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Новости на иммиграционную и не только иммиграционную тематику по США

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ТРАМП ГОТОВИТ ИММИГРАЦИОННЫЕ ОГРАНИЧЕНИЯ ДЛЯ ГРАЖДАН ШЕСТИ СТРАН, СРЕДИ КОТОРЫХ ПОСТСОВЕТСКАЯ РЕСПУБЛИКА

Они будут касаться рабочих виз и временных разрешений на проживание.

Соединенные Штаты Америки планируют ограничить граждан шести стран в возможностях получать въездные разрешения. Об этом сообщает dw.com.

Иммиграционные ограничения коснутся жителей Мьянмы, Эритреи, Судана, Нигерии, Танзании и Киргизии. Соответствующий указ, по данным журналистов, готовится администрацией Белого дома и должен вступить в силу в феврале этого года. В документе речь пойдет о иммиграционных визах с заверенным поручительством, а также визах в рамках программы Diversity Immigrant Visa Госдепартамента США, которая предусматривает розыгрыш разрешений на жительство в лотерею.

При этом на неиммиграционные визы, то есть при посещении США с целью туризма, в интересах бизнеса и для медицинского лечения, запрет не распространится. Как объясняют в администрации Дональда Трампа, целью ограничений является стимулирование повышения руководством указанных стран стандартов в области безопасности. "Эти государства в большинстве своем хотят сотрудничать, делать то, что необходимо, они поддерживают отношения с США, но по разным причинам не выполнили минимальные требования", - отметил и.о. министра внутренней безопасности США Чед Вулф.

 

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Гуд-бай, Америка. Почему число отказов украинцам в визе США достигло рекорда

Число отказов украинцам в визе США достигло рекорда: теперь Америка закрывает двери почти перед половиной отечественных туристов. Журнал НВ разобрался, почему так происходит.

Сами путешественники винят в отказах антиэмигрантскую политику Дональда Трампа, однако и американские дипломаты, и украинские эксперты убеждены: все дело в неправильно оформленных документах и проваленных собеседованиях Ирина Крикуненко.

«У меня хорошая биография, весь паспорт в штампах, и работа на госслужбе в антикоррупционном органе. Ну как же так?» — Александра Бычковская вспоминает эмоции, которые охватили ее у окошка в американском посольстве, откуда прозвучали слова: «В визе отказано».

Неудавшаяся поездка в Чикаго к друзьям семьи стоила Бычковской потраченных нервов, времени на сбор документов и около 8 тыс. грн из семейного бюджета. Зато визу получила 90‑летняя родственница друзей Бычковской, которую она должна была в этой поездке сопровождать.

То, что «увидеть Нью-Йорк и умереть» стало для соотечественников в последнее время непростой задачей, подтверждает и официальная статистика. По данным Государственного департамента США, за 2019‑й финансовый год отказы в выдаче туристической визы получили 45,06% украинцев. Причем за несколько последних лет число отказов выросло на 10% и теперь достигло рекорда.

Украинские туристы считают, что виной всему антиэмигрантская политика президента США Дональда Трампа, а также человеческий фактор на собеседовании. Однако и дипломаты, и эксперты уверяют: проблема в самих украинцах.

«В большинстве случаев они не смогли или доказать свое право на получение той категории визы, на которую они претендуют, или опровергнуть предположение об их намерении стать иммигрантом», — называет типичную причину визовых отказов пресс-атташе Посольства США в Украине Рэй Кастилло.

В то же время в России, которая из‑за аннексии Крыма и эскалации военного конфликта на Донбассе находится под санкциями США, этот факт на выдачу виз не влияет: отказы получают лишь 15% россиян.

От ворот поворот

Я в очереди 54‑й, — вспоминает свой первый поход за американской визой художник из Кривого Рога Олег Гуцалюк. — И кого там только не было: и батюшки, и военные, и айтишники. Все отлетали пулеметом».

Чтобы проведать дочь, давно живущую в США, Гуцалюк штурмовал двери посольства четырежды, а повезло ему лишь в последний раз. Ранее не помогали ни справка из столичной галереи, ни чеки о продаже картин. В то время как его жена Ирина, безработная домохозяйка с девственно чистым паспортом, получила визу сразу на 10 лет с первой же попытки.

Впрочем, супруги не в обиде: говорят, видя, какое количество людей получают отказы, не чувствуешь себя особенным. К примеру, на одном из последних собеседований из 60 человек визу получил только один.

«Оно видно сразу: кому дают, у того голубенькая бумажечка и тот улыбается. А кто с зеленой и грустный — не получил», — проявляет наблюдательность Гуцалюк.

На внезапный от ворот поворот от американцев теперь жалуются и предприниматели: мол, наличие собственного бизнеса в Украине для визового офицера не является аргументом, что перед ним не потенциальный мигрант. Например, осенью 2017-го в США так и не попала владелица юридической компании Дина Дрыжакова. Сама она сразу получила добро, а вот ее попутчикам — собственникам салона красоты — после нескольких часов ожидания было отказано.

«Нас вызвали к окошку втроем, особо много вопросов не было, только из серии „цель визита в США“, — рассказывает Дрыжакова. — Через пару минут после моего ответа я получила паспорт с визой. А с ребятами оказалась заминка».

По ее мнению, ключевую роль сыграла не финансовая состоятельность подающего и не проблема с документами, сбор которых путешественники делегировали консьерж-сервису. Все определила репутация.

«У меня две общественные организации, я подавала документы по ним, видимо, это и повлияло», — предполагает Дрыжакова.

Впрочем, соотечественники не сдаются без боя — от намерений получить американскую визу отказники отступаются редко. Например, Бычковская теперь строит грандиозные планы на Майами и Нью-Йорк, куда она собирается ехать уже не одна, а с бойфрендом. В этот раз украинка намерена подойти к делу с умом и перечитала гору литературы на это счет. Говорит, после отказа можно подаваться хоть через неделю, но лучше выждать хотя бы 10 месяцев.

«Должны произойти хоть какие‑то изменения в финансовом состоянии, — объясняет она. — Я вот работу поменяла».

Также Бычковская утверждает, что американцы охотнее ставят свою визу после британской. «Поэтому, возможно, мы сначала „возьмем“ Англию, с прицелом на Америку в конце осени», — делится планами она. Тут же украинка добавляет: проблемы с визами должны исчезнуть, как только в США сменится президент и антиэмигрантская политика станет мягче.

«Мы не будем спешить, пусть сначала Трампа этого снимут», — категорично заявляет Бычковская.

Виза с четвертой попытки

Действительно, среди посольств, куда украинцы обращаются за визой, американское в последние годы славится особой строгостью. К примеру, Канада отказывает украинцам примерно в 30% случаев, а британские визы не получают чуть меньше 10% заявителей из Украины.

В американском посольстве уточняют: среди стран постсоветского пространства Украина далеко не в лидерах. Например, в Молдове, Грузии, Армении, Кыргызстане, Узбекистане, Турк­менистане и Таджикистана процент отказов в туристических визах еще выше.

По мнению представителей посольства, всему виной обычные нарушения в подаче документов, и с внешней иммиграционной политикой Штатов это связи не имеет. «Независимо от нашего глубокого сотрудничества с Украиной, наши консульские работники обязаны принимать решения о предоставлении виз или отказе на основании закона США», — разводят руками в посольстве.

Эксперты солидарны с дипломатами: дело тут не в Трампе. По словам президента Все­украинской ассоциации компаний по международному трудо­устройству Василия Воскобойника, ключевую роль играет желание соотечественников пробраться в США в обход закона. И тут им помогает целая индустрия.

«В Украине открыто действует куча мошеннических фирм, которые предлагают эмиграцию или трудо­устройство в США, — поясняет Воскобойник. — Для этого нужно лишь заплатить $ 1.500−2.000».

За эти деньги, говорит эксперт, фирмы обещают помочь получить визу и найти работу в Америке, доход от которой быстро вернет потраченные средства. А в результате большинство украинцев все же получают отказ в визе, так как мошенники подделывают сведения.

Отечественный рынок визового сопровождения действительно переживает ренессанс, в основном благодаря повышенному интересу украинских туристов к Стране больших возможностей. Хотя официальной статистики на этот счет нет, однако о востребованности подобного рода услуг говорит растущее число запросов в Google: в 2019 году украинцы в попытках оформить американскую визу обращались к помощи поисковика в два раза чаще, чем в 2017‑м. А на запрос «виза сша помощь» программа выдает боле 1,5 млн ссылок на сайты компаний разного уровня, которые предлагают за скромную сумму раздобыть заветный американский штамп.

В топе солидные и белые компании — за $100 сверх визового сбора они предлагают помочь выбрать тип визы, собрать пакет документов, заполнить анкету и записать на собеседование. Такие фирмы организовывают групповые корпоративные командировки и индивидуальные поездки при условии, что клиент имеет все необходимые документы.

 
 
 

А вот эмиграционные визы уже совсем в другой ценовой категории: от $ 4.000 за визу невесты или рабочую и до $ 70.000 за помощь в оформлении грин-карты. Но тут компания ставит условия: не иметь рабочих виз в Польшу и Литву, а также отказа ранее чем полгода назад.

Для тех же, у кого с документами проблемы, есть своего рода «визовый даркнет» — сайт бесплатных объявлений OLX. Тут анонимные помощники в частном порядке предлагают решить любую проблему, в том числе сделать бутафорскую справку с работы и проложить индивидуальный фейковый маршрут путешествия со всеми необходимыми бронями. «Все равно там никто не проверяет», — убеждает журналиста НВ, позвонившего в такую фирму, Юрий.

После введения безвиза многие турагенты пытаются заработать на открытии виз в США и Канаду, объясняет глава Всеукраинской ассоциации туроператоров Игорь Голубаха. По его данным, таких в стране более 10 тысяч.

«В большинстве своем они действуют часто непрофессионально, из‑за чего подставляют клиентов и приносят неудобства визовому отделу», — поясняет эксперт. К тому же они нарушают закон, подчеркивает Голубаха: компания, имея туристическую или туроператорскую лицензию, должна заниматься туризмом, а не посредничеством.

Этот рисковый бизнес не играет на руку обычным добросовестным путешественникам, которые теперь находятся под двойным прицелом визовых офицеров. «Заявители должны убедить консульского сотрудника, что они не будут заниматься неразрешенной деятельностью, в том числе незаконным трудоустройством», — подчеркивает Кастилло.

Несмотря на негативный тренд, интереса к путешествиям в США украинцы не теряют и к отказам относятся с пониманием. «Нам было обидно, но мы понимали мотивацию посольства, — признается Ирина Гуцалюк, жена с четвертой попытки получившего американскую визу художника. — Они защищают свое общество от нежелательных мигрантов, а мы небогатая страна в поисках лучшей жизни».

 

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С 24 февраля США ужесточат правила выдачи грин-карт

 

С понедельника, 24 февраля, в США ужесточаются правила выдачи грин-карт иностранцам, которые рассчитывают на получение государственного пособия.

Как сообщили в Белом доме, это позволит защитить американских налогоплательщиков, поддержит программы социального обеспечения для тех американцев, которые действительно нуждаются в них, и сократит дефицит федерального бюджета.

Кроме того, нововведение «восстановит основополагающий правовой принцип, согласно которому новые члены общества должны быть финансово самостоятельны и не зависеть от щедрости налогоплательщиков США».

Инициативу в августе 2019 года выдвинул помощник президента США Стивен Миллер. В соответствии с ней власти могут отказать во въезде или выдаче грин-карты, исходя из уровня доходов или того, как часто человек пользуется программами социальной помощи. К ним относятся социальное обеспечение, талоны на питание, государственное жилье или бесплатная медицинская страховка по программе Medicaid.

Мера вытекает из закона об иммиграции 1882 года, который позволяет правительству отказывать в выдаче визы любому лицу, которое находится на государственном содержании. Под нее подпадут иммигранты, которые получали социальные выплаты в течение более чем 12 месяцев за последние три года.

Правила должны были вступить в силу в середине октября 2019 года, однако тогда они были обжалованы в суде.

В конце января власти объявили о новых правилах получения виз в США беременными. Они направлены на искоренение «родильного туризма» — практики, в которой женщины приезжают рожать в Соединенные Штаты, чтобы их ребенок автоматически получил американское гражданство.

Госдепе пояснили, что изменения коснутся тех, у кого рождение ребенка в США будет основной целью поездки.

Ограничение потока приезжающих в страну мигрантов было одним из предвыборных лозунгов нынешнего президента Дональда Трампа, который в ноябре этого года рассчитывает добиться переизбрания.

 

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Indians will pay $50,000 more for US investor visa from April

Washington: Beginning April 1, Indians wishing to immigrate to America using the  EB-5 or the US investor visa will now have to pay an additional $50,000 (Dh183,650), a media report said.

Although, this additional tax would impact all visa categories, it will predominantly create a barrier for people investing in the EB-5 visa programme, the American Bazaar daily said in the report on Friday.

In 2019, the EB-5 investor visa programme, for the first time since the 1990's, increased the minimum investment amount to $900,000.

With this increase in minimum investment, the new 5 per cent additional tax would mean that applicants would have to pay the extra $50,000, when they move money to an escrow account in the US to fulfil their application criterion.

"The changes to the tax on remittances is a reminder to Indians to carefully plan their tax position before making the move to the US," the American Bazaar quoted Mark Davies, Global Chairman, Davies & Associates LLC, as saying.

"People seeking to emigrate who do not wish to pay this tax at source and rather account for it later may wish to move their money ahead of the new rules coming into effect.

"It is possible to pre-emptively move money into an escrow account in the US until such a time as they are ready to proceed with emigration process," he added.

 

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US citizenship in three months! Many rich Indians are doing this

The route also allows the spouse of a visa holder to freely work in the US and covers dependent children under 21

 

While attaining US citizenship is increasingly becoming a difficult and expensive prospect, many rich Indians have found out a way around it - through Grenada. Rich Indians are increasingly looking at Grenada as a route to attain US citizenship through the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.

Interest in the CBI programme has increased in the last three months, sources in the know told the Economic Times. Under the Grenada CBI programme, a visa applicant has to make $220,000 investment in a government-approved real estate project to acquire citizenship. Now, the Caribbean island has an E2 visa treaty with the US. A Grenadian can apply for the US citizenship and acquire it within three months. The E2 visa treaty allows an individual to invest a minimum of $150,000 and live and do business in the country. The investment must be in an enterprise that is able to "develop and direct" as mentioned in the report, and which is 50 per cent owned by the investor.

While the route might seem long, it has come after the US changed the investment guideline of the EB-5 programme. The minimum investment for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was raised to $900,000 from $500,000 in the Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and from $1 million to $1.8 million in the non-TEA in November last year. This has led to a dip in interest towards the US' EB-5 programme.

However, the route to US through Grenada is not only cheaper but the processing time is also quicker - 90 days for Grenadian citizenship and another 90 for E2 visa. To add to it, the route also allows the spouse of a visa holder to freely work in the US and covers dependent children under 21.

 

Another country that has similar provisions is Cyprus that has also become another preferred option.

 

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The Fiscal Impact of Refugee Resettlement No Free Lunch for Taxpayers

Jason Richwine, PhD, is a public policy analyst based in Washington, D.C., and a contributing writer at National Review. Steven A. Camarota is the director of research and Karen Zeigler is a demographer at the Center.


Advocates of expanding the number of refugees admitted to the United States have lately portrayed their position as a win-win — refugee resettlement not only assists the refugees themselves, it also allegedly improves our nation’s fiscal health. The fiscal claim is unsupportable. Although refugees from earlier generations were often well educated, today’s refugees have fewer than nine years of schooling on average. Because of their low earning power and immediate access to welfare benefits, recent refugees cost the government substantially more than they contribute in taxes, even over the long term.

Our best estimate of the average refugee’s lifetime fiscal cost, expressed as a net present value, is $60,000, with those entering as adults (ages 25 to 64) costing $133,000 each. Perhaps this is a price that the United States should be willing to pay to further its humanitarian goals. However, resettlement in the United States may not be the most cost-effective means of aiding displaced people.

Key points:

  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine developed a model that estimates the lifetime fiscal impact of new immigrants, counting all taxes paid and services consumed at the federal, state, and local levels. Educational attainment is the most important predictor in the model. Generally speaking, highly educated immigrants will contribute more in taxes than they consume in services, while immigrants with low levels of education will contribute less than they consume.
  • Based on data from the Annual Survey of Refugees, one-third of refugees between the ages of 25 and 64 completed no more than the sixth grade before their arrival in the United States. About 53 percent have less than a high school diploma. Only 18 percent have education beyond high school.
  • When we apply the education levels of refugees to the National Academies’ fiscal model, we find that the average refugee will cost about $36,000 in net present value over his or her lifetime. (Conceptually, «present value» means that all of the lifetime costs have been consolidated into a single upfront payment.)
  • Because the National Academies model is based on all immigrants at each education level, some adjustments are required for refugees who, unlike most immigrants, impose administrative costs for resettlement and can access welfare payments immediately. After these adjustments, our cost estimate rises to $60,000 per refugee.
  • Although the fiscal impact of refugees is negative overall, it differs significantly across age groups. Refugees who enter as adults (age 25 and over) have a large negative impact under every plausible model. Refugees who enter as children may have a positive impact, although this requires optimistic assumptions about mobility.
  • Policymakers need to consider whether resettlement in the United States is the best way to help displaced people. Perhaps overseas assistance would be a more efficient use of limited public resources.

 

Introduction

According to the 2016 Annual Survey of Refugees, one in three recent refugees between the ages of 25 and 64 arrived in the United States with no education beyond the sixth grade. Some 53 percent lacked a high school diploma, compared to 7 percent of U.S. natives in the same age range. Similarly, only 18 percent of refugees had a four-year college degree, compared to 34 percent of natives. Despite the disparity, just 7 percent of recent refugees between the ages of 25 and 64 were currently pursuing a degree of any kind.

Why is education relevant? Because under the U.S. government’s progressive taxation and spending structure, high-earning Americans tend to receive less in public benefits than they pay in taxes, while lower-earners receive benefits that exceed the taxes they contribute. Given their low education levels, today’s refugees are unlikely to possess the earning power necessary to become net fiscal contributors. This is not a reflection of their character; it is simply a reality of economic life in the United States. In fact, common sense tells us that the public sector would not be struggling every year with budget deficits if even its least-educated citizens were somehow paying their own way.1

Nevertheless, advocates claim that refugees do, indeed, pay their own way. They cite two major studies. The first is a working paper by William Evans and Daniel Fitzgerald finding that each refugee pays an average of $21,000 more in taxes than he or she receives in benefits over the first 20 years in the United States.2 The second is an unpublished (and apparently unfinished) report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finding that refugees created a net fiscal benefit of $63 billion between 2005 and 2014.3 Both studies have two fundamental problems: First, they exclude major cost categories, and, second, they are based on the experience of older refugees who are altogether different from today’s refugees.

As to the first problem, anyone could appear to be a net fiscal contributor if enough costs are excluded. Evans and Fitzgerald count all (or nearly all) taxes paid by refugees, but reduce the services they receive to six social programs — cash welfare, SSI, Social Security, food stamps, Medicare, and Medicaid. All other costs that governments might incur from immigration — housing, infrastructure, education, law enforcement, and so on — do not count. They also fail to adjust for the underreporting of the social programs in Census data. The HHS report is more comprehensive, but it still excludes «congestible» public goods, such as police protection and road maintenance.4 As a result, the HHS study comes to the odd conclusion that almost everyone is a net fiscal contributor — even though the federal government has been running a deficit, and most states are perpetually cash-strapped.5

The second problem is one of interpretation. In order for either study to be relevant to current policy, one must assume that today’s refugees are just like yesterday’s. In the 20th century, the United States took in several groups of higher-skill refugees — for example, Cubans after Castro’s takeover, South Vietnamese after the fall of Saigon, Soviet dissidents in the 1980s, Eastern Europeans in the 1990s, and so on. Today, refugees come mainly from less developed parts of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. The difference is evident in the education data published by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in 1995 vs. 2015. As Table 1 indicates, the education level of refugees declined both in absolute terms and relative to natives. For example, the fraction of refugees without a high school diploma increased from 36 percent to 51 percent between 1995 and 2015, while the rate decreased from 20 percent to 13 percent for natives over the same time period.6

 

t is unrealistic to imagine that the current group of refugees, or those who are likely to be admitted in the near future from places such as the Middle East or Africa, will be as economically productive as the prior group of refugees. For that reason, we project the fiscal impact of refugees based on their own characteristics as new immigrants, not on the characteristics of a different group of refugees from the past.

Finally, we emphasize that our analysis is intended to be comprehensive. The popular press often circulates collections of factoids — e.g., how quickly refugees learn English, or how much disposable income they have — that are insufficient to assess the fiscal impact of refugees.7 There is no substitute for an analysis that takes all taxes and spending into account.

Results

Table 2 has three main rows. The first row, «National Academies’ Model», gives the lifetime fiscal impact of immigrants who have the educational profile of refugees, categorized by their age of entry into the United States. We did not make any adjustments for refugee-specific costs in this row. Because the National Academies created eight separate scenarios using different budgetary assumptions, we report the fiscal impacts that are highest (best for taxpayers) and lowest (worst for taxpayers), as well as the median impact, which is our preferred estimate. A positive number in the table means a gain for taxpayers; a negative number means a loss.

Table: Lifetime Fiscal Impact of Refugees

The National Academies’ model is based on all types of immigrants, not refugees in particular, so we make additional adjustments in the next two rows. The second row, «Plus Refugee Administrative Costs», adds $9,230 to reflect per-refugee administrative expenditures by the State Department and ORR.

The third row, «Plus Five-Year Welfare Costs», adds additional costs based on refugees’ immediate access to welfare programs. (Most other immigrants cannot access programs such as Medicaid and food stamps until they have established five years of legal permanent residency.)

As the median estimate in the «Plus Five-Year Welfare Costs» row and «All Ages» column indicates, the average refugee imposes a cost of roughly $60,000 in net present value over his or her lifetime. In the most optimistic scenario, that cost falls to $8,000. In the most pessimistic scenario, it rises to $125,000.

No plausible model, not even the National Academies’ best-case scenario, comes close to suggesting that refugees who enter as adults will be net fiscal contributors. Refugee-specific costs add about 22 percent over and above the cost of other immigrants, but low education by itself is enough to push adult refugees’ estimated fiscal impact well into negative territory. The National Academies is more optimistic about the children of low-skill adult immigrants, whom the model assumes will surpass their parents’ education levels. But even with favorable assumptions about refugee children, the overall impact (all age groups combined) is still clearly negative.

Detailed Methods

The one-sentence version of our method is that we used the National Academies’ fiscal model as a base estimate, and then we made adjustments to reflect added refugee costs within the first five years of their arrival. The base model and the adjustments are reflected in the three major rows of Table 2 above, and we explain them in greater detail below.

National Academies’ Model. This model, which includes all taxes and spending at all levels of government, projects immigrant fiscal impacts for eight different budgetary scenarios.8

Each of those scenarios contains estimates for five education categories — less than high school, high school, some college, college, and more than college — and three age-at-arrival levels — 0-24, 25-64, and 65 and over. These estimates are «net present values», meaning future values have been discounted (reduced) to reflect the time value of money. In essence, the entire stream of future costs and benefits has been consolidated into a single upfront payment.9

We use these estimates to assign each recent refugee a lifetime fiscal cost based on his or her entry age and education.10 For example, if a refugee entered at age 39 and has 10 years of education, we assign that refugee the cost of an immigrant who arrived between the ages of 25 and 64 and who has less than a high school diploma. Summing over all refugees produces the results in the «National Academies’ Model» row in Table 2. Because there are eight budgetary scenarios, we report the high, low, and median fiscal impacts from that set of eight.

Information on the age and education of refugees comes from the 2016 Annual Survey of Refugees (ASR). Conducted by ORR, the ASR samples from a cross-section of refugees who arrived between 2011 and 2015, and it covers the period of refugee resettlement before the restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.11 It is the first version of the ASR for which the microdata are available to researchers.

Although the ASR provides a valuable set of data, it does have two significant limitations. First, 23 percent of recent refugees speak languages so obscure that none of the 16 foreign-language versions of the interview were suitable for them.12 Because speakers of obscure languages tend to come from remote areas, and because secondary schools usually offer instruction in a more popular language, most of the excluded refugees must have arrived with education levels well below the average of the 77 percent who were covered. The survey designers attempted to adjust for this problem using the sampling weight, but missing such a large and non-random subset of the population could reduce the sample’s precision.

A second limitation of the ASR is that responses to the education questions do not map neatly on to the five education categories used by the National Academies. Table 3 below explains how we derived the familiar five education categories from the ASR questions on the highest degree obtained and years spent in school.

richwine-refugees-3-20-t3_0.jpg

Refugee Administrative Costs. According to previous CIS research, refugee resettlement costs the State Department $4,433 per refugee, while ORR pays $4,797 per refugee, for a total of $9,230.13 The «Plus Administrative Costs» row in Table 2 displays the sum of the $9,230 value and the estimates from the «National Academies’ Model» row. Because administrative costs occur at arrival, no time discounting is necessary.

Five-Year Welfare Costs. Although refugees may differ in several ways from the average immigrant modeled by the National Academies, we focus on the clearest legal difference — namely, that refugees are immediately eligible for federal welfare programs, while most other immigrants must be legal permanent residents for five years before accessing benefits. The «Plus Five-Year Welfare Costs» row in Table 2 includes the added cost of Medicaid, cash assistance, food stamps, and housing benefits that refugees consume in excess of what the average immigrant consumes within the first five years. Refugees may continue to consume more welfare dollars than the average immigrant in their age and education group beyond the first five years, but we do not attempt to estimate that difference due to data limitations.

To estimate five-year welfare costs, we first identify «high-refugee countries», meaning places that send primarily refugees to the United States rather than other types of immigrants. These countries are Bhutan, Burma, Congo/Zaire, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea, which accounted for 86 percent of all refugees between 2010 and 2015.14 We use the 2013-2017 American Community Survey (ACS) to estimate the cost of food stamps, cash assistance, and Medicaid among immigrants from these countries who arrived in the prior five years.15 Because the ACS lacks information on housing benefits, we use a combined three-year sample of the Current Population Survey (CPS) to identify those in public or rent-subsidized housing. Following the National Academies example, we adjust for undercount of welfare expenditures in Census surveys by adjusting the totals to match administrative data.16

To ensure that we are capturing only added costs associated with refugee status, we subtract the welfare costs associated with all recent immigrants from the costs associated with immigrants from the high-refugee counties.17 We sum these excess costs over five years of welfare eligibility, discounting at 3 percent in accordance with the National Academies. The net present value of the five-year welfare costs, broken down by age and education, are displayed in Table 4.

Table: Net present value of refugee "excess" welfare cost

Because so few refugees are elderly — only about 2.5 percent of refugees in the ASR were 65 or older upon arrival — our sample of age-65-plus immigrants from high-refugee countries in the ACS was too small to divide by education. We instead assigned the age-65-plus refugees the average cost of all education levels within their age group.

Conclusion

There is a tendency for partisans on both sides of the immigration debate to believe that their values are always reflected in economic data. For example, advocates have asserted that accepting refugees is not only a moral imperative but also a fiscal boon. Similarly, when concerns arise about the cultural compatibility of refugees with American communities, opponents insist the economic cost must be enormous.

In reality, the fiscal impact of refugee resettlement is just one aspect of a more complex issue involving economic, social, and political considerations. The purpose of this report is not to argue that all refugee resettlement is wrong, but rather to remind policymakers that there are costs associated with the program. Specifically, we find that the average refugee will cost around $60,000 in net present value over his or her lifetime, with adult refugees costing upwards of $133,000. These costs are due mainly to the low levels of education possessed by refugees upon their arrival.

Most refugees admitted to the United States have «no immediate medical, social, or security concerns which would merit expedited processing.»18 Given the costs, it may be possible to help a greater number of displaced people overseas rather than paying to settle them here. Overseas assistance could allow some refugees to eventually resettle in countries where they have stronger cultural or historical ties than they do with the United States.19 In addition, many refugees are in temporary camps near their homes. Assisting host governments, NGOs, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees with supporting these individuals until they can return home is another way the United States may be able to more effectively leverage its resources.

End Notes

1 Outside of a U.S. context, most media outlets seem to understand that low-skill migrants strain government resources. For example, the New York Times uncritically cited the «dire» economic consequences predicted by Mexican officials if their country became the last resort for refugees and asylees. (Michael D. Shear and Azam Ahmed, «Mexico and the U.S. Have Made Progress Toward Averting Tariffs», The New York Times, June 6, 2019.) Yet the Times also trumpeted the HHS study discussed below claiming refugees are net fiscal contributors in the United States. («Rejected Report Shows Revenue Brought In by Refugees», The New York Times, September 19, 2017.)

2 William N. Evans and Daniel Fitzgerald, «The Economic and Social Outcomes of Refugees in the United States: Evidence from the ACS», NBER Working Paper No. 23498, June 2017.

3 «The Fiscal Costs of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program at the Federal, State, and Local Levels, from 2005-2014», unfinished draft, Department of Health and Human Services, July 29, 2017.

4 Excluding public goods is sensible when considering the fiscal impact of adding a few refugees, but adding large numbers of people creates new costs for services such as road maintenance and law enforcement, particularly in small towns with high concentrations of newcomers.

5 In fairness to the author (or authors) of the HHS study, revisions may have been intended for a final version that was never completed.

6 Note that we use 2015 in Table 1 rather than 2016. The refugee survey was revamped in 2016, breaking comparability with past years. («Annual Report to Congress: Fiscal Year 2016», Office of Refugee Resettlement, p. 70.) Also note the age range of 16 and older – it is the only age range for which ORR published information on education before 2016.

7 See, for example, «From Struggle to Resilience: The Economic Impact of Refugees in America», New American Economy, June 19, 2017.

8 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, Francine D. Blau and Christopher Mackie, Eds., Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2017, Table 8-12.

9 The National Academies used a 3 percent «discount rate» to calculate present values. Applying a 3 percent discount rate converts the value of $103 paid next year to $103/(1 + 0.03) = $100 today. Similarly, $103 paid two years from now has a present value of $103/(1 + 0.03)2 = $97.09 today. Discounting is simply a means of making costs comparable when they occur at different points in time. Without discounting, the total dollars spent on refugees over their lifetimes will obviously be greater than the present value. For example, in the calculation above, $103 is to be paid next year, and another $103 is to be paid the year after that. By discounting, we can see that stream of payments is equal to a single upfront payment of $100 + $97.09 = $197.09. The actual outlays, of course, will still be $103 + $103 = $206 over two years.

10 In the 25-64 and 65-plus age columns, education refers to the education level of the immigrants themselves. In the 0-24 age column, however, some new immigrants are still in school, so education refers to the education of the immigrants’ parents. The National Academies generally expects the education of a child immigrant to be higher than the level of his or her parents. That assumption of educational gains allows the projected fiscal impact of young immigrants to be positive in some scenarios even when their parents do not have high school diplomas.

It is reasonable to expect immigrants who arrive before their late teenage years to continue their education upon arrival. (Indeed, the National Academies modeled educational improvement by selecting immigrants who were between the ages of 10 and 16 and comparing their education 15 years later with the education of their parents.) It is less reasonable, however, to assume that immigrants who arrive between the ages of 19 and 24 will make large educational gains. About 13 percent of refugees ages 0 to 24 in the ASR are immigrants whom we call «independent youths» — between the ages of 19 and 24, not currently in school, and either head of their own household or the spouse of a household head. The National Academies overstates the fiscal impact of these independent youths by assuming educational gains that are not realistic given their age and life circumstances. For the analysis in this report, we considered an adjustment that would shift independent youths into the age 25-64 column for cost purposes. However, we felt that would be an over-correction, as independent youths do at least have more working years ahead of them than their counterparts in the 25-64 column.

11 The Trump administration has lowered the annual number of refugees resettled in the United States from 85,000 in FY 2016 to 30,000 in FY 2019. The cap for FY 2020 has been set at 18,000. See Jens Manuel Krogstad, «Key Facts About Refugees to the U.S.», Pew Research Center, October 7, 2019.

In addition, the White House is setting more of its own priorities rather than relying on the UN when selecting which refugees to resettle. This year, religious minorities and Iraqis who assisted the U.S. military have a high preference. See Nayla Rush, «The Trump Administration’s Long Overdue Revision of the Refugee Resettlement Program», Center for Immigration Studies, September 30, 2019.

12 One could hardly accuse the ASR designers of being inattentive to translation needs. Included among the 16 foreign-language versions of the survey were Sgaw Karen, Tedim, Tigrinya, Lai, Kinyarwanda, and Chaldean — dialects that are, of course, rarely heard in the United States. Attempting to cover the remaining 191 languages spoken by refugees would have been cost-prohibitive. (Timothy Triplett and Carolyn Vilter, «2016 ASR Annual Survey of Refugees Data File User’s Guide: A Technical Research Manual», Department of Health and Human Services, July 2018, p. 8.)

13 Steven Camarota, «The High Cost of Resettling Middle Eastern Refugees», Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder, November 4, 2015, Table 1.

14 «Yearbook of Immigration Statistics», Department of Homeland Security, years 2012 and 2015, Table 14.

15 Medicaid costs per individual enrollee reflect age and disability status as reported in the ACS. «Medicaid Spending Per Enrollee (Full or Partial Benefit): FY2014», Kaiser Family Foundation, undated.

16 We match total expenditures found in the «Historical Tables» published by the Office of Management and Budget.

17 One may wonder how recent immigrants who are not refugees can consume welfare, given the five-year residency requirement. There are other special categories of immigrants — asylees, spouses eligible for expedited naturalization, children in certain states, etc. — who are also exempted from the five-year rule. In addition, food stamps and housing subsidies are household-level variables that may be received by an eligible resident even when the household head is ineligible. Finally, some immigrants may simply misreport their year of arrival or their welfare use.

18 Nayla Rush, «For Most Refugees, Resettlement Is Not a Matter of Life and Death», Center for Immigration Studies, July 25, 2018.

19 Burma’s Rohingya people, who are Muslims from a predominantly Buddhist country, have resettled in Muslim Bangladesh. Bantu tribesmen, whose ancestors were brought to Somalia by Arab slave traders, have resettled in parts of their tribal homeland in Tanzania and Mozambique.

 

DHS lifts H-2B seasonal worker visa cap by 35,000, ties it to measures tackling abuse

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced that it is lifting the H-2B visa cap for seasonal guest workers by 35,000 — coupling the move with a series of measures to tackle fraud and abuse in the system.

“This year’s supplemental allocation was determined after extensive consultation with stakeholders—including members of Congress and the Department of Labor—and is intended to strike a careful balance that benefits American businesses and American workers,” DHS said in a statement.

The number of H-2B visas, which gives temporary legal status to non-agricultural seasonal workers in areas such as landscaping and service-industry jobs in restaurants and hotels, is capped at 66,000 a year by Congress. Congress has given DHS the authority to raise that cap by 64,000 visas a year. Last year the administration raised it by 30,000. The 35,000 number is lower than the full cap, and lower than initial reports that had tagged the increase at 45,000.

Immigration hawks have long opposed increases in H-2B visas, while business groups have said they are essential in a tight labor market. On the Hill, raising the cap has seen both bipartisan support and opposition. Groups of Republicans and Democrats have written to the administration on both sides of the issue.

“These realities of the H-2B program, as it operates today, incentivize unscrupulous employers to hire H-2B workers instead of American workers and create poor working conditions for immigrant workers and American workers alike,” a letter by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., Tom Cotton. R-Ark., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said in January. “Therefore, absent significant regulatory and legislative reforms to the program, we do not believe that an increase in the number of H-2B visas is in the interests of either American workers or H-2B visa holders.»

DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf was urged by lawmakers last month to increase the cap.

“I’ve got a whole bunch of small businesses in New Hampshire who aren’t going to be able to do their business this summer if they don’t have those workers,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said.

“If that stretches out into June or July, before those actual releases come, that’s too late for the season and so trying to be able to get those done faster is better than slowly trying to be able to piece those out,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

DHS is responding to some of the concerns about the program by coupling the increase with measures to fight fraud and abuse in the system. Those measures include requiring matching start dates on a petition and the employer’s needed start date, greater collaboration with the Labor Department on increased site visits, and limiting supplemental visas to returning workers who have proven they can follow immigration law.

But the reforms were not enough to spare the move from criticism from groups that advocate for lower levels of overall immigration.

«The H-2B visa is a flawed program that depresses wages and eliminates job opportunities for American workers,» Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said in a statement. «In our view, labor market dynamics do not justify an increase that is 5,000 more than last year. Congress must quit offloading this politically unpopular decision to bring in more wage-impacting foreign workers.»

Notably, DHS is also allocating 10,000 visas for nationals from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, in support of efforts in helping the U.S. bring down illegal immigration from their countries. The majority of visas normally go to Mexican workers.

The visas will be made available in two batches: 20,000 starting April 1, and a second batch starting May 15.

 

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In 2019, US denied one in five H-1B petitions with denial rate higher for Indian IT companies: Study

 

WASHINGTON: The US has denied one in every fifth new petitions for the most-sought after H-1B visas in 2019 to individuals with the denial rate higher for Indian IT companies like the TCS and InfosysNSE -2.62 % in comparison to the American firms, according to a study from official figures.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on  ..

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

While the denial rate has dropped slightly to 21 per cent in 2019 from 24 per cent in 2018, the National Foundation for American Policy has said it is much higher for Indian IT companies like the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and WiproNSE -0.61 % and very low for American companies like Amazon and Google.

For instance, the denial rate for the TCS, and Infosys in 2019 was 31 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, whereas for Wipro and very low for American companies like Amazon and Google.

For instance, the denial rate for the TCS, and Infosys in 2019 was 31 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, whereas for Wipro was 47 per cent and 37 per cent for Tech Mahindra.

On the other hand, the denial rate for the new H-1B petitions in 2019 was just four per cent each for Amazon and Google. The denial rate for Microsoft during the same period was six per cent, and Facebook along with Walmart was was just three per cent each.

«In 2020, the Trump administration is expected to introduce a new H-1B regulation that will make it more difficult for employers to hire high-skilled foreign nationals in the United States,» the policy said in a report this week.

The issue of H-1B visa has been discussed between India and the US many times in the past.

In February, during President Donald Trump’s maiden official visit to India, the issue of H-1B visa was raised and contribution of the Indian professionals in high-tech sector was highlighted.

In December last year, during the 2+2 dialogue in Washington, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stressed on the importance of people-to-people ties, saying they were the defining elements of the Indo-US friendship.

Since 2004, the annual limit of 65,000 H-1B petitions and the 20,000 exemption from that limit for individuals with an advanced degree from a US university has been exhausted every fiscal year. The 85,000 new H-1B petitions allowed each year come to only 0.05 per cent of the US labour force of approximately 164 million.

In addition to higher denial rates under the Trump administration, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data shows the percentage of completed cases with Requests for Evidence (RFEs) increased from 22.3 per cent in 2015 to 40.2 per cent in 2019.

According to the report, new H-1B petitions for the top seven Indian-based companies declined by 64 per cent between fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2019.

The seven companies had only 5,428 H-1B petitions for the initial employment approved in fiscal 2019, accounting for six per cent of the 85,000 H-1B petitions for companies (or 0.003 per cent of the US labour force), it said.

Denials may have contributed to this decline but the primary reason for the drop in H-1B visas is a choice by companies to build up their domestic workforce in the United States and rely less on visas, the report said.

In 2018, there was a sharp 10 per cent decline in the approval of the H-1B visas by the US.

The Trump administration has tightened the noose on firms violating H-1B visa rules. President Trump has himself accused many IT companies of abusing the work visas to deny jobs to American workers.

Two years ago, Trump signed the ‘Buy American and Hire American’ executive order, which seeks to create higher wages and employment rates for US workers and to protect their economic interests by rigorously enforcing and administering our immigration laws.

It directed the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with other agencies, to advance policies to help ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.

 

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Court strikes down immigration hurdles for foreign tech workers

In a win for big tech companies, a judge has ruled that onerous requirements the Trump administration has placed on H-1B visa holders are "irrational" and "invalid."

 

U.S. companies that employ highly skilled foreign workers scored a major victory on Tuesday, as a U.S. District Court judge in Washington struck down a set of onerous requirements that the Trump administration has been imposing on H-1B visa applicants since 2018. The requirements, which include forcing applicants to show exactly what projects they'd work on over a three-year time period, led to a dramatic surge in visa denials since 2016.

The decision came in a case called ITServe Alliance v. Francis Cissna, which pitted an industry association for IT firms against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. But the court's ruling wasn't just a win for the IT outsourcing industry. Given that companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are among the top H-1B employers in America, it was a win for big tech — and the foreign workers they employ — too.

"A decision like this has been long overdue," ITServe's national president, Amar Varada, said in a statement. "We finally have the judicial system agreeing with the employers that USCIS has been out of bounds for a long time."

In a statement, USCIS told Protocol, "USCIS is currently reviewing the court's decision, and we have no additional comment to provide at this time."

At issue in the case was a 2018 policy memo that USCIS published, implementing new rules for adjudicating H-1B applications. Since the 1990s, when the H-1B visa was first created, applicants had to prove to USCIS that they actually had a job offer from a U.S. employer by providing an offer letter, contract or an itinerary detailing where they were going to work and when.

But the 2018 memo said that applicants would now need to explain exactly what assignments they'd be working on at exactly what times throughout the entire three-year period, a change that led to a swift uptick in visa denials, and in some cases, visas that were approved for as little as one day of work. Some H-1B visa holders who had been working in the United States for years and were on track for legal permanent resident status found their visas suddenly denied, starting a countdown clock before they and their families would be forced to leave the country.

In her decision, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote that this change was "irrational." Collyer, who was nominated to the bench by former President George W. Bush, said the memo not only contradicts statutes passed by Congress related to H-1B visas, but amounts to an official agency rule that never went through a formal rule-making process, and was therefore, invalid.

"t would effectively destroy a long-standing business resource without congressional action," Collyer wrote.

None of this is to say that the H-1B visa program is otherwise perfect. A recent survey run by OneZero found that H-1B visa workers "report feeling like an underclass, with stressful working conditions and discrimination due to their visa status." Meanwhile, stories have emerged over the years of corporations like Disney firing American workers and forcing them to train their lower-paid, H-1B replacements. The court's decision doesn't fix the problems with the H-1B visa program. But it does eliminate one of the newer hurdles interrupting both workers' lives and the operations of the companies that hire them.

The court ordered USCIS to reopen the nearly 100 applications in the case and adjudicate them within 60 days, without subjecting them to these new requirements.

"On one hand I'm not surprised in the least by the court's decision," said Jonathan Wasden, an attorney with Wasden Banias, who represented the ITServe Alliance. "On the other hand, it's still fun." Wasden has also filed a series of lawsuits over what he argues are unreasonable delays in the adjudication of H-4 visas for the spouses of H-1B visa holders, which Protocol has covered in depth.

USCIS now has 30 days to appeal the court's decision. For Wasden, that would be a welcome outcome. USCIS' own officer training guidelines regarding how to interpret case law state that "typically, U.S. District Court decisions are not binding on other courts or on you." Wasden said that means the agency may well disregard this decision as it pertains to cases outside of Washington. A circuit court of appeals ruling, on the other hand, could compel the administration to end this practice, not just in D.C., but across the country.

"It would be a birthday present to me if they appeal," Wasden said.

The District Court opinion alone is still an important step. And in the near future, he said, if companies or workers run into similar visa issues, they now know that if they bring a case in Washington, they "have a pretty sure shot of winning."

 

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US suspends J1 visa programme for some applicants in response to Covid-19 outbreak

THE UNITED STATES has temporarily suspended the J1 summer visa programme for some applicants in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

US president Donald Trump declared the novel coronavirus a national emergency last night, when he also announced $50 billion in funds to help fight the pandemic.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, there are 1,663 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US.

Following last night’s announcement, the country’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State said it would temporarily suspend a number of programmes, including the J1 summer visa, for 60 days.

 

In a statement, travel agency USIT – which oversees the administration for the visa in Ireland – said it would examine all applications and provide applicants with guidance in due course.

“We will be in a position to do this once we receive further instruction on how to progress from our US sponsors and we expect to have another update to share with you next week,” the company said.

This afternoon, it also clarified that the move only currently affects those travelling between now and up until 11 May.

The move is likely to affect the travel plans of some Irish students this summer, although USIT said that most students and graduates are travelling after that date, and that it would continue to process applications as normal for departures after then. 

Figures earlier this year showed that more than 3,000 people participated in the programme in 2019, although this represented a drop from 2013, when over 8,000 students travelled to the US for summer work. 

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США временно приостановили выдачу виз

Госдепартамент США принял решение о временной приостановке выдачи туристических и иммиграционных виз из-за вспышки коронавируса. Вместе с тем, по словам официального представителя американского внешнеполитического ведомства Ванессы Эккер, диппредставительства США за границей будут продолжать оказывать услуги по выдаче срочных виз и что услуги для граждан США будут по-прежнему доступны. Когда выдача виз возобновится, пока сказать трудно.

«Госдепартамент принял решение временно остановить процесс выдачи виз, иммиграционных и неиммиграционных. Когда ситуация (с новым коронавирусом – ГА) будет урегулирована, американские посольства и консульства будут работать, как прежде. Необходимо отметить, что если налицо срочная ситуация, когда существует необходимость поехать в США, если человеку нужна виза, то можно позвонить и обратиться в посольство… », – сказала официальный представитель Госдепартамента Ванесса Эккер в эксклюзивном интервью Русской службе «Голоса Америки».

 

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