Living in America Today
While the United States continues to open its door wide to refugees, the invitation does not extend to all comers. America, in common with most other countries, now places restrictions on immigration. The authorities are keen to protect the jobs of American citizens, and as a consequence employers are not allowed to offer jobs to outsiders ('aliens') if there is an American who can do the job just as well. So if you wish to take up employment you need to apply for a visa, and there is absolutely no guarantee that it will be granted.
For many immigrant categories a quota system is in operation, and when the annual quota is reached, applications in the pipeline are held over to the next fiscal year, often resulting in long waits. Yet currently there seem to be plenty of jobs to go around - particularly in the hi-tech industries and nursing - and employers are keen to have quota level raised.
Interestingly enough, the United States is attracting over a million immigrants a year - a greater number than at any time in its history. Nearly eleven million newcomers have made their home here during the past decade - nearly twice as many as in the 1980s and almost three times as many as in the 1970s. The reasons are not hard to find. Many of its industries are the leaders in their particular field and so are its academic institutions. It remains one of the world's leading economies, politically it is the most powerful country on earth and it is a trendsetter in many ways. American commercial interests span the globe and our business culture is strongly influenced by them.
For natives of the UK and Ireland there is a special benefit: it is a home from home - almost. Americans speak English - more or less - whatever George Bernard Shaw might say; American law has its roots in English law; Americans think in terms of pounds, miles, feet and inches; the food is familiar even if chips are called `French fries'; the natives are hospitable and it is a `swell' place to visit.