I Want a Blue Card

The estimable Shika Dalmia, in a WSJ piece in favor of scrapping the current cap on H1-B’s, informs me:

In response, most industrialized countries, facing their own skills crunch, are liberalizing their immigration policies to make themselves more attractive. England recently scrapped its Byzantine work permit program in favor of a Canadian-style point system that will allow entry to some skilled workers even before they get a job. New Zealand has a remarkable program that gives accredited private companies fast-track access to work visas that they can hand to foreign workers along with a job offer. Australia is considering modifying its skilled visa program along similar lines.

Even more radical is the blue card program that the European Union proposed last year to bump up its skilled workforce by 20 million over 20 years. The card will admit not only skilled workers – but their entire families – and give spouses the legal right to work in all 27 EU countries within three months of applying. By contrast, the U.S. Congress recently questioned even a relatively modest suggestion by Bill Gates to raise or scrap the annual H-1B visa cap. Astoundingly, this cap was lowered to 1990 levels four years ago.

I want a blue card! The right to work in 27  other countries? Wow! That would be an immense increase in real freedom. I seriously want to look into this.

My own interest I guess is a clue to how this could work out in the long run, which is that an already stratified system of mobility rights will come to favor the wealthy and skilled even more heavily as jurisdictions compete for the most productive workers. I suspect that an increased volume of global migration among the skilled would do a good deal to acclimate incumbent residents to foreigners, thereby softening the ground for more general liberalization. But I’ll have to think about it. What do y’all think?