Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bad Immigration Policy

I am not sure how I stand on the immigration reform currently being debated.

I lean, however, toward letting more people come into the country legally. There are a variety of reasons for this, but mostly I want to give as many people as possible the opportunity that this country offers.

Another really important reason for a more open immigration policy can be seen in my world of MBA education. At Tuck, we now have foreign students hired by US-based employers who did not receive an H1-B visa this year. That means they will have to use their optional practical training (OPT) visa, which gives them one year. They will have to re-apply next year for the H1-B, and they will have to be out of the country for a couple months in between the time the OPT expires and an H1-B is granted (assuming it is granted). Is it any wonder that US-based employers don't want to hire non-US graduates of the Tuck School?

Meanwhile the UK gives something like 5 years of work authorization for any MBAs from top programs (as determined by the UK government). No problem.

My worry is that companies, especially the very top employers such as investment banks, private equity funds, and consultancies, will migrate to a country like the UK so they have the pick of the world's best talent. The US will suffer as top companies leave. Is this one of the reasons why the City of London is increasingly the world's financial center?

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