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Are regional work visas an option for the future?

When an immigrant moves to Reading to work, he or she does so because the company he or she is working for is located nearby. If, however, that immigrant marries an American citizen and switches to a family based visa, he or she could move anywhere in the United States. Though employment-based visas are not specifically linked to location, they are linked to an employer. So, if an employer only has one location, an immigrant must stay largely in the same place until he or she can naturalize.

There has been some speculation, however, of whether it would be possible or practical to create regional immigration visas, basically giving an immigrant a visa and telling him or her to stay in a specific city. There are some who believe this would attract highly educated and skilled immigrants to a city or region that might otherwise be overlooked.

One of the most notable proponents of this type of visa is the current governor of Michigan. According to the governor, giving immigrants a regional visa to Detroit would revitalize a city that is going through bankruptcy and one that many people believe is dying.


There have been critics of this program and others who wonder if it could work. Some might argue that even if it could work, that the government would never go for it. And, if it works for Detroit, would it be something that could be replicated in cities across the country?

Whether regional visas become just another type of employment-based visa in the future remains to be seen.

Source: Forbes, "Would Letting More Immigrants Into Detroit Mean Building A Giant Fence Around It?" Adam Ozimek, Feb. 7, 2014

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