Play Video

How Bureaucracy Stifles High-Skilled Immigration

Barriers to Attracting Talented Work from Across the Globe

February 2023

Script

Nearly 80% of Americans want high-skilled immigrants to come to the United States.i

One problem: The U.S. makes that process very difficult, especially compared to other countries.

A recent study found it typically takes nearly 2 1/2 years for an immigrant with “exceptional abilities” to get permanent residency in the U.S.ii

The numbers in other wealthy nations?iii

Canada = 15 months

Australia = 2 1/2 months

In the United Kingdom, a special priority service can complete the process in just 2 days.

Why is the U.S. so much slower?

Factors include complicated paperwork requirements for applicants, a huge backlog of applications, and an outdated system in which most forms can’t even be filed online.

There are also big regional differences.

A permanent residency application usually takes about 7 1/2 months to be processed in Salt Lake City but about 2 1/2 years in Baltimore.iv

As a result of these delays, the U.S. has developed a huge bottleneck for *all* forms of immigration. In 2014, the U.S. had a backlog of 3.2 million immigration applications. By the middle of 2022, it had grown to 8.6 million.v

Experts say letting applicants pay a premium for faster processing could help clear the backlog and generate funds to digitize the process and hire workers to review applications.vi

Americans have widely varying opinions on immigration. But we can all probably agree that would-be immigrants shouldn’t have to wait years for a decision.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. Nearly 80% of Americans support high-skilled immigration.
  2. A typical wait time for a high-skilled immigrant to get permanent residency in the U.S. is 29 months, while in Australia it’s 2 1/2 months.
  3. There is currently a backlog of about 8.6 million immigration applications, up from 3.2 million in 2014.

Sources

  1. "Majority of U.S. Public Supports High-Skilled Immigration" (Phillip Connor, Neil G. Ruiz) — Pew Research Center
  2. "Reducing the Immigration Backlog" (Daniel Di Martino) — Manhattan Institute
  3. Ibid., p. 27
  4. Ibid., p. 11
  5. Ibid., p. 7
  6. Ibid., p. 1

Shownotes

SOUND: "All Together Now" (MuddyWest)

FOOTAGE: Juan Mayobre (Unsplash) // Karolina Grabowska, Mwabonje (Pexels) // CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND HAVE NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED ANY PORTION OF THIS PRODUCTION.

Sources

  1. Pew Research Center
    "Majority of U.S. Public Supports High-Skilled Immigration" (Phillip Connor, Neil G. Ruiz)
  2. Manhattan Institute
    "Reducing the Immigration Backlog" (Daniel Di Martino)

Delve Deeper

Bonus Content

More Videos

February 2024

Old Drug Crises Were Overhyped. This One Isn’t.

Fentanyl is different than any other drug crisis in the country’s history. Why? Because it’s way more likely to kill even casual users.
Watch Now...

February 2024

The Most Unusual Cities in America

Which cities are the most and least religious? Which ones have the biggest minority populations? These are America’s biggest demographic outliers.
Watch Now...