Countries lobby in fight for visas

US flagThe South Korean government hired the services of two veterans of the White House, a team of former Congressional staff members and an ex-CIA analyst in order to get a couple of paragraphs in the new immigration bill.  They are not alone, with the government of Poland putting the squeeze on Vice President Joe Biden and the Irish government putting in a direct appeal to President Obama as well as Congressional leaders during the St Patrick’s Day festivities.

These countries, together with several other nations, were able to win provisions in the new immigration bill, which is now before Congress, in order to have their citizens provided with benefits that are not available to the great majority of other foreigners in the United States.

South Korea and Ireland were able to extract measures for their citizens that set aside a fixed amount of the much desired special US visas for guest workers who are seeking to come to the United States.  Poland will be allowed to join the list of countries whose citizens are able to go to the US without visas as tourists, while Canadians were able to change the rules to allow its citizens of 55 and older to stay without visas for up to 240 days, an increase from 182.

South Korea has four lobbying companies in the campaign and paid a total of $1.7 million, required disclosure reports have revealed, while other countries are generally relying on their own embassy staff and ambassadors.