, for instance, lettuce suddenly tripled because farmers had to may living and legal wages, then Americans would notice and complain.

Our sensible neighbors to the north have this right (as usual) with their points system.

Remember we are facing crumbling roads, California just wanted it's people that there will be rolling blackouts this summer because of a failing grid, we take 15 years to build a single building, etc... this is a nation where nothing gets done anymore. Do not expect this to change anytime soon.

Rome is burning.
Actually the issue is bringing in less of those and more who love america
and take advantage of what it can give
Sorry, there was so much wrong, his closemindedness really was astounding.
He went right from immigration to bushhating, conspiracytheoryist,
americadeploring drivel
Entrepreneurs don't 'create jobs'. Demand does that, and demand is driven by all classes, but mostly by the middle class - large numbers of people with disposable income.

Sure, you still need someone to start the business, but those people just aren't as rare and precious as some would like you to believe.
Entrepreneurs create the supply, and supply follows close behind. And what
do they need for supply? Jobs
+Kelly Marshall - But they have an incentive to pay as little as possible - the ideal situation for an entrepreneur is for him to outsource his labour to the cheapest possible place, while all of his competitors pay the best wages possible to workers who are part of his customer base. Naturally it doesn't work out that way, because all the incentives are against it.

I always found supply side economics a weird idea. The way it's been described to me, it doesn't matter whether people have the money to buy the products produced, because if the  producer can't sell them they'll cut the price until it reaches a market clearing level. So even if you pay your employees peanuts, it won't matter because the goods they need to buy are so cheap.

Which sounds great in theory, as long as the companies in question can somehow trade at a loss indefinitely.
+Mohammed Bahari ,.you're exactly right, how dare he try to end the out of control spending that is giving us unprecedented debt
+ actually, on second thought, your respect for the usa prompts me to ask what specific actions would" end america as we know it"
Uh... You've got it kind of backwards there, supply side economics means
lowering taxes and government intervention to foster business and create
more revenue a la Reagan
No, we got here through spending, supply side worked whenever tried, the
bush tax cuts actually resulted in an increase in tax revenue from the
rich. That's why obama had the good sense to expend them
All other reasons aside, I'm an American and I can tell you the reason in general is that most Americans are under educated assholes with a rather unhealthy lack of respect and tolerance toward others
That's more of a global thing, we're kind of on the better side of things
actually, I wish the grass was greener on the other side
I agree Kelly but we have room for improvement
+Nathan Tableman You have a strange understanding of the word "artificial".  Anything that is forced to happen because of a law is by definition artificial.  If it happened naturally that way, you wouldn't need the law in the first place.  When you say "illegal labor artificially lowers the cost", you words are contradicting themselves.  Illegal labor naturally lowers the cost of things in the US.  But, the legality of the labor really has no bearing on the economic issue, so lets just say "Cheap labor lowers the cost of goods in the US" and move on.

You claim that this cheap labor does three things:
1)Makes it hard for workers to earn a "living wage"
2)Artificially inflates the value of earnings
3)Creates an enslaved class of people

On point (1), the idea of a "living wage" is nebulous at best, and is an idea that is kicked around in pompous academic circles as a time-wasting pontification, largely influenced by what the individual defines as an acceptable living condition for themselves.  The reality is much simpler.  If a worker finds the compensation acceptable, they will take the job, if they don't, they won't.  This is what a natural market is.

On point (2), in what way can cheap labor possibly inflate the value of earnings?  This is not tied to the value of labor in the slightest.  It is completely tied to a corporate decision to not pass on the savings from labor to the end customer, and can only happen in a government created false economic infrastructure of tariffs, penalties, and regulations that favor certain corporations and industries at the expense of others.  If not for this, true competition would force such companies to pass on these savings.

On point (3), the enslaved class of people you speak of is not caused by cheap labor (or illegal immigration).  It is the result, again, of government meddling in the lives of every human being within its borders.  Government requirements,  regulations, and taxes have created entire industries of unproductive people whose only purpose is to help other people comply with all of the mandates.  Despite this, people who naturally excel will excel.  People who don't, won't.  Capable people always find their way out of this type of "enslavement".

Yes, Americans would complain if the cost of lettuce tripled.  But what is it they would be complaining about?  Illegal immigration?  Hardly.  They would be complaining because it is plain to see that a head of lettuce is simply not worth ~$6.  They would be complaining about the government mandated policies that cause lettuce to be that expensive.

Minimum wage is an abomination in a free market economy.  It kills jobs, it eliminates opportunity, it creates false expectations that lead to ideas like the concept of a "living wage".  Yes, Rome is burning, but it is not because of immigration.  In fact, the lack of immigration control/enforcement will help this crumbling country successfully stay alive just that much longer.
Investors don't have a particular nationality. They stay wherever they get a profit from their investments. They are vital to any country's economy as they inject cash directly into the system. USA should rethink its immigration policies if it wants to move forward.
No argument, especially on the uneducated part, we need to be more informed
and not get our political views from Rolling Stone, Daily Show, Cosmo etc.
So we can actually defend ourselves
+Kelly Marshall We 'got here' through the sale of questionable derivatives creating a housing and finance bubble. Government spending has little to do with the current economic crisis, except that the recession makes it harder to raise tax revenue.
maybe they want to protect them form the slew of lawsuits which usually follow any new emerging business. it's just keeping an eye out for them, i'm sure.
This article conflicts with my own experience and strikes me as a point-of-view seeking support. (In my opinion, disappointing and unusually inaccurate for the Economist.) A casual online search will reveal that the EB-5 investment visa program requires only a $500,000 investment in rural or high unemployment areas. (My home is in the rural state of Vermont, where EB-5 visas have been very successful. Much of California qualifies as a high unemployment area.) I would refer the author(s) to US Senator Patrick Leahy for more information on this program, which compares favorably to that of several others cited in the article.

My second point of disagreement is on the assumption that refusing entrepreneurs assistance is based on their national origin. Most smaller US companies, and in particular start ups, are facing challenges when dealing with federal or state officials these days. Government budgets have been slashed and there simply is not enough money or staff to meet the demand. Government officials are also pressured to reduce financing risk exposure, and I believe most of your readers would agree that all other things being equal, someone without a permanent visa to stay in the country where his/her business is being established is a higher risk than someone who has citizenship or a green card. But perhaps, dear editor, your objective in writing this article was to stir up controversy rather than inform?
+Cyrus Manz I have a lot of trouble having any sympathy for a reduction in life lifestyle in the US.  If you buy products that  are made with cheap labour outside of your country, you deserve to lose those jobs and that money to another country.  Every time an American shops at Target, Walmart, dollar stores, etc., they contribute to this decline.

At some point y'all need to choose to stop the bleed and to not have things rather than have cheap things.
america is in the center of dealing with an economic downfall so they have a lot of stuff to deal with. it will take eventual time for america to recuperate from the economic business stuff.
well if ever thing is so cheap then why would it be a job problem if you need less money. yah i know thats not how the economy works, but realy could you get domestic jobs or make better products. look at japan they make very very expensive products now they are at the top. china is willing to work cheap, now look at them they're at the top
Canada rules!

+++ if agree
+Andrew D The only reason Canada hasn't fallen prey to this same thing is because the Americans hand us money for oil and other natural resources giving us the generous end of a severe trade imbalance.  I love my home country, but don't give our people and politicians more credit than we deserve. =(

There are two sane models, and two insane models:


1) Balanced trade with other nations.
2) Keep everything within our borders.


3) Export lots and be on the happy side of trade imbalances.
4) Import lots and be on the unhappy side of trade imbalances.

Canada is #3, and we're at risk that when the US tanks, it takes us with it because of how unequal the relationship is.

The US is #4 and it desperately propping the economy up with non-renewable solutions involving military, fossil fuels, etc.

We can fix this, but it means changing our lives, and dramatically.  We have enough natural resources in North America that there's no reason for us to live in poverty and no reason for there to enough not be enough work.  We need to live within our means and support ourselves first.
My thing about this is that. American can't take care off their owe kind before they try to take care of other.
My uncle went back to Vietnam some years ago. He met and married there. Now he wants to move home with my aunt. Btw she is a very nice hard working lady. The imigration is giving them so much red tape to get here here. So far it's been 2 years , and they won't give her a green card. Yet people from the south, or from other countries via the North can get in just fine, and abuse our hospitality and tax money.
I understand. People that try to do the right thing can't never get
ahead,but the other just about get away with everything.
The whole immigration system is fucked no matter what part you look at and all anybody in our govt. and our people want to do is loosen the belt... it, along with the school loan programs are going to trash this great nation.
Because man made the proble. And now they don't know how to fix it, they
aré only. Making it wores .
But what if they have a different skin tone compared to mine? WE CAN'T HAVE THAT!
No comment on the skin tone. As long as some one has the heart, and is willing to produce, and be a true member of their new county. I'm all for it. As long as they go about it the right way.
Sarcasm is difficult to convey via text.
The US was made strong, and became a world leader, largely by accepting and embracing their immigrants.  Since 9/11 for certain, and probably before then, the US has shrunk into itself, scared of what's outside, and trying to control everything inside and outside its borders, through espionage and surveillance, violence against their own citizens and foreigners, and controls on who can enter their nation like never before.  I'd like to see the US get better, but until you can let go of the fear, and need to control everything around you, you're doomed to move further and further from true leadership in the world (as you continue to alienate the parts of the world that aren't too scared, or aren't taking advantage of you).
+Martin Bentley , Wow I was just bowled over by your facts and how you addressed my points. You completely epitomized what's wrong with a liberal. and to address your points,
 1. people have views, just because I don't believe a conspiracy which you've provided zero, count 'em, zero facts to support, doesn't make me too stupid to deal with, just like I didn't call you stupid for not taking into account anything I said. This is a discussion, not a playground, namecalling may make you feel like a big man, but it won't prove your point
2. Wow, called me an idiot again, look I'm sorry if I offended you, but honestly, it wasn't because you didn't go along with the "GOP sheep" it was because you expressed views that aligned with liberal thinking, this is where I'll concede that you may be right because it's honestly not a big deal, not big enough of a deal to make me an idiot
3. Fox news, how inevitable, something tells me you've never seen it. And let me say that yes there is Beck and Hannity, but after that it's pretty much a fair place. It's the most watch cable news channel and it should be. It doesn't attract the radical occasionally communist (yes, I do mean that and know what it means, shockingly) crowd that CNN, NBC, and Abc does. While FOX has been untouchable on anything of reason (Honestly, what have they done, give me some cold hard examples) the lib media has excluded stories on Fast and Furious, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Paul Ryan's budget suggestions, and the victory in Iraq.
So I'd really like to ask 2 questions:
Give some examples of Bush's mistakes, something with actual fact behind it.
How did you react to any of what I've said previously, does it shake you a little, make you feel scared, because you haven't countered any of it.
I tried to be respectful, you turned this into a pointless personal namecalling affair
You're a sharp guy, but a little misinformed, Bain capital really saved jobs by fixing companies that would've gone under
The US is failing to take advantage of people. People mean money not only as providers or slaves but as a consumers as well. The failure comes from the government and an economic system that doesnt work.
Cyrus, I didn't realize that I was arguing with anyone.  I posted a comment on the original article, not on all of the rest of the discussion.  Not sure what's boring or counter-productive about my comments - I've added a preamble so I hope that you're titillated and invigorated.
they only want to get what they want but in return they are sometimes unfair..
+Ram Singh 20 million that u cannot name or count but they collect benefits huh?? I wonder how in a hell they can do that if they are all illegal?? Are we talkning facts here...or we just playing ignorant Mr Ram???
+Cyrus Manz Yep.  I certainly didn't vote for Harper. =)

Remember when 'Conservative' actually meant conserving things?
Once again, another highly opinionated article trying to slam the US for not taking in just anyone from another country that has an "idea"  If it were so freaking hard to get into this country legally we wouldn't have all of the legal immigrants that we have, some with little to no skills/work history.  If you feel so badly for these people, then why don't you give them your paycheck.  I mean seriously, if this guy is on his second start-up in Chiie, well he must be a trillionare by now. 
+Malcolm Sell Many of us are here already earning a paycheque and paying taxes.  By not making it easy to get a green card to say, the US makes it clear that it would rather we take what we've learned and earned and set up shop somewhere else.
+Jeff Bailey I have worked with many people from many different countries and they have not had any problems obtaining a green card and several have gotten their citizenship.  It may be more of a regional thing, but I know One Hatain that I worked with got his green card after being here for 30 days.  I had considered moving to Canada at one point in my life, it was going to be a 3 year wait just to get a green card.
+Malcolm Sell We don't have green cards, but I think you generically mean permanent residency.  In which case, yes, 3 years sounds about right.  However, most people will find that they can work in the meantime if they're covered by NAFTA, a student visa, an under-25 youth visa, etc.  There's usually a way to legally get work while waiting the 3 years so that you can stay.
Woah that is a race card, so I assume you disliked herman cain for being
black? No, because you didn't agree with his views. His race has nothing to
do with anything and has been brought up far too many times. And as far as
mcconell, his whole point is that getting rid of obama will bring us jobs,
national sovereignty etc. And for crying out loud why is it that you take
some quote and exaggerate it yet when when obama says there are 57 states
or reads an entire speech from the wrong teleprompter noone bats an eye
Surprised at the low quality of these comments. Lots of trolling, politics, insults, passive aggressive behavior, and other behavior unbecoming to a productive conversation. And btw, those of you who pretend to have an economic background are easily identifiable by those who do. The singe micro econ class, and the 5 minutes you spent on wikipedia don't qualify you as an expert.
Politicians, in both parties, are responsible for our Trillion-$-debt problem, and sticking to a budget is the only solution. Sure, we can spend to speed up the economy, but unless there is a post-spend budget, nothing will change. It is simply modern money mechanics...
The number of visas should be increased both for entrepreneurs and for people with advanced degrees. We let so many foreigners come here for their education, then we kick them out as soon as their done! What a waste of resources!
IN other words its useless to take and pursue an education where in fact most people are in one way or the achieve their goals just to finished 
Solyndra showed entrepreneurs that it's good to have friends in high places, even if your idea is unsustainable and needs artificial props.  To any one else, you're tough out of luck.  I honestly wish to be optimistic about the U.S.'s future, but this is not a good trend.

As for Canada and Chile, good for you folks!  Hopefully forward-thinking nations like these will get mine to reform its sclerotic and cruel immigration system.
Launching soon a new technology accelerator in Brazil, I must say.. it can get much worse than what goes on in the US :)
for those who are LEGAL IMMIGRANTS to the USA,from countries run by tyrants and/or dictators,socialists,WELCOME ,to a country now being run by a wannabe socialist dictator.
The whole outsourcing thing is my point, we need to stop this not increase taxes, you just made the point for supply side economics. We need to create a welcome environment for job Creators not demonizing them as our president has done. And yes supply side does make sense because it allows job creators to up the economy with less growth strangling taxes and regulations
+Nathan Tableman you may want to sit down for this one with you glorification of the illegal. You can immigrate... LEGALLY!! wild stuff
+Peter Bensley guess who mandated that those risky loans be made and interfered with the free market? The government. Case in point.
+Martin Bentley , looks like the truth can know you off your highhorse. I honestly am not sure whether you've had your beliefs shaken, or if you've completely mastered Orwellian Doublethink and have complete disregard for it.
Lucky are those who are in,and some better luck yourself...
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