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8 posts • Page 1 of 1
I have wondered how people from Latin America, especially South America, are not able to freely get on a plane and visit the US. They can't take a vacation up here or even visit family. The difficulty lies with getting a visa which is usually denied.
Being an American citizen I can hop on a plane tomorrow and easily enter any country down there. I just take my passport and I'd be good to go. But they don't have the same ease of getting into our country.
Should this change? Why do we make it so hard for people in Latin America to come up here even to visit family members who may be up here or simply to have a family vacation? What other parts of the world are also like this?
If we opened it up, what would happen?
Every independent country has the right to say who can enter its boundaries.
Who a country allows entrance can affect the host country's culture.
Latin America has some depressed economies, a couple of dictatorships, and a few economies that show signs of hope. I guess 90% of Latin American people are poor and would jump at the chance to live in America.
If we opened up, or had visa-free entrance from Latin America, America would go from 310 million to 500 million people in 5 or 10 years. Wages of US citizens would go down. The cost of housing in general would probably increase.
Does this sound beneficial? The reason most visas get denied is lack of ties to the home country compelling return of the applicant. The embassy thinks the visa applicant will not leave America and may become a burden on the society.
Is it fair? No. Some Latin Americans jump the border. Some Europeans overstay their visas. Some Asians are wealthy and can buy US Citizenship or just get an easy visa by showing their wealth. Some people have legitimate invitations from American universities and corporations but still get rejected.
Most developed countries, especially in Europe, are not as strict as America, but they do have paperwork requirements.
Japan allows visitors but makes it near impossible to obtain residency or citizenship. They have their culture and they want to keep it.
Turkey, Hungary and Poland I believe have either rejected African refugees or taken very limited numbers. Not due to racism, but cultural incompatibilities. They see the rapes and bad behavior in Germany and Sweden and would rather slowly integrate newcomers into their societies than be invaded under the pretense of compassion.
Don't forget, countries like Australia and Canada are seeking immigrants to increase their populations, but immigrants must have some skills, not just give me your tired, your poor. That time has past.
Chileans can actually freely visit US under the visa waiver program. I think that's the only Latin American country that gets visa waiver status.
I do think USA is just incredibly overbearing with visas to come here, though. I'm involved a bit in the sport of Olympic style weightlifting, and many athletes got their visas rejected to come here for the world championships here this year, including people who were world champions and Olympic medalists. Some eventually got into the country to compete with some finagling on the American end with our federation, but it's just totally absurd they got denied to me, as some of the guys are millionaires in their home country, and Olympic medalists.
One thing I think USA does do wrong with visa policy is, USA basically does not kick people out fast enough. In USA it's very possible to overstay a tourist visas for basically ever with nobody caring, as only one agency does any immigration law related work (ICE.) Whereas in other countries, their federal police and even local police will enforce immigration law, so if you're caught on an expired visa with even a traffic stop, you're getting detained and going back home. Whereas in USA, you have people often committing felonies here totally illegally without ever having had a visa, that will be released back in the country again instead of being deported instantly like would happen in basically every other country. So the US immigration laws are basically schizophrenic, in that to get into the country legally on a legal visa is super hard, but once you're in the country you can do whatever you want, and within the country you can work, drive with no license forever, etc, and not get deported. Some of it is sort of inherent to the freedom of movement guaranteed in USA for all people, but some is just laziness on the part of local authorities in USA.
This is not true, I am a Japanese permanent resident since more than 30 years, I am EU-citizen.
It is not difficult in Japan to get permanent residence status, if you show up with a good educational background and live in Japan for several years. All what you need is a regular job as a professional with average income. Your working permit can be changed to long-stay and later on to permanent residence status after a few years.
Citizenship is more difficult, as Japan (but some other countries too, like South Korea) do not accept dual citizenship. You have to renounce your former citizenship to receive Japanese nationality.
Most of my friends living in Japan have permanent resident status, which is very convenient, it is almost like citizenship. You can buy your own home and land within residential areas, no working permit required, you can leave Japan up to 1 year without any permit and keep your visa status for life.
You have full Japanese health insurance cover for life. You may invite friends from abroad to visit you if you sign a guarantee letter for their immigration procedure.
However you have no voting rights and in case of a serious crime you will be kicked out of Japan quickly. Otherwise there are very few restrictions, only about certain government related jobs and buying some certain land plots like forests or rice fields.
Other Asian countries are much more restrictive. For example in Thailand even permanent resident status is difficult to get, China is not known to be friendly and offers citizenship. Laos the same etc.
Working permits for any professional usually for 1 year are not difficult to get in Japan, but other Asian countries are not so welcoming.
In Thailand, if you have your own money from abroad, you can buy your own condominium and if you are 50+, you might qualify for retirement visa, 12-months, multiple entry. However you have to report your address every 90 days, and apply for extension every year.
You could say the same about almost all citizens who are holding nationality of a developed country.
Check out visa regulations about Japan or about Norway or Australia. It's not only about USA.
On the other side, it's not only about low-income countries in Latin America, but also about countries with a huge population, low income and low education - and not to talk about religion and political reason - Bangladesh come to my mind, Iran, of course North Korea and so on, a long list.
Chinese from mainland appear in Japan often in large numbers, many are serious and financially OK, but others are illegals and their documents are well-known to be nothing but fakes.
The difference is about economic reasons - if you come from USA or Norway or Australia, you bring money from your country to another in general, but if you come from Bangladesh or Sudan or Venezuela, you arrive with nothing and expect in most cases, that the rich countries will care for you.
Population plays also a major role, illegal mass immigration from poor countries is now a serious issues. They all come as tourists or refugees but overstay for years. Many do not hold any documents at all.
If you are holding any citizenship from Western developed countries, I see not much difference between visa procedures between USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Norway, EU etc. - Some allow you to stay for a short while visa-free, others like USA and Australia require you to apply for a visa or submit a form for a so-called 'visa-waiver' in advance, but if there is not any serious concern about a certain individual like a criminal background, it's easy to get permission to enter these countries.
I am not advocating citizenship or immigration. I am talking about family vacations. There are a lot of people in Latin American who can afford to take their families up to the US to tour the Grand Canyon, see family in Texas, or go see New York City for a week vacation. But they can't do this because of how the US visa process works. It needs to be modernized. I completely agree with the idea that obtaining US citizenship should be difficult and that we should screen those who are seeking citizenship, but what about simple vacations? Not everyone is clamoring to live here; some Latin American countries are doing well and many women I have met down there are doing great in their careers and are happy with their professional and family lives in their home countries.
If I establish a real relationship with a woman in a country like Colombia I want her to be able to visit me for a week or two. I can show her some national parks and some of my family. But as everything stands now it takes an act of Congress and a lot of luck just for someone to come here for a brief period.
There are a lot of factors that go into why certain countries have high visa refusal rates. Chief among them are rate of visa overstay and poverty, both of which are high in Latin America.
In my experience, even those Latins who are affluent and with means in their home countries have rates higher than comparable individuals in the rest of the world. For that reason, it is difficult to secure a US visa for those from Latin countries.
It is one of those things where the few ruin it for the majority of honest people who intend to leave the US when required.
A friend of mine said that if we were to open ourselves up more, then we would attract more of the problems from these countries, namely drugs, prostitution, human trafficking, etc which I suppose is true as well. I just wish we could find a way to make this work.