Online Immigration and Travel Resources

I found this thread on Hacker News quite informative.

If you are seeking to travel to the US, particularly given all the uncertainty now, you might want to check these resources out:

Stack Exchange Expatriates

Stack Exchange Travel

Visa Journey

Candle For Love

The Arrived Mobile App

Anyone who works in the tech sector knows and cares about people here in the US on visas and other immigration related paperwork. It’s a anxiety filled time for these people and I feel for them. They need our help and our support and our empathy.

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jake Baker

    Thanks for sharing!Minor error — Candle for Love links to Visa Journey — correct link is:

  2. Twain Twain

    Thanks, you’re a super star for startups.What Trump may not be aware of is that H1B visa folks are not getting things easy. Their spouses are often in dire situations where they may have good qualifications from their home countries and yet cannot get even a dish-washing job in the US.*

    1. Seine

      this was true before

    2. Dennis Mykytyn

      How about reserving 50% of H1B visas for women? Seems fair, and maybe it would help address the lack of women in silicon valley. I bet right now well over 90% go to men.

      1. Twain Twain

        This is from Amazon’s recent AI training day. There were about 280 people and 5 or so female engineers.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…We have panels deciding how to teach AI right from wrong and language that have 0 women. Folks are completely overlooking the fact that our human intelligence is taught right from wrong and language with the help of MOTHERS & FATHERS from the start!https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Is 50:50 realistic, achievable and fair? Not necessarily. The ratio should be proportionally representative of the number of male and female workers with appropriate technical educations and skills in demand.

        1. Dennis Mykytyn

          If you want it to change H1B from overwhelmingly male, you have to force it. What you are saying will more or less lock it in based on what it is now. Require 50/50 and you will start to see many smart women (from India, Russia, China, etc) start showing up. The tech sector has shown little indication of changing on their own.

          1. Twain Twain

            Thanks, Dennis. The problems are deeper-rooted than quotas.I focus on how to MAKE THE CODE MORE REPRESENTATIVE & DIVERSE.@pointsnfigures:disqus — Thanks, 50% intake’s a great start. Here’s hoping they stay the course and don’t leak through the pipeline and that they make real changes to persistent biases and non-sensical frameworks like these: https://uploads.disquscdn.c

        2. JamesHRH

          I was going to go w 90% seems low…….but I think you proved my point.

  3. curtissumpter

    I have to ask …How much of these posts are “love and support” and how much is pure financial interest?

    1. David C. Baker

      Huh? I don’t know how you could consistently read this blog and question Fred’s motives our outlook on life, entrepreneurship, enterprise, and commitment to what’s right. We all have differing perspectives at various points on the political spectrum, but that’s a bit out of line, me thinks.

      1. curtissumpter

        Why? Why is this out of line?Fred is a major VC and the tech industry benefits greatly from current immigration policy.What’s odd to me is to be a part of a community of critical thinkers and then criticize someone for thinking critically.When did thinking and asking the obvious question become out of line? This is how political correctness works to prematurely truncate a conversation. I think using PC to censor ideas is not out of line. I think it’s a tragedy.

        1. LE

          You stated the point nicely enough and it’s a reasonable question to ask or a statement to make.Nobody should need to walk on eggshells the way I see it.I benefit from tech but nowhere near as much as some others do. So this entire issue to me isn’t as important as it is to others I am sure. In all honestly this isn’t something I give a great deal of thought to.What’s odd to me is to be a part of a community of critical thinkers and then criticize someone for thinking critically.Sometimes people feel insecure if they are challenged because they don’t know how to use words to respond.

        2. Sebastian Wain

          Thinking critically in Internet is about discussing the point of the blog post, not the writer. There are zillions of blogs to choose from and attention is one of the most scarce resources.

          1. LE

            Thinking critically in Internet is about discussing the point of the blog post, not the writer.I never heard that ‘rule’. [1][1] Not to mention that movie and music critics often discuss directors, producers and so on. NY Times media critics discuss NY Times and other writers. If someone writes they are open to having things questioned. Not a rule, but the way I see it.

          2. Sebastian Wain

            I never said it was a rule but discussing the author motives is an ad hominem fallacy in this context.

          3. LE

            He questioned to what extent what he was saying was driven by financial considerations vs. compassion.This would be similar to you asking if I was defending him because you had reason to believe that I had something to gain by doing so. I could both have something to gain and think he is right.Separately, in the world it’s often about persuading others. As such using words to do so is the game and the vast majority of people I can assure you have never heard of an ad hominem and wouldn’t care if even if they did know what it was. That’s something that is employed by intellectuals prior to the internet and others in online communities today.Separately I do think that the overwhelming amount of Fred’s intent is love and support.

          4. Sebastian Wain

            Sorry, I didn’t clarify that I am an intellectual, but beyond that, your point brings a lot of relativism about discussions. We can use words to persuade people that are not appropriate based on different standards.

        3. Twain Twain

          The skills shortage outside of Silicon Valley and in Rustbelt areas like Michigan, with Labor Bureau stats on how many US engineers are graduating:*…It’s not only a US issue. The economic need for technically-skilled workers applies globally:*…So the US is competing with countries in Europe, South America and Asia Pacific for that talent.

          1. pointsnfigures

            The University of IL will graduate 2500 computer scientists this year. Their incoming freshman class in engineering was 50% female.

          2. JamesHRH

            That’s really interesting. I graduated from Law School at a moment in history where classes started to be 50/50. Its dramatically impacted the profession.

          3. ShanaC


    2. PhilipSugar

      The reality is this. If you hire engineers you are going to have non U.S. born people in your office. We currently have 25% of people in our office that do not speak English at home. We only speak English in the office.Great.Now if we want to talk about offshoring, and outsourcing companies that bring people in on “Visa Mills” we can talk. But the fact is if you are a good engineer in the U.S. you can command a great salary. If we can get some of those jobs back from places that outsource I am game.The other end of the spectrum is also true. If we didn’t have immigrants (and Illegals) doing maid service, dish washing, brick laying, landscaping etc, our life would drastically change.Now if we want to talk about people that milk the system? Great.But the fact is this: Instead of vilifying each side people need to have a reasonable talk, which just is not happening.

      1. curtissumpter

        I don’t think my statement is vilifying anyone.But the extreme sensitivity to the question speaks volumes.”Methinks thou dost protest too much”The question is simple. Is all this outpouring of grief for the immigrant community, all of these donations and righteous indignation really just a product of capitalistic self interest or is it really born out of human concern?As for illegal immigrants doing low wage jobs, for capitalists some capitalists really don’t believe in capitalism. If there is a constraint in supply and demand stays current then the solution is to pay more in wages, not to import illegal immigrants and permanently suppress wages.The same should happen for engineers but what’s really happening is price fixing among the major tech firms and the minor one’s should have to incentivize engineers more with more equity, etc. It really ought to lead to a more egalitarian structure.But none of those things are happening. That’s why I question the motives of immigration reform evangelists.

        1. PhilipSugar

          I’m not upset. The wages are six figures for the high end jobs and they are in the $10-$15 range for low end jobs. Bottom line without immigrants employers could not find takers for either, one for lack of skill, the other for lack of desire.

          1. curtissumpter

            We’ll have to agree to disagree. If there were no illegal immigrants and you paid people $40 dollars an hour they’d clean your house.And as for skill, Mark Zuckerberg, American. Evan Spiegal, American. Evan Williams, American. Steve Wozniack (remember him? … oh … American), Jeff Bezos (American) … man this is getting repetitive.

          2. ShanaC

            Probably not. This is why there are robots for vacuuming, and pictures of cats on top of them flooding the internet.And Just because you haven’t heard of them, doesn’t mean there are not important tech companies founded by immigrants.Take Ayasdi – you probably haven’t heard of them, because unless you are in a big business, or work for the government, and need an automated way to do AI and visualize it while you are at it, you would have no need to have heard of this company. They specialize in something called topological data analysis. It is one of the unicorn companies, and will probably end up being worht more than Snapchat, due the unique nature of their work and because they really stacked their talent from the beginning. They are one of the few startups of the past decade to be funded by DARPA, and one of their go to market examples actually helped progress our knowledge of cancer significantly.The founder and CEO, Gurjeet Singh, was born in Indian, and came here on an education visa.

          3. curtissumpter

            You know what’s funny? I asked if the original post by FW was about empathy or capitalism.Every single response I’ve received was about capitalism. Not one, not a single one talked about empathy.I’d just like for people to be honest about their motives and not clothe them in these ‘making the world a better place’ terms when it really has nothing to do with the ideallic terms and has much more to do with ROI.The problem is no one is going to march for ROI.To put it in terms of a game that I think is very prescient:THE CAKE IS A LIE.

          4. ShanaC

            I’m so confused about cake.And the reason everyone is talking about capitalism is you started out talking about capitalism. If you wanted an empathetic response, I would have quoted Emma Lazarus:The New ColossusNot like the brazen giant of Greek fame,With conquering limbs astride from land to land;Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall standA mighty woman with a torch, whose flameIs the imprisoned lightning, and her nameMother of Exiles. From her beacon-handGlows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes commandThe air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.”Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries sheWith silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”…(pro tip if you have never been to NYC, since I don’t know who you are: The best views of the statue of liberty is on the staten island ferry.)

          5. curtissumpter

            I didn’t start off by talking about capitalism. I asked about whether the motive was capitalism or empathy. It was a question.”GATT will be great for American workers.” – The Cake is a Lie”NAFTA will be great for American workers.” – The Cake is a Lie”TPP will be great for American workers.” – The Cake is a Lie”Immigration Reform will be great for American Workers.” – The Cake is a Liehttp://www.urbandictionary….And by the way I’m from New York. And I’m familiar with Emma Lazarus. The assumption of the poem is that “Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” are from elsewhere.What about when they’re your neighbors? What do you do then?

          6. PhilipSugar

            Oh, now on this we totally agree, except for the last line, on Immigration Reform that is nuanced.If you work in America you are an American Worker. Paying taxes, contributing.I have said dozens of times as a business owner: double the corporate tax rate and give a $10k direct credit for every full time worker you pay $15+ hour with benefits

          7. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          8. PhilipSugar

            I work with Tradespeople almost every day. Plumbers, Electricians, Drywallers, etc. They cannot find enough people willing to work hard and get the job done.You are talking about enablement not empathy. I can be empathetic and still fire you because you are not doing your job.I can be empathetic and not hire you because you haven’t learned the skills.I think this is the biggest problem with the “everybody gets a trophy” generation. Nope everybody doesn’t.They look at jobs that they don’t want because they are to hard and don’t pay enough, and those pay enough and the want to do but they can’t.That’s a tough lesson to learn when it counts not when it doesn’t.Love and support does not mean you support your kids for their entire lives. It means you give them the opportunity as best you can.

          9. JamesHRH

            This is absolutely incorrect. I have tried to hire people to clean our house and the $40 / hr ones (thru an agency) are almost all immigrants.Here in Canada, our massive coffee chain – Tim Hortons (think Dunkin Donuts with 10,000 US outlets) – anecdotally, has maybe 10% CDN born employees.

          10. curtissumpter

            Do they pay a living wage?

          11. JamesHRH

            Not sure if that can be defined, its a big country with widely differentiated standards of living.If you are asking, is it $40 / hour, no chance. But, you don’t even see HS kids working there any more.

          12. curtissumpter

            Like I said, it’s capitalism.I find it extremely peculiar that a community of ideas is so reluctant to apply the basic supply-demand-price curve, Econ 101, to workers.It only works when we’re talking about founders and wealthy people but when you try to apply the exact same idea to workers it’s always the same response:Well that just doesn’t hold true in this instance.But not one person can tell me why.

        2. Cam MacRae

          I’m delighted to read this thread and see someone asking the right questions.My suspicion is that it’s a bit of both — that there are limits to the permitted extent of exploitation.

  4. pointsnfigures

    Clearly, US immigration is broken. Obama didn’t fix it and in the first two weeks of his administration, neither has Trump. It was broken before Obama, and before Bush, and before Clinton etc…Want to fix it? Read Gary Becker. The more I see plans and outlines, and proposed walls, the more I think Becker is right.

    1. Ana Milicevic

      This already exists on the higher end of the spectrum w/ a variety of investor visas, commonly known as ‘greenbacks for greencards’. Prices start at a reasonable one time payment of $500k (reasonable as far as these things go in similar Western countries and since it can be for a real-estate purchase it really translates to ponying up enough cash for a 6-7 year window of time, after which you get it back and, if investment is doing well, make some money while you’re at it) and provide a very easy on-ramp to citizenship within 5 years. Here’s an interesting analysis w/ examples of how that tends to play out in practice:…The better longer-term solution on the lower end of the spectrum would be investing in neighboring countries, alleviating poverty, and expanding education globally among low-skilled workers (so that their next generation doesn’t need to continue the low-skill pattern). In other words, by lessening the need for low-skilled to migrate in the first place.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Becker mentions $50k, not $500!

        1. Ana Milicevic

          My point was that this approach was already regulated and established for those w/ means. For everyone else a country w/ points-based vs familial immigration (like Canada or New Zealand) would already be a far better choice than we would.

          1. pointsnfigures

            Becker makes it transparent. He also doesn’t care who pays. If Microsoft wants an employee bad enough, they will pay.

    2. Sam

      Here’s a link to the paper the talk is based on: “Prof. Becker proposes that visas to work in the UK should be sold off. The coalition’s immigration cap scheme could be amended using this proposal to ensure that the most suitable immigrants are allowed in. The people willing to pay the most to live in the UK are likely to be the same people who would contribute most to our economy.”Decent overview of the rationale (around 10 thought-provoking points) are at the link above. With a few modifications to acknowledge the reality that it’s often families that relocate, not individuals, could work well.Thanks, Jeff.

    3. ShanaC

      we basically do this by pushing it into a secondary market of who can pay more expensive lawyers the most money to do this the fastest.Decapping, proving real need through making it difficult to apply, not through actual visa limits, moving these people off of h1-b1 quickly once they have “integrated” for the long term in the US (get a mortgage, get a green card, you are clearly not just here to work and do nothing else, for example), and allowing resale of time remaining on h1-b1 visa holders who moved to green cards/unused applications in a real secondary market, would probably solve the problem faster.With all due respect to Professor Becker. Law firms and what we pay them could be seen as the market he talks about often.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Layering on service providers increases fees and grafts. Becker envisions a transparent marketplace eliminating layers of distribution.

  5. Stephen Howard-Sarin

    Fred, the HREF for “Candle For Love” is

  6. Ana Milicevic

    I’d really like to get some clarity on what rights one has when a traveler (US citizen or otherwise) is interacting with customs and immigration officials at points of entry. This especially applies to those taken into secondary screening areas and detained. What rights and under which regulation is search, seizure, and right to consult council (including a diplomatic/consular representative, if applicable) granted and administered? What is the legality of requesting access to a traveler’s electronic devices, including any cloud accounts that may be connected to it. If anyone’s aware or knows someone who’d be able to shed some light please pass it along.

      1. Ana Milicevic

        Thanks. The 2nd link contains more of what I was looking for although there’s so much more to clarify. When you arrive at any int’l airport you are technically between countries – as you have left the one you’ve come from, and haven’t entered the one you’re arriving to yet, so it’s not clear which jurisdiction applies (or to whom – are rules different for citizens of arrival country or same for everyone?). Ample opportunity for mis-representation and abuse of power by individual agents.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Take it from somebody whose passport has extra pages. You don’t have the same rights as the person that holds citizenship. That holds true for all countries. You can be denied entry. That doesn’t matter if I’m going to Canada or Australia (had issues at both).Coming back into the U.S., different story as a U.S. citizen.This is not a Trump issue. It has been this way since I started traveling extensively in 1989. I travel extensively with non U.S. citizens our entry is very different depending on if I am going to their country or they are going to mine. That is why there are different lines at EVERY country.

          1. Ana Milicevic

            Well aware – I was (and still am) specifically asking about US ports of entry.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Ahhh. Like Singapore or Doha. We don’t have that in the U.S. You enter in the U.S. even in transit. Singapore you don’t enter if you are going to let’s say Australia or Malaysia or Indonesia. It is called “sterile travel” we don’t have that.

        2. jason wright

          An airport is not an embassy.

          1. Ana Milicevic

            Who suggested it was?

    1. ShanaC

      so would I, now that I think about it. Like is what is happening at the border (taking away phones, denying counsel) legal?This is really confusing

      1. JamesHRH

        I had a friend who worked CDN Border Services during law school. The attitude on the line was ‘we do not need no stinking’ badges.’ They have almost unlimited discretion to deny entry to non-citizens.The other issues are more, I believe, a contextual dynamic. I am pretty sure you can get up and leave a Border Services office, if your plan is to not enter the states and get back on a plane. But, that’s easier said than done.As a non-citizen and non-resident (you are not in the country until they say so), my guess is not that they have unfettered authority but that you have very few rights.

        1. ShanaC

          limbo both in theology and in travel never struck me as a good idea.

          1. JamesHRH

            oddly enough, the only good time to adopt limbo as a state, is when you are lost in the woods.Its the best advice…when you realize you are lost, stop and wait (applies to other life situations too).People who come looking for you can’t track the choices you make, so stay as close as possible to the last place you were sighted.

          2. ShanaC

            Maybe – are you suggesting we should adopt it now as a social solution to get through whatever this state of america is in?

          3. JamesHRH

            No, the current Administration is anything but lost. They are in Friday Night Football mode: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.Trump is going to radically remake the American Federal Government. There is no limbo about it.If you feel lost personally, because of a change in government, I don’t know what to tell you.

  7. jason wright

    is the H1B 14 days to leave rule fair?

    1. Twain Twain

      If the H1B person has a family and kids in school who’ve established roots (school friends, etc) and who need to be enrolled elsewhere, the 14 days is probably much more of problem than the H1B person who’s single and can fit all their worldly belongings into 3 suitcases.To be sure, doing what’s “fair” according to some probability distribution of average days to sell up everything and fly out may not be the optimal approach.

      1. PhilipSugar

        This has always been at least since 1992 the abusive part. It is why you get single men versus families. I agree on the wife situation as I’ve said. It is why you get men, because its too hard for families until you are established. Then they bring over a wife and they are screwed for a long period of time.If your employer threatens to fire or lay you off you have to go in a ridiculously low amount of time. Give people six months, I am ok. Talent will find jobs. This is the 21st century equivalent of indentured servitude. Now understand if you have a good reputation then you can win, just like USV, but it can be ugly.

  8. curtissumpter

    The cake is a lie.

    1. ShanaC

      what cake?

      1. curtissumpter

        Google it. It’s become an meme. It’s an idea that ‘if you follow this one amazing idea told to you by people who know or authorities it will work out for everyone.’ But it doesn’t.The cake is a lie.

  9. EuropeanSmartass

    An industry that cannot thrive without importing resources from another country without really giving anything in return. Used to be called colonization, now I think it’s called migration or free movement.Skimming the cream of human resources off countries that could well use their own nurses, doctors, engineers etc.No sustainable business model, sorry.Try to see it the other way round : if people are worried about the effects of immigrants, what is happening to the countries and communities people are emigrating from?