Creative Class War

In effect, for the first time in our history, we’re saying to highly mobile and very finicky global talent, “You don’t belong here.”

My application for a US work permit has finally been approved. It’s identical to three others I’d submitted successfully over the years, but under the baleful Tom Ridge regime it was rejected at first attempt, causing minor heartflips for me, my boss, and my lawyer.

Next I have to sit an interview for a travel visa. They used to do this as a same day walk-in service at the Dublin embassy, but now the appointment needs to be booked (or cancelled) two weeks in advance on an information line that costs $2.50 per minute. I need a special prepaid envelope for the return of my passport. There’s a $100 charge for the application, plus professional passport photos (no booth photos allowed). The work permit has already cost my employers–a small startup–over three thousand dollars and seven lost weeks of work.

It is impossible to consider living there long-term. From Luke in Toronto, a link to an article that speculates on what this kind of codology is really costing America:

“Creative Class War”

6 thoughts on “Creative Class War”

  1. Actually at Christmas I had to do all that, including listening to a phone call give me information I could have gotten from the web – and knew anyway- at $2.50 a minute and 2 words an hour ; but the application for the travel visa took one day, or just 2 hours really.

    You turn up, go to the booth to give your name and hand in the passport and documentation, are called to be interviewed, and then called again just a bit later with the stamp in the passport.At least that was the case on jan 5th.

    Maybe it’s gotten worse. I have visa issues too which will see me leave here by June, so they lose my tax dollars. The fools.

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  2. I agree — the way they’ve hiked those prices, especially the appointment booking line that uses sleazy-chatline “premium rate” billing, is revolting. I think booking the appointment cost me about 50 euros alone, because of that damn line!

    It’s a very cynical system, especially considering 90% of the people calling that number will be students heading over on their J-1 “working holiday” visas and getting their first taste of the States.

    (Top tip: once you get through, ask the person on the other end for the short cut through the menus; if I recall correctly, there is one, and it’ll save a lot of waiting (and money) in case you have to call again.)

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  3. Eoin, well done on timing, ‘cos they changed the system on Jan 20th! Now they take your passport off you for five business days, and mail it back in a Swiftpost envelope. If you don’t bring a Swiftpost envelope, you lose your place and have to book a new appointment on the psychic hotline.

    This experience, and many others, has really jaundiced my once lovesick view of Amerikay. The new slogan on the embassy site made me laugh (bitterly): “Secure borders, open doors.”

    Bollocks. What enhanced security have they gained by fingerprinting me as a worker, and allowing fellow EU citizens to stroll in undocumented on a visa waiver when they visit as tourists?

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  4. You can thank Bin for a whole lot of this. One of the things terrorists have managed to create ‘ex nihilo’ is a mistrust and lack of goodwill an immigrant might encounter in coming to the US.
    Granted the system was already a hardship before, but now it seems to be goaded on by the paranoia of the futile 9.11 activity.
    Consider this: I’m originally from Nairobi. While it was a hassle to get a visa to the US when I was there, after the US embassy there was bombed it became next to impossible. Besides the fact that all services were shut down for several months, the embassy moved to a far off remote location where no regular civilian could get to it. I’m sure all the Al-Qaeda bitches were happy they managed to kill a couple of Americans but it amounted to a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth for anyone trying to get to the US.

    Not to get political or anything…

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  5. I don’t like what this system and the little tweebs behind it have done to the free-wheeling America I knew as a native. If it’s any comfort, I have bated breath every year my employer promises to renew my Irish work permit. I’d rather do it myself but Michael McDowell’s minions won’t let me.

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  6. And then there is the bright Tibetan girl we can’t get out of Nepal to join her family here (in the US) and get some college. Strictly a visa/quota hassle.

    Congratulations Dervala, on this round of the lottery.

    jol (NOT “joking out loud” about this)

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