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How to earn 'points' under Trump immigration plan? (cnn.com)
33 points by gopi on Aug 4, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 70 comments

Some quick math for an "average" college grad:

- [Age] 22-25: +8

- [Education] Foreign BS: +5

- [English] 90th percentile (108 or more on TOEFL [0]): +11

This amounts to 24 points, needing 6 more to achieve 30. A job offer of 150% the median household income of the state is only +5 points, so the candidate would need a 200% offer. This means, using 2015 data [1]:

- California: $64.5k -> $129k

- Washington: $64k -> $128k

- New York: $61k -> $122k

- Massachussets: $70k -> $140k

The numbers above are, obviously, higher than average, but certainly reachable for excellent software engineers at big companies. (It is unclear to me if other compensation components such as stocks/equity count toward the 200%.)

However, if such candidate reaches the age of 26, earns a foreign MS in a STEM field, or obtains a perfect TOEFL score, thus earning an additional point or two, then she would need a job offer equivalent to only 150% the median household income.


[0]: https://magoosh.com/toefl/2015/whats-your-toefl-percentile/

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income

I am a bit curious about the 90th percentile tho.

  "Anyone with less than a 60th percentile proficiency gets no points. Between 60th and 80th percentile is worth six points, someone in the 80th to 90th percentile range earns 10 points, someone with a 90th percentile proficiency or above earns 11 points, and someone in the 100th percentile range earns 12 points"
I can't understand if it means, on a test with 1000 points, for the 90th percentile:

1.) you scored at least 900 points.


2.) you did better than 90% of the persons that took the test (That's what I understand by percentile. But it doesn't make sense since mathematically you can't have a 100th percentile. Except if you approximate 99.995 -> 100)

I'm a bit curious as to whether or not you're going to get marked down for spelling colour with a u.

A 100th percentile would probably mean a perfect score on the exam.


Thanks (: It does make sense to me with the values now

I interpret "100th percentile range" to mean the 1 percent of the population that is above the 99th percentile.

For all you non-Nobel-Price holders that aren't uneducated and want to live somewhere else: Germany welcomes you. Actually, having a bachelor's degree in the STEM field almost automatically gets you a visa for "searching work" for 6-12 months. If in that time you find a job that pays at least ca. 40.000 Euro, you get the "BlueCard" which leads to permanent residency after 2-4 years (depending on your German skills). If you are well qualified, but not in the STEM fields, about 60.000€ yearly salary paves the way. There is no point system, there is no maximum number of BlueCards, you don't have to be the best of the best (just "regular" well educated people) and you get your shot. We are just going through the process with a family member of my wife and it is surprisingly painless compared to most other German bureaucracy. In contrast to the USA, Germany is actively searching for more talent abroad and has reasonable acceptance criteria (never thought I would say this about my country...).

When I was backpacking, I entered Germany without a definite exit date and with no onward travel booked. Upon hearing this, the immigration official gave me a hard stare, and let me sweat for what felt like ages. He then cracked a smile and told me to visit the Foreigners Office if I wanted to stay for longer, or look for work. While I doubt that's the normal experience, including finding an immigration official with a sense of humour, I found Germany to be pretty flexible in this regard.

What is your nationality?

Come to India. The demographic dividend of having a captive and growing billion strong market coupled with a vibrant media and democratic institutions make this a no brainer.

Plus, once you make a name for yourself in India, the rest of the third world is yours for the taking.

FD - See other comment about H1B holder fucking off back home to India to grow my company.

India doesn't seem like an ideal location based on the number of tech emigrants going to other countries. What do you think of this phenomenon? Is there a reasonable explanation that doesn't try to skew it as "They are adventurous and want to experience other cultures"?

I'm going to take some guesses for why entrepreneurs are choosing other countries over india but I'd rather talk about why I am going back...

Their reasons could be one or more of these:

- India is messy, idiosyncratic, language is a barrier, it's a tech backwater despite all the BPO/Backoffice work being shipped there, no one cool who doesn't already have roots in India is in India, Indians aren't ready to spend money, Indian money is less valuable because of capital controls, questionable public safety and health standards

What I am seeing are signs of green grass in the barren indian startup landscape -

1. There is HUGE pent up demand internet access as evidenced by the blockbuster launch of Reliance Jio

2. I come from a real small (even by western standards) town in eastern India. People from my hometown are on Tinder! I cannot begin to tell you how shocking this is for how conservative that part of the country is.

3. Lots of in-country migration: Our generation (1980-) has totally upended the way Indians live. They are relocating to different parts of the country, they are marrying people they'd NEVER ever meet a generation ago - its a beautiful sight to behold.

4. they have disposable money for experiential holidays

I'm sure there are a million reasons why Startup Chile or France are more attractive to the average entrepreneur. Give India a look is all I'm saying. You're leaving a billion people on the table when you don't consider the Indian subcontinent in your international expansion plans. Amidst all the craziness and weird English, you'll find people who are grateful your product reached them.

(Not an economist. Current h1b visa holder about to leave the US to grow my company in India.)

A country whose indigenous population growth is stagnating, whose indigenous population does currently not pick up all available jobs, whose economy is 6x as big as Canada and Australia combined is choosing to turn away immigrants.

From a purely numerical standpoint, an 18T dollar economy built by 330M individuals will start to become unstable if the population starts falling and aging. This is a distinct possibility when you only invite highly educated, skilled immigrants since education negatively correlates to family sizes. Falling population will be another reason to push for more automation (see Japan) leading to wage stagnation.

America, be careful what you wish for. Read this demographic report. It's eye opening. Childbirth rates are 1.82. If you bring in Nobel prize winners, you'll get brainy people who will not beget brainy kids.


America isn't turning away Nobel Prize winners. This system is open to those who are educated and/or skilled. It's difficult for those who aren't.

Many countries have similar immigration standards. It's only when America does it that people get angry. It's quite difficult for skilled workers to get visas to the EU. Far harder than it is for Europeans to move to America.

I can't speak for most of the EU, but I know that for the UK, it's a lot of paperwork, but overall not difficult to get a visa if you have a job offer from a UK employer and they've sponsored visas before.

And while not a part of the EU, it's quite straightforward to get a visa for Norway if you have a job offer in IT or other professional fields, with the major exception being healthcare, where it can be difficult to get your credentials recognized, and you have to pass an exam showing proficiency in Norwegian.

Nobel prize winners on down, the more educated you are, the less likely you are to have children. The fewer children you have, the less likely it is that your population levels will stay stable and not decline. A declining population will lead to stressed in the the economy because there will be fewer buyers, fewer producers, fewer young people and so on.

I for one, am not angry that America is debating this policy. They are entitled to it. I'm adding my voice to the debate with points which favor a liberal, come-one-come-all immigration policy.

The fact educated people aren't having children is a global phenomenon. The US relying on poor, undereducated immigrants is a temporary solution for what is becoming a bigger problem by the day as more and more countries become developed.

We need to start wondering why educated people aren't reproducing and work to fix that, instead of hoping there will forever be at least one impoverished country to do the reproducing for us.

I don't think you realize the unfeasibility of you're suggesting. You're asking for

1. 15-20% of the world which have higher education degrees to have enough kids to carry the burden of the remaining 80-85%

2. You're also asking that same 15-20% of the educated world to voluntarily have more children with the knowledge that some of them will have to do less than salubrious work.

Would you take on such a burden yourself?

Developed countries as a whole have dropping birth rates. Europe, America, and East Asia are facing an impending crisis because their birth rates are dropping so fast.

The current solution is "don't worry just bring in poor people." The problem is as the countries those immigrants come from develop, not only do the birth rates of those countries drop, but those people have less reason to migrate since their home is good enough. It's why Americans don't emigrate. It's why Japanese emigration dropped off a cliff.

Loose immigration is a bandage and people who think otherwise don't realize the long term unfeasibility of what they're suggesting. Maintaining local birth rates is going to be a colossal problem 50 years from now, and immigration to Western countries will be less of a solution as Asian/African economies grow and become more desirable places to live.

And it seems you're trying to make it sound like I was saying that the highly educated need to reproduce more than anyone else. That isn't at all what I'm saying. The problem is developed countries as a whole have falling birth rates. We need to find a solution to the whole educated population=dropping population problem and find out how to stabilize it.

> Maintaining local birth rates is going to be a colossal problem 50 years from now

Evolution and natural selection would solve that problem: children of people who have more kids - are more likely to have kids themselves.

>It's only when America does it that people get angry.


> ...whose indigenous population does currently not pick up all available jobs

Aren't U.S. companies responsible for retraining workers to meet their needs? Are U.S. companies entitled to business models that aren't supported by U.S. demographics?

The idea that employers should just import workers doesn't help underemployed citizens. And it doesn't improve wages of employed citizens.

Fruit picking (which the indigenous population doesn't want to do) is one such business model. Nothing is more nationalistic than living off the land of that nation and that is something native born Americans don't want to do.

You can't train away reluctance.

You can pay better.

You can do a lot of things including eating ONLY lab grown food but will you do it or not is the question.

If natives don't want to pick the fruit (ignoring the cost question) then the fruit just doesn't get picked? Perhaps fruit growing in USA is simply not a viable business, importing underpaid laborers (frequently illegally) is not the correct solution to this non-problem.

A direct outcome of such a choice will be that biodiversity dies out. If produce in America is expensive to produce, your solution will let it go extinct. Extending this train of thought, as different areas of the world become wealthy, their flora will succumb to market pressures of the type you're envisioning.

In the end, everyone will be eating foods from the least developed area today.

I'm pretty certain you wouldn't want this outcome.

(Edit1 for clarity.)

Biodiversity is already dead my friend. Corn and Soy absolutely eclipse other crops in USA because they are the most profitable to produce.

I'm also pretty sure we are talking about different things here, you seem to be speaking of the natural flora while I am speaking of the agricultural uses. I don't understand your point.


> importing uneducated people because they breed like rabbits

Since you're posting like this after we just asked you to stop using HN for political and ideological battle, I've banned this account.



Hey, it's a decent MVP! If you sort by points and pick the top k, that's already better than H1B by a long shot. Getting to the threshold of 30 is hard but doable, and using standardized tests is a big plus to level the playing field. It's probably best to replace the "foreign degree" points with a standardized test as well. There's too much variance in quality when it comes to foreign degrees - depending on which univ you go to, the foreign degree may be better than Harvard or worse than the proverbial toilet paper. With such a wide variance, especially in vital fields like medicine, US currently relies on standardized medical tests like Step2, Step3 to admit FMGs - this cuts down on all the "fake doctors" since these tests are hard to game. You could do the exact same thing for STEM - wide variety of good standardized tests to choose from. In fact, this is a good startup opportunity to design and administer a standard battery of tests for any foreign BS discipline - there are "monopolies" like Prometrix who do such a shoddy job, startups can surely do one better. Now, like any good MVP, there will be a bunch of iterations where congress and lobbyists will tweak these points to ensure their pet cadres make the cut. Hopefully they don't fuck it up too much. Not a fan of this administration, but honestly, this is a competent first draft.

I'm a US citizen, born an raised in this country, and a working software engineer in the Bay Area. I'm not sure I would score 30 points on this system.

So? US citizens don't need to qualify. They were born there so they already have citizenship.


That relies on the premise that immigration of "ordinary" people is somehow detrimental to the existing US population. This is, to my knowledge, not supported by any fact or study.

If you accept the premise that immigration itself should be limited to a finite quantity (per time period, say per year), it's not a leap to reason that importing highly skilled people is better for the economy than low skilled people.

Low skilled immigrants compete against low skilled workers that are already here and depress their wages. High skilled workers do the same thing but at the top end with the added advantage of generating more tax dollars and GDP (since they have more income).

At its core the question becomes: Is immigration a public policy to benefit those that are here (ie strengthen economy, unify familial bonds) or a charity offered to the rest of the world?

Seems a bit harsh to describe immigration of people who are prepared to work and support themselves as "charity offered to the rest of the world".

Edit: To be fair - I can see the argument for a supply of immigrant low skill workers potentially keeping wages depressed hitting existing US residents and while it might be good for the wealthy and businesses it might not be good for the majority. I'm in the UK and these arguments are very similar to those covered in the Brexit campaigns and while I voted Remain and I've since come to appreciate more of the arguments on the other side.

> or a charity offered to the rest of the world?

Young unskilled workers are a net gain to the economy, especially in an ageing society like the US. It's not charity.

> That relies on the premise that immigration of "ordinary" people is somehow detrimental to the existing US population.

How so?

If bringing in ordinary people is beneficial, then it seems reasonable to say an ideal system would allow that.

I do wonder why. The American dream was available to pretty much anyone willing to try it through the green card lottery. Someone with no money and no education could try coming to US and making it big like many other people before. Or is the green card lottery programme not being scrapped?

You actually need quite a bit of money to be eligible for the diversity visa AKA green card lottery. One of the requirements is that you are able to support yourself for weeks/months while you are looking for a job. Proof of funds is required, and it better be around $10k per person.

Having said that, I still think you are on point about the American Dream available for everyone willing to work hard. It just starts before you enter the US since green cards are not handed out that easily even though it is called a lottery.

>> The American dream was available to pretty much anyone willing to try it through the green card lottery.

Your odds of winning are something like 0.2%. If you're one of those selected I believe there's still only a 50% chance you will make it through as they select twice as many 'winners' as they have spots available. I applied for about 8 years I think without success. I then stopped after realising I had nothing to gain from moving to the US.

Also, the program is limited to persons from certain countries (for example if you like in England/Scotland/Wales you cannot apply).

You can try out the Canadian immigration points system here: http://www.workpermit.com/immigration/canada/canadian-immigr...

Surprised how easy this was without having a job offer.

This seems pretty similar to Australia’s points system.


The main difference I see, is that unless you are a Nobel Prize or Olympic Medal winner, or a 26-30 yo with a PhD perfectly fluent in English, the only way to qualify is to have an existing job offer.

If I'm not wrong, both in Canada and Australia you can apply and look for a job there, if you can prove you have enough funds and past work experience, in addition to similar age/education/language fluency requirements.

Yes, albeit the former is much more common in most other places. This is the same as the UK, there is virtually no way to immigrate under a work visa unless you are sponsored by a company (you still need to meet the point system).

It's also not that easy to get into Australia or Canada on a Visa to look for work, even if you have sufficient points you are much more likely to be declined unless you have a job offer / sponsorship.

> you are much more likely to be declined unless you have a job offer / sponsorship.

No that does not matter, if you have 60 points (for AUS) and there are open slots for that month you can apply for the visa. Preference is given to people who have highest points.

That does matter because at least in Canada you get a lot of points for having a job offer or if you have previously worked in Canada (the former gives more than the latter). I'm willing to bet that it's the same case for AUS.

In most cases having a job offer is the the highest (points wise) score awarding qualification, in the UK currently you cannot qualify for a Tier 2 visa without this (simply won't reach the required points) but in any case in CA and AUS this puts you over anyone else without a job offer pretty much by default.

Hence you are likely to be declined unless you are really over qualified for every other requirement but then it shouldn't be a problem for you to get a job upfront also.

Exactly that is my point, not having a job offer is not a deal breaker. You can get points for other requirements and apply.

> it shouldn't be a problem for you to get a job upfront also.

That is not true, majority of smart people do not get job in CAN or AUS if they are not in the country. Most HR will simply throw away your resume if you are not in the country.

> Canada and Australia you can apply and look for a job there

You can apply for permanent resident visa for AUS and CAN without visiting those countries. Once you get the visa, move to the country and look for jobs.

> Priority is given to prime working ages.

Isn't this basically ageism, the kind that is outlawed federally?

Perhaps the concern is about the economics of importing people who are harder to provide insurance or pensions for. But for that I could see a requirement for a certain level of insurance. Or a disqualification from entitlement programs for a while.

To go straight to age ranking is disappointing.

Hiring laws do tend to outlaw discrimination based on age except in a few circumstances - there are laws specifying the minimum age to be able to sell alcohol, and there's an age at which commercial pilots have to stop flying.

If congress didn't specifically include a provision to note that age discrimination laws didn't apply to this, it would likely end up being challenged in court, but I certainly couldn't say what the outcome would be.

Other countries do this as well - it's not right, but the people developing this policy don't have an original bone in their body, so of course they're going to copy what other countries already have!

U.S. laws only protect against age discrimination when workers are at least 40 years old.


The principle should certainly apply more broadly, especially when we're talking about legislation.

How many points under the new system are awarded for: 1) being tired 2) being poor and 3) yearning to be free?

This administration is afraid of refugees too, so probably negative.

The system grants 25 points to someone who has won a Nobel prize or something "comparable".

Excuse my ignorance but what is comparable to a Noble prize ? I can think of the fields medal, anything else?

Wikipedia has a list of prizes known as ’Nobel in field X': https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prizes_known_as_the_No...

In math, the Abel prize, Wolf Prize, or Fields medal would most likely do it, as would winning any of the Clay Institute prizes.

A Trump University certificate…

  Five points are awarded if an applicant has a job offer
  that will pay at least 150% of median household income
  in the state where he or she will be employed. [...]
  13 points if it's 300% the median.
I wonder why the median income is tied to the state rather than the nation? It means an oil worker paid $120,000 is worth 8 points in Texas, but only 5 points in Alaska.

Exactly for this reason, to allow states with lower income to be more competitive.

100K for a Software engineer might not cut it in SV, but it will allow smaller tech hubs in places where tech salaries are not inflated like i don't know Kentucky for example to attract foreign talent.

Probably because extraordinary people gets higher salary, at least in theory, and points is to make it harder for ordinary peoples to immigrate. According to your numbers it is more special to earn $120k in Texas than it is to earn it in Alaska

For a group of people that keep saying they're cool with "LEGAL" immigrants, I'm confused - what is the need for a change?

The current H1b system has a cap, with more applications than positions. This is resolved via a "lottery". If you apply, you have a 30% chance of being selected. Indian outsourcing firms started to game the lottery (for every position have 3 applicants).

The new system will resolve the above problem by selecting applicants with the most points (giving points for skills, etc...).

From person experience H1b lottery is heart-wrenching, and makes it difficult to plan. The Australian system (which is similar to this system), is much better.

I'm wondering what will happen to the housing market in the US and Europe in case this bill gets approved.

There is a market for middle-high income people that buys housing out of their home country just in case the political situation becomes unfavorable.

In fact some countries give you residence if you spend a high amount of money on real estate.

It's probably good for the locals if wealthy people living outside the country don't buy up housing stock for use just in case their country goes to pieces.

I wonder if the Job Offer criterion is applicable to a startup co-founder who is employed as an executive in the company they co-found.

If not then this would shut out the vast majority of non-PhD startup founders who do not already have a green card.

I am curious - does anyone here from the us actually think this is an improvement compared to the existing h1b system?

I will immigrate to US in Dec. and think it is a vast improvement.

H1b lottery is a broken system which is gamed by outsourcing companies.

Is it still a lottery?

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