I for one am really excited about this whole W visa that the government has now been all but approved. For those who are unaware, the W visa is basically a new visa program starting in 2015 that will allow foreign workers in low-skill jobs to legally work in the USA and offer them a path to citizenship. I am excited for a number of reasons.
No, not because it is in any way going to affect my status in this country; that would be asking too much. Now before I get ahead of myself, I guess I should take a moment to breakdown exactly what this new visa is. At the risk of stating the obvious, a visa is not just a type of credit card. It is a stamp in your passport that allows immigrants such as myself the privilege of being in this country.
Unfortunately for me, the creation of the W visa has no bearing on my life whatsoever. I happen to fall under the category of what you would call a “skilled” worker. Not skilled enough to be considered “extraordinary,” which would allow me to qualify for an O visa, but also not “unskilled” enough to qualify for the W. It’s always gratifying to know that your education is actually working against you.
Until of course my ramblings in the New York Minute Mag put me in contention to win a Nobel Prize for literature, it appears that I will be stuck in that meaty part of the bell curve. It’s like school all over again, where only the really good kids or the really bad ones get special treatment. When you’re in the middle or “average” no one cares.
The best that people like me can hope for is the dreaded H1-B visa. I won’t even bother getting into the complexity of obtaining this category of work visa, but let me put it like this, these days you probably have a better chance of getting H1N1 (swine flu) than getting an H1-B.
Of course I realize that for the majority of people who are reading this, all this talk of visas is an issue you’ve never had to deal with when it comes to traveling. To this point W, J, F, O, R, and H, have been little more than letters of the alphabet to you. For people like me though they are a way of life.
I basically need a visa just to go to the bathroom, which makes planning any kind of international travel a royal pain in the derriere. There are no spontaneous getaways because everything requires considerable planning ahead and applying for a visa. That’s a major buzz-kill.
In reality, the only benefit I get from this new visa is “trolling” through the comments people post on the online articles. I don’t know about anyone else but that’s usually my favorite part of any big news story. They run the gamut from racist to ridiculous and all stops in-between. It’s amazing the things people will say when they have the luxury of hiding behind a computer screen.
And let’s be honest, as much as people are going to fuss and complain about “foreigners” taking jobs away from Americans, most of these jobs are ones that the average American does not want to do. Throw in the fact that when this visa comes into effect, the government is now going to be able to collect tax on the millions of illegal workers who had not been taxable up to this point. You can start to see the real motivation behind this new visa.
The people who really have a legitimate beef are those who are caught in the meaty part of the curve. You’re neither skilled nor unskilled enough to have a fair shot, which kind of sucks, but c’est la vie, you can’t win them all.
I guess the moral of this story for anyone looking to apply for a visa to the States anytime soon is that you have two options: either be exceptional or be mediocre, but whatever you do don’t ever settle for being average…
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