Last weekend I hiked up to Snow Lake. This was as an unofficial work event, with many team members showing up. This is not unusual as in Seattle this is a common summer weekend activity. This hike was different as it was the last time many of would see one of our co-workers.
One of our team’s founding members work visas has expired and his every attempt to get another via the annual lottery had failed. Our friend and co-worker is no longer allowed to work in the US and so soon would be leaving us. Those with citizenship, myself included, often don’t understand how unnecessarily complicated and frustrating our immigration system is, but these cases are not rare. I work in an industry where most of my coworkers are not born in the us, many are working under the last year of their student visas or are H1B. They can’t plan more than a few years in advance because it is not a certainty that they will be picked in the Green card lottery before their current visa expires.
This is now the second of my co-workers who has gone through this. We are lucky that we work for an international company that has offices in Canada and other locations where one can move with job security. As the argument over illegal immigrants continues to dominate the media I want to remind us all that its not easy for legal immigrants either, and maybe improving the process would help both problems.