The immigration-averse USA

By Felix Salmon
April 16, 2012
Ann Lee's op-ed on the EB-5 visa program, which is designed to give visas to people who invest at least $500,000 in the country and create at least ten jobs, is worth reading in conjunction with the WSJ excerpt from Kip Hawley's new book, explaining why and how TSA airport security is so broken.

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Ann Lee’s op-ed on the EB-5 visa program, which is designed to give visas to people who invest at least $500,000 in the country and create at least ten jobs, is worth reading in conjunction with the WSJ excerpt from Kip Hawley’s new book, explaining why and how TSA airport security is so broken.

As Reuters showed in an excellent report as long ago as December 2010, the EB-5 program is horribly broken, with the brunt of the pain being borne by people who have really done nothing wrong at all — immigrants who invested a lot of money in US businesses, and who created jobs, but who were then rejected by Customs when they applied for their green card. In our 2010 report, Reuters worked out that of 13,719 immigrant investors who tried to take part in the EB-5 program since 1990, just 3,127 ended up with green cards.

Anybody who’s ever applied for a US visa or green card will not be surprised, but at the same time it’s easy to see how the EB-5 program is never going to generate all that much investment in the US so long as stories like this continue.

Dozens of EB-5 immigrants have had their final residency applications denied because the businesses they invested in deviated from the plans filed with USCIS. These are the plans the immigrants must cite when they first apply for their conditional green card, using a form known as an I-526.

And it isn’t just businesses new to the program that are making mistakes, the analysis shows.

In a case earlier this year, an immigrant had invested in a partnership run by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and CanAm Enterprises, one of the biggest and oldest EB-5 companies. The partnership originally loaned money to a building materials company, which planned to use the funds to expand its warehouse and hire new workers.

But the downturn in the U.S. housing market stopped that expansion in its tracks, and the building materials company returned the loan. So the partnership, by unanimous resolution, decided to loan the money to a developer building an upscale steakhouse, which opened a few months later.

From a business perspective, it was a perfectly reasonable change of tack. But the switch jeopardized the applications of the immigrants who invested in the partnership. When one of them applied to get his permanent green card in 2008, USCIS denied the petition. When he appealed, USCIS’s administrative appeals office ruled against him.

Over the past year and a half, there has been a raft of such adverse “material change” rulings against immigrants. In some cases, the businesses insist they informally communicated the changes to USCIS personnel, who told them not to worry about them. The USCIS has rejected their appeals, saying: “the opinion of a single USCIS official is not binding and no USCIS officer has the authority to pre-adjudicate an immigrant-investor petition.”

It’s worth underlining that these rejections come after the investor has moved to the US and set up a new life here with their family. And once rejected, the investor has no choice but to leave the country.

The USCIS responded to the broken EB-5 system by announcing in May 2011 that it would be streamlined, including “the creation of new specialized intake teams with expertise in economic analysis”, as well as the ability to email the immigrant investors.

But here we are, a year later, and Lee is still saying that the government needs to “hire more business-savvy administrators and make the entire process more transparent” — essentially exactly what Secretary Napolitano has already announced. Lee’s also asking for penalties to be levied when brokers lie to would-be immigrant investors — something else which should be happening but isn’t.

Which is where Hawley comes in. He headed the Transportation Security Administration from July 2005 to January 2009, and has a pretty sophisticated view of what the agency should be doing.

The TSA’s job is to manage risk, not to enforce regulations. Terrorists are adaptive, and we need to be adaptive, too. Regulations are always playing catch-up, because terrorists design their plots around the loopholes.

I tried to follow these principles as the head of the TSA, and I believe that the agency made strides during my tenure. But I readily acknowledge my share of failures as well. I arrived in 2005 with naive notions of wrangling the organization into shape, only to discover the power of the TSA’s bureaucratic momentum…

By the time of my arrival, the agency was focused almost entirely on finding prohibited items. Constant positive reinforcement on finding items like lighters had turned our checkpoint operations into an Easter-egg hunt. When we ran a test, putting dummy bomb components near lighters in bags at checkpoints, officers caught the lighters, not the bomb parts.

I wanted to reduce the amount of time that officers spent searching for low-risk objects, but politics intervened at every turn. Lighters were untouchable, having been banned by an act of Congress. And despite the radically reduced risk that knives and box cutters presented in the post-9/11 world, allowing them back on board was considered too emotionally charged for the American public.

The passive voice here (“was considered”) is telling: even the head of the TSA can’t tell the TSA what to do. Instead, as in all large bureaucracies, there’s a way that things get done, and changing it is all but impossible.

Which says to me that for all the efforts by people like Napolitano and Lee to revamp the EB-5 system, they’re going to find doing so extremely difficult. Reuters found what immigration attorney Ira Kurzban calls “a basic hostility to the EB-5 program inside USCIS”, which is at heart a reflexive opposition to the idea that anybody can buy their way into the country. Despite the fact, of course, that the whole point of the EB-5 program is to enable exactly that.

Those of us who have had dealings with USCIS know that it is always looking for an excuse to say no: even people like me who get our green cards the “easy” way, by marrying a US citizen, find the process extremely fraught. No matter how much money I was earning, for instance, the USCIS would not let me have a green card unless my wife could demonstrate that she was earning enough, on her own, to support me. And a friend of mine, after marrying a US citizen and having two US children with her, actually got a notice of deportation at one point in his green card application saga, on the grounds that a certain piece of paperwork had been filed, years previously, a few days too late.

The TSA and the USCIS have grown, over the years, into agencies devoted to saying no. There’s very little downside, for these agencies, when they deport someone applying for a green card, or cause a mother to miss her flight because of a fight over breast milk. And it’s almost impossible to change that big-picture dynamic, no matter what Congress mandates, and no matter what the senior leadership in these organizations might want.

Which is why it makes sense to make skilled immigration as easy as possible. Resuscitate the Schumer-Lee bill giving a residency visa to anybody who spends at least $500,000 on a house here, except lower that number to $250,000, and make sure that the visa allows the homeowner to actually work and create jobs in this country. The less room there is for USCIS agents to say no, the more smoothly the program will run.

Will making immigration easier allow a few people into the country who weren’t the intended recipients of the bill’s generosity? Yes, of course. But all immigration is good for America. And with net migration from Mexico now down to zero, and the US economy desperately in need of entrepreneurial investment, now’s exactly the time to start opening our doors much wider.


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“But all immigration is good for America.” (F.S.)

Spoken like an immigrant, F.S.. The unemployed probably have a different opinion. Suspect many others do too.

Posted by MrRFox | Report as abusive

Yes, Felix, immigration is broken. And yes, having a strategic vision and plan for immigration is a really good idea. But your continued insistence on “Let’s give an easy path to people just like me” is just as wrongheaded as what we do currently.

We need more than just the rich; in fact, I would be happy to make the argument that the rich should be fairly far down the list. We need diversity, of race, income, and belief, and you’re simply going in completely the wrong direction in once again flogging this idea. Immigration is a multigenerational commitment, and we need the children and the children’s children more than we need those that actually arrive.

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive

Is this post about your hassles with the U.S. immigration service? Or is it about why we should make it easier for rich people to immigrate to the U.S.? As for all those green card refusals…maybe they couldn’t prove they “created” ten new jobs.

This post is a grievance looking for a vehicle to express itself — as evidenced by the rather farfetched link to the TSA: “The TSA and the USCIS have grown, over the years, into agencies devoted to saying no.”

“But all immigration is good for America.” Never has one of your posts less deserved this high-flown (if true) sentiment.

Posted by jbernar | Report as abusive

Good Lord, guys – given a choice between poor immigrants and wealty ones, why on earth would you want the poor? Don’t we have enough of them in the US already?

Giving the wealthy residency but not work permits makes some logical sense. Ading more unemployed to those we already have doesn’t.

Posted by MrRFox | Report as abusive

I married a foreign national. Getting her a green card in the 80′s was easy, but trying to get her citizenship in the 90′s was truly kafka-esque. We got forms marked “deliver in person”, traveled to where they were to be delivered, waited in line for four hours and were told “these must be mailed”, went home and mailed them and got the mail returned as “wrong address”, tried to call the phone numbers and they had been disconnected. The instructions, addresses, and telephone numbers on official documents were all incorrect! We gave up.

A few years ago we tried again. The fees were much higher but the process was easy and went off without a hitch.

Now as for work permits, I work in software and if we deported all our non-citizens tomorrow the entire tech industry would collapse. No wait.. it would relocate to wherever the workers went.

The problem is there are so many hoops for qualified workers to jump through to get permission to work here, that I think the system only benefits *large* employers who have staffs of lawyers and can offer “sponsorship” as partial compensation. At the same time, that effectively depresses wages for citizens (and green card holders who don’t need sponsorship). In fact, there are consulting firms that seem to specialize in bringing over workers on H1B and then paying below market salaries so they can underbid competitors staffed with permanent residents and citizens.

Yeah, I’m all for a simpler entry criteria. Somebody who buys a house here or graduates from a *good* university overseas — or from a good American university! — should just be allowed in. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot everytime we turn away somebody with skills, energy or cash.

Posted by bruce1963 | Report as abusive

MrRFox – No, no, no. My grandparents would never have been cleared through Ellis Island under that criteria. Remember that you’re not really admitting those who apply, you are admitting their descendents. It’s a crapshoot, and we’re simply limiting our options with just the rich.

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive

If it is true that “net migration from Mexico now down to zero”, how does it follow that “now’s exactly the time to start opening our doors much wider?” We have to absorb the costs that all those who migrated, both legally and illegally from Mexico and other countries that send the U.S. lots of undereducated laborers have imposed and will impose over time. And immigration from Mexico will probably spike once again once the economy starts expanding; it won’t stay at net zero for too long.

Posted by Strych09 | Report as abusive

@Strych09, the doors between the US and Mexico have been tightly shut in years… If the net migration is down to zero, that has as much to do with perceived opportunities for illegal immigrants here as with anything else.

@MrRFox, immigration is bad if you see people as liabilities. Immigration is good if you see people as assets.

I tend to see people as assets, doubly so for those with education, skills, and capital. I can more or less accept an argument that illegal immigration of people without skills or assets is bad for the US — especially since we have a homegrown surplus in that department. But it is very hard to extend that argument to ALL forms of immigration.

Besides, if we don’t permit immigration, who is going to live in all those houses that were built in the last decade? We certainly aren’t generating that kind of population growth internally.

P.S. You going to ask again if I’m Japanese? :)

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

“But all immigration is good for America.”

Felix, you are floating around so far into outer space, I wonder if you need to see a specialist!

American social capital is already pushing the zero bound, due to generations of immigrants that have yet to properly assimilate.

For example, we have so far been totally unable to assimilate you, Felix, who have yet no loyalty to this country, and even less understanding of its traditions and people. For instance, you said Americans should be *barred* from ever leading the World Bank a few posts ago, something no American would ever say. Of course you’ve also stated that you have no desire to put down roots anywhere.

I am married to an immigrant, it has been a number of years and we have three kids, but she has a long way to go before she begins to consider herself an American.

Felix, it took me a long time because at one level I am as much of a doe-eyed optimist as you, but I have since learned that people from different places are not interchangeable.

Immigration-averse? As if! We have, by a large margin, more immigrants that any other country on Earth. Official Britain has declared multiculturalism a failure and decided to clamp down. I am surprised you haven’t gone on tour for multiculturalism over there. Of course that would assume you had any loyalty to a country where you resided for many years, or any consistency.

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

“But all immigration is good for America.”

All you happy children, will the scales ever fall your eyes? ber/?NumberID=1184

According to a Pew survey, 82% of the public in each of Egypt and Pakistan favor stoning for adultery. I do not want to imagine stone after bloody stone bouncing off of President Clinton.

What about the death penalty for apostasy from Islam? 82% say yes in Egypt, 86 percent say yes in Jordan. Meanwhile, in more moderate Pakistan fully 24% said that if you leave Islam you should be allowed to live.

Democracy blossoms across the Middle East. Oh joy.

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

@DanHess – Felix doesn’t want multiculturalism; he just wants more people exactly like him.

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive

“American social capital is already pushing the zero bound, due to generations of immigrants that have yet to properly assimilate.”

@DanHess, are you talking about he Irish or the Italians here? I agree, it is awful the way they cling to the traditions and faith of their ancestors. If they come here, they should adopt a proper Lutheran attitude and learn to like sauerkraut!

If you are referring to other groups, I must admit puzzlement. But then, you may live in a region where that is a bigger concern?

I don’t know if the first generation (e.g. Felix) has ever fully assimilated, but in most cases their children do (while retaining some familiarity and attachment to their ancestral culture). Even true for those from the Middle East.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

I am nothing if not lazy, so here is a paste from Wikipedia on the work of Robert Putnam, who has documented American’s declining social capital.

begin paste

(article on Robert Putnam)

Diversity and trust within communities

In recent years, Putnam has been engaged in a comprehensive study of the relationship between trust within communities and their ethnic diversity. His conclusion based on over 40 cases and 30 000 people within the United States is that, other things being equal, more diversity in a community is associated with less trust both between and within ethnic groups. Although limited to American data, it puts into question both the contact hypothesis and conflict theory in inter-ethnic relations. According to conflict theory, distrust between the ethnic groups will rise with diversity, but not within a group. In contrast, contact theory proposes that distrust will decline as members of different ethnic groups get to know and interact with each other. Putnam describes people of all races, sex, socioeconomic statuses, and ages as “hunkering down,” avoiding engagement with their local community—both among different ethnic groups and within their own ethnic group. Even when controlling for income inequality and crime rates, two factors which conflict theory states should be the prime causal factors in declining inter-ethnic group trust, more diversity is still associated with less communal trust.

Lowered trust in areas with high diversity is also associated with:

Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.

Lower political efficacy – that is, confidence in one’s own influence.

Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.

Higher political advocacy, but lower expectations that it will bring about a desirable result.

Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).

Less likelihood of working on a community project.

Less likelihood of giving to charity or volunteering.

Fewer close friends and confidants.

Less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.

More time spent watching television and more agreement that “television is my most important form of entertainment”.

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

When we have fully invested in the education and well-being of US citizens, then we should open the immigration aperature. Not until then. We need Americans to be healthy, educated and working.

Posted by Dollared | Report as abusive

Americans increasingly vote according to tribal and ethnic groups and not based on issues. African Americans led the way, voting for many years at > 90% for one party irrespective of candidate. Other ethnic groups are becoming that way too. If people vote tribally rather than according to issues, democracy has ceased to have any productive function, but is just a tool of oppression and fighting by one group against another. Such is the case in of course in places such as Iraq, Libya and Egypt, but also in places as varied as South Africa and Venezuela.

I don’t remember where you live, TFF, but the America I know is unbelievably segregated and un-integrated, maybe more so than at any time in its history.
New York and Chicago take the cake, but my DC is in the running. explorer

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

Enormous Latin American immigration has been most devastating to the African American community, which has been badly displaced in areas ranging from the trades and construction to agriculture and farming to factory work. Felix Salmon may not know or care that African American communities have been just crushed, but I am bothered a lot by it.

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

DanHess, I don’t know if I can embrace your line of reasoning? I work in a Boston (private) school where no ethnic group comprises a majority of the population, where the students really don’t seem to care. I see integration and acceptance at work on a daily basis.

That said, I agree that the Latin American immigration has been mismanaged. At the very least, immigration needs to be kept within the law.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

TFF, you surely see a far better demographic teaching at a private school then you would in a different setting, no? My sister is a teacher at an inner city public school and she is literally a parent to many children who are very neglected.

We are getting by, but it isn’t pretty. Study this chart and tell me we are doing fine.  /2008/08/incarceration-rates-us-by-race .jpg

If you think the broad African American population is doing just fine I would have to vehemently disagree. One young man was already struggling before an unfortunate turn of events, and it would take a Jedi mind trick to believe that what you see below is healthy and vital youth. ily-caller-obtains-trayvon-martins-tweet s/

Keep in mind that the individual above seems to have been in the process of dropping out of high school, racking up multiple long suspensions for things like drugs, which would have put him in a category with a nearly 40% incarceration rate.

By certain measures we are handling our diversity orders of magnitude worse than aparteid South Africa had been.
“In the year 2006 there were 4,789 black males incarcerated for every 100,000 black males in the United States in comparison to South Africa’s apartheid 1993 levels at 873 black males incarcerated for every 100,00 black males.” pics/black-incarceration-rate-vs-us

Shouldn’t we do better by these people before taking on the massive challenge of further immigration, most of which is from the third world these days and in need of massive help?

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

@Curmudgeon – you wrote – “No, no, no. My grandparents would never have been cleared through Ellis Island under that criteria.”

Mine either, C – but that was then and this is now. When situations change policies have to change with them.

@TFF – you wrote – ” Immigration is good if you see people as assets. * I tend to see people as assets….”

Me too, and there are plenty of immigrant “assets” at Corcoran, Pelican Bay, Soleded and places like that, who are there for offenses that have nothing to do with immo status. Shrink from the responsibility if you must, but judgment must be exercised on this issue by somebody.

Posted by MrRFox | Report as abusive

As an ex L-1 and H1-B holder I share Bruce’s view of the Kafka-esque process.
Also, it is an obvious truism that TSA & USCIS just say “no”.

However, as unattractive a view as it might be, surely a rich immigrant is preferable to a poor one?

From the start the rich guy will spend more and invest more. His chances of “success” are simply far higher than someone without all the advantages that wealth brings.

There is a reason why London welcomes the non-Doms; just ask any property developer in Kensington and Chelsea.

Of course, if your aim is to reduce income inequality then you need to welcome immigrants with below median income/wealth.

But if you want to improve the state of the overall economy adding a whole trache of high-spending rich folk would give you a much needed shot in the arm…

If you let me sell up in the UK and buy a place in the US for $250k with a free green card, I promise you I will come over and spend like a sailor.

Posted by TinyTim1 | Report as abusive

DanHess: “We have, by a large margin, more immigrants that any other country on Earth.”

The relevant statistic is the percentage of foreign born residents, and by this metric the US is nowhere near the top, with 2009 figures showing 12.5% of US residents foreign born, a number that is dropping.

Compare with 21% for Switzerland (2008), 24% for Australia (2006), 20% for Canada (2006), 14% for Sweden (2010). Coincidentally or not, these 4 economies weathered the recent economic turbulence exceptionally well.

So the problem in the US is not the high level of immigrants, it’s the low levels of tolerance for immigrants.

(Some collated figures, some of them a bit old: ntries_by_foreign-born_population_in_200 5)

Posted by StefanG | Report as abusive

“TFF, you surely see a far better demographic teaching at a private school then you would in a different setting, no?”

Yes and no… The school charges $6k tuition, with substantial needs-based financial aid. We are truly a charitable organization, and many of our families are on public assistance of one kind or another.

“My sister is a teacher at an inner city public school and she is literally a parent to many children who are very neglected.”

We have some of that in common too, though in each case there is SOMEBODY in the family who cares enough to scrape together the money and enroll them.

“If you think the broad African American population is doing just fine I would have to vehemently disagree.”

DanHess, I never used the phrase “doing just fine”, so please do not put words in my mouth. What I said is that I believe the racial attitudes are healing, one generation at a time, at least here in the Northeast. Remember that the generation growing up today is the FIRST generation that wasn’t born into codified segregation and open racial war. And the attitudes you cite are a huge part of why I would never consider living south of the Mason-Dixon line. I’m not that much a glutton for punishment!

“Shouldn’t we do better by these people before taking on the massive challenge of further immigration, most of which is from the third world these days and in need of massive help?”

I see it as two separate questions, personally…

“Shrink from the responsibility if you must, but judgment must be exercised on this issue by somebody.”

Huh? Have you been drinking, Mr. Fox?

“So the problem in the US is not the high level of immigrants, it’s the low levels of tolerance for immigrants.”

Yes — but also the manner in which immigration has been handled. The US has turned a blind eye to illegal immigration while keeping tight quotes on legal immigration. The opposite policies would be more effective.

It is extremely unhealthy for a society to push otherwise hard-working and honest people outside the bounds of the law. Yes, I know, they aren’t supposed to be here. But they ARE here, and we aren’t about to change that. So find a way to bring them within the law!

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

@StefanG, I doubt it is coincidence…

At least some of those countries welcome immigration to feed a booming resource-driven economy. Obviously a healthy economy will suffer less in a recession.

As for the others, immigration drives population growth, and population growth drives many aspects of economic growth. Again, growth is the best cure for a recession.

Suggestions that we are down to “zero net immigration” are very scary. We are in deep economic doo-doo if that doesn’t change. Until now, it has been our primary advantage over Europe and Japan.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

Really Felix. Why do you think the US should sell itself cheap?

TO immigrate to the UK as an entrepenauer you have to

(1) have at least 200000 pounds ($31600+ ) AND

(2) enough money to support yourself while living in the UK

To immigrate to the UK as an investor, you have to

(1) have ability to invest £1,000,000 of your own money in the UK ($1,593,000+) OR

(2) have £2,000,000 ($3,200,000+) or more in personal assets, plus a loan of £1,000,000 or more for investment in the UK.

And that is YOUR country.

The UK wants a lot more than the piddling $500000 the US asks for from investors.

Posted by onthelake | Report as abusive

Hey onthelake,

“piddling” $500,000 > $316,000

The UK wants less.

Posted by TinyTim1 | Report as abusive

System is broken for sure; and not just in the USA.

I visited the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) Sheffield office early last year after meeting ALL official requirements for indefinite leave to remain in the country, and after supplying ALL officially required documentation; and sat there with my pregnant wife and infant daughter only to be told by a man in uniform sitting behind a bullet-proof glass screen that unless we supplied further documentation that wasn’t officially required and which we had already demonstrated was impossible for us to provide, my wife would be deported to Russia. He gave us a deadline of about two to four weeks (including unreliable postal service) to meet his IMPOSSIBLE additional requirements (absolutely not required by law), with the threat that my breast-feeding wife and infant daughter would be permanently separated from each other, and she would be separated from me by the UKBA (though legally married) if we failed to meet the requirements he was arbitrarily applying to our case according to his own whims and misconceptions of the rules. We tried to explain to him the ACTUAL rules as they applied to our case (which we had read thoroughly), but he just ignored us and literally spent 1/4 of the time interviewing us that we had been led to believe the UKBA would actually spend on our case, before moving on to the next case. We complained of course – and kicked up a fuss with our politicians (not the first time with the UKBA). Results of complaint? VISA granted but UKBA officer completely “exonerated” by internal investigation… Our word against his apparently, even though they had a zillion CCTV cameras and microphones pointing at us in their office!

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive

p.s. In addition to large amount of time spent gathering documentation and applying for that VISA in the first place, I lost another week (yes, a whole week) of work fixing the mess that the UKBA created without reason. And this was after meeting ALL legal requirements, doing EVERYTHING the fully legal way from day 1, and paying an extra $500USD approx. for the UKBA’s “premium” VISA application service.

It’s no wonder people try to get into the country illegally. Not that we would ever do that, mind.

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive

p.p.s. That UKBA officer I mentioned couldn’t even get our names right. Before dismissing us from his office, he hastily drafted an official letter to us, and put my wife’s maiden name at the top, even though we’d been married (with UK marriage certificate) and living in the country for two years already! Still, no apology from the UKBA for wasting our time.

If anyone’s wondering about the benefits of immigration in our case, my wife is a well qualified intelligent person who speaks perfect English. We are both principled and law-abiding people. Her presence here is a huge net positive for me, and by derivation from that and her service elsewhere, her presence is a huge net positive for the UK. But the authorities apparently don’t want it to happen – because of a political atmosphere created and sustained by the tabloid newspapers… Instead, they first let her into the country, and then threaten to break us apart after we have a family already, further threatening to put her under stress that could have caused her to miscarry our second child! Fortunately our children both arrived safely (no thanks to the UKBA).

My wife’s presence has boosted the UK economy and on balance has brought cash into the country, but they still make us pay about £3000GBP total plus lose months of time on an administrative goose-chase, for the privilege of doing them a favour!

Before visiting the UK at my invitation, my wife actually applied three times for a U.S. study visa (with willing and capable U.S. sponsors backing her up) and was refused three times without any explanation. So I apologise to you all that you missed out – she came here instead, at my invitation. We took our time and did things the legal way – and in the end, despite the UKBA’s obstinacy, we’re glad we did things the right way. They don’t have a legal leg to stand on if they want to break our family up now.

BTW I have heard of similar cases happening for people emigrating from the USA to the UK, or vice-versa. It’s not easy, even if you check ALL of the boxes…
Sorry for hijacking the thread. This story got me going a bit…

Posted by matthewslyman | Report as abusive

matthewslyman, thanks for the story!

Whatever the policies, it is healthy for all if they are transparent, consistent, and efficiently implemented. The INS is **THE WORST** bureaucracy in the US in this regard. Byzantine and arbitrary. Doesn’t sound like the UKBA is much better?

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive