Significantly fewer start-ups are launched by immigrants today than in 2005. Author and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa explains how it happened.
Small businesses are great. Just ask any politician. They do everything an official loves to boast about: They create jobs, drive innovation and bolster the middle class. So why is the government pursuing policies that actively slow down the formation of new companies?
"When I applied for my green card [in the early 1980s]," Wadwha reports, "there was no backlog, there was no delay in visa processing."
Today the situation is much different, he says:
What happens now is that you decide that you want to become a permanent resident, and your company files for you, and it takes five years, 10 years, 15 years, sometimes 17 or 20 years while you're just stuck in limbo, waiting for that green card. The problem is that, once you have started the process of a green card and you've done the labor certification… you're stuck in that same job. You can't change jobs. In those five, 10, or 15 years, you can't go from being a program analyst to being a project manager. You can't go from being a writer to an editor. You can't change jobs; you're stuck in the same grunt job that you had when you started the process, so people waste their lives in the same tedious jobs that they had before.
JESSICA STILLMAN is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist. @EntryLevelRebel