Sunday, May 15

Thank God for the Iraq War

Buried deep within the latest appropriations bill for the Iraq war was a secret piece of legislation creating a new visa category. The E-3 visa is a new work visa especially for Australians. It's just like a H1-B visa but better (it can be renewed indefinitely, should be cheaper, and allows spouses to work). There will be a staggering 10,500 available every single year. This compares to 65,000 H1-B visas currently available for the entire world.

I'm curious about the public policy behind this legislation from the Australian perspective. Australian companies in the US will find it easier to bring workers to the US and expand but, at the same time, there are so many of these visas available that it will probably exacerbate Australia's brain drain. Ultimately, the US will be the winner as thousands of Australia's best educated folks move here.

Australian lobbyists for the legislation kept it quiet so anti-immigration folks wouldn't get a chance to oppose it. Then they managed to get the visa provisions into a big war appropriations bill where it was passed without any debate at all. Democracy at work.

If I ever use one of these visas I'll feel like a war profiteer.