It seems that more than the usual immigration backlog reduction process has been at work in the USCIS. There are two likely scenarios that appear to be running around immigration circles these days, regarding the Green Card slot tease that has turned into such a furore.
The first is that the Department of State, which issues the Visas, was pressuring the USCIS to fill the Fiscal 2007 Green Card quota, something that has happened rarely in the last few years. What most people in the US don't know is that most years, thousands of eligible Green Card slots simply disappear because the applications can't be processed fast enough by the USCIS.
Recent events have highlighted this, and the Department of State may have applied pressure to USCIS to completely exhaust the 2007 pool, to avoid the embarrassment of having to explain to Congress why they can't process applications faster.
The second reason is greed: as of August 1 2007, the government fees for Green card applications increases massively. For a family of four, the cost will increase by $2,500. So, by not allowing the flood of applications from all of those expectant people, they have guaranteed themselves a higher revenue stream for next year.
All things considered, the whole event smells.
Now, for the long-term affect on skilled immigrants, Microsoft has set the trend by announcing that it will be moving development over the border to Canada [here]. As a country with a skills-based immigration policy, highly-trained technical professionals feel welcomed and wanted in Canada, something that is not the case with the archaic and glacial immigration policy of the United States.
In the next 5-10 years, US companies will face a serious inability to recruit employees from anywhere other than the United States. Skilled professionals will simply not come to a country that actively discourages them from staying permanently and making a contribution.
The US policy policy will be a boon to Canada, Ireland, and other countries who actively seek and encourage skilled professional immigrants.
Tags: USCIS, Department of State, immigration, Green Card, skilled professionals, Canada, Ireland, brain drain