Friday, 12 June 2015

Getting To The Land of Milk and Honey

I work with a few people from the Indian sub continent these days. One of the surprising things about them is that they have mostly already worked in the US, or plan to do so at some time. When I asked what about getting a 'green card', I was surprised at the fact that they considered obtaining one of these to be a foregone conclusion.

I questioned this, as in the UK getting a US 'green card' is often very difficult, and you usually need work sponsors, and a high level of work qualifications (unless you are an entertainer, comedian or artist .... in which case qualification requirements seem to dip alarmingly .... See Russell Brand as an example).

USA. Land of Milk and Honey for some .....

However, it seems that in getting from India to the USA, the path is so well established now, that anyone claiming to have an IT skill can almost be assured of getting a green card, either by simply applying directly or more normally through sponsored employment. This sponsorship seems to come via US companies outsourcing IT development to Indian firms, who naturally use Indian employees at cheaper rates than US contractors, and thus get green cards for Indian/Asian nationals.

This practise is now so common, that most Indian IT professionals can get in to the US (or UK) that way, if not by the more direct application route. One of the men I work with, already has his brother and his best friend working over in the USA on green cards, and although he says he is not so keen on joining them, he foresaw no problem doing so if he wanted to. His main objections to such a move were healthcare and education costs for his kids, as no one sane and with enough funds, sends their kids in to the public school system in the US anymore, apparently.

And therein lies the USA's and UK's problem it seems ... both the US and UK are simply not producing the sort of skilled, IT literate workers, via the public schooling system, in great enough numbers to fill the skilled vacancies in our economy. This situation can never be tackled with our 'one size fits all' education systems, which naturally leads to the lowest standards. This is in stark contrast with the competitive Asian education systems, which ironically are copied from our 1950's grammar school days, before 'educationalists' and politicians started to break that system up. So now we leave a path that a coach and camel can ride through in our immigration rules, and this has now become a thoroughfare down which tens of thousands are travelling from south Asia to both the US and UK.

Whilst this is great for the students of the Indian continent and other countries in Asia generally, it’s still its a sad indictment on the way we have eroded our schooling system, with its post-war emphasis on the arts and humanities, rather than science, engineering and technology. Of course the sad side effect of this is that whilst Asian graduates can go to the USA to work, live and emigrate, with comparative ease, the UK only seems to send idiots in the form of 'entertainers', or old footballers looking to live their version of the 'American Dream', and take a dollop of cream to top the slice of apple pie of their millionaire savings.

Don't get me wrong, the USA isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea (or coffee for that matter), and in fact if you have any socialist leanings, politically the USA is not the place for you (even the left side of the Democratic Party is to the right of the UK Labour Party), but for those who would love to go and live there, the UK education system has reduced those chances, by failing to provide enough graduates in many of the economically relevant areas, or general students with the qualifications that are needed to open up well paid job opportunities in the US.

As for me, well time was against me, and I am too old now to get sponsored into the USA, so the schoolboy 'dream' has gone (unless I write a novel, or maybe a few jokes), but for others, those who are now at school, the chances are still there but only if they realise now, that if you want to live in the US, Canada or Australia, then the best route is via science, engineering and technology.

The American Dream can still be yours, but only if you work as hard at school as Indian and Asian kids do ..... the land of milk and honey has to be worked for these days.

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