US computer glitch issues raft of entry visas

IT skills shortage? No problem, just let your unskilled computer staff issue a load of visas to tech workers

US government bureaucrats can't count -- it's official. They were supposed to dish out 115,000 visas for techie people to come and work in the country last year -- but ended up doling out up to 20,000 more than the US government said it could. At the moment bureaucrats are busy totting up exactly how many people have entered the US on unauthorised visas. Unfortunately, they keep losing count when they run out of fingers. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has been lambasted for the blunder by Republican Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's immigration panel. INS blamed a computer glitch for the error but a spokesman for Smith was quoted by AP to have said: "They can blame system errors or the computer. They can blame anything they want, but ultimately this is an agency that cannot count." The problem now is what to do next. There's talk that those techies who received visas 115,001 and above should have them revoked although this hard line option has been rejected by most right thinking people. Another plan is to reduce the numbers coming into the country over the next couple of years although this is also believed to be unworkable. Of course, any suggestion this was a deliberate ploy by government officials to allow more qualified people into the US without wishing to admit it has an IT skills crisis would be just mischievous rumour-mongering… ®

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