This post has been cross posted at renounceuscitizenship
The U.S. chief technology officer notes that American needs skilled immigrants. He suggests:
“Why not staple a green card to every PhD in certain fields?”
“Welcome To America” and obligations of U.S. GreenCardShip!
The U.S. tax and reporting requirements (once known) will mean that nobody will want to come to the U.S. Skilled people can go to a number of better places – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc. Why would they want to “sign in” to IRS harassment? This idea is captured very well in the following blog post in which a U.S. expat expresses wonder at how complicated, punitive and dangerous the U.S. government has become. Those thinking that they might want to immigrate to the U.S. need to pay close attention to this.
Clearly a potential immigrant to the U.S. with assets in the home or a third country would have to have a special kind of insanity to subject himself to this system with all the paperwork and potential for double-taxation. And it would do this person absolutely no good whatsoever to become a U.S. citizen since this would change nothing. On the contrary, being a citizen would actually make it worse – one might shed a Green Card relatively easily (if done before the immigrant acquired too many assets in the U.S. or abroad) but U.S. citizenship is forever unless one renounces.
You know, if I were tasked with designing a system with the maximum number of disincentives in order to prevent educated immigrants with existing assets to come to the U.S., I doubt could have done better than this. While this system has existed for some time, it was not well known until FATCA brought all these issues to light and the IRS actually started enforcing the rules. Most immigrants were never aware of them and many are now in a terrible position made all the worse because they cannot vote. I wonder if the French diaspora in the U.S. has brought this up with Mr. Courtial.
As for potential immigrants like my spouse, they have a lot of thinking to do. I suspect that the young, educated, childless ones will continue to go to the U.S. but I doubt they will naturalize and surely they will have every interest in limiting their stay. Older experienced workers with families and assets in the home country will probably avoid the U.S. in favor of places like Singapore or Canada.
The immigrant community in the U.S. has been raped by the IRS over the FBAR issues. Their crime? Maintaining a bank account in their home country to send money home. The collateral damage that OVDI has inflicted on immigrants has been unforgivable. How in God’s name can the IRS behave this way?
For those who are thinking of immigrating to the U.S. I have one piece of advice.
Don’t even consider immigrating to the United States! You can’t imagine the danger.
Thanks very much for the post and the video. I sincerely hope that people who wish to migrate to the U.S. now have a clearer idea of some of the downsides. Every migrant needs to do his or her due diligence before applying for that work permit and buying that plane ticket. Clearly the U.S. tax and reporting system makes it less competitive for some people than other places. For example….
A few months ago I was doing some research on Singapore for the Flophouse and I picked up a brochure called “Singapore Dreams.” As I read I was a bit surprised to see that, in addition to describing all the opportunities to be had, they also stressed their tax system. From my notes: “Low taxes: Tax rates are said to be “competitive” and are capped at 20%. In addition there is no tax on income earned outside of Singapore and no capital gains or estate taxes to be concerned about. ”
I think they call that “competitive advantage…” 🙂
Just an observation… we can educate on this site as opposed to the censorship going on at the Expat Blog, where this should be a most important issue. Thanks Isaac Brock Society!
I enthusiastically agree, calgary. We have the talent amongst us to be the go-to place for people seeking information and lively discussion about tax and citizenship issues for US-Canadian dual citizens. We can post varying opinions and differing points of view, and we should strive to do so without poisoning the atmosphere. We can present information for people who choose different options in their response to this issue, We have a robust diversity here and we should seek to preserve it in a spirit of generosity and openness.
Amen Foxyladyhawk. Keep it civil, responsible, generous and open, but maintain good moderation for interesting and lively threads. Found this interesting. http://www.onthemedia.org/2011/dec/30/thorny-world-online-comments/
I’m delighted by the civility of the discussion here and by how knowledgeable people are. I get an education every day when I come here. Thank you all and especially Petros for making this possible.
From an email from my sister who I left behind in the USA:
“Just a short note to say that on the news last night they showed a bunch of people that had just taken their oath to become U.S. citizens and the special meaning it had to them since it was done on MLK’s birthday. I just looked at them with pity because I know they know nothing about these issues.”
I just looked at them with pity because I know they know nothing about these issues.
Well not in my case. I naturalized as a US citizen in 2011 (ie a little before your post in this old thread) and was already familiar with FATCA at the time and certainly DID know about these issues–although I admit I hadn’t learned everything about all the ramifications of these issues that I’ve learned since finding Brock and other blogs in mid-2013.
I also, however, was aware that as a green card holder (which I was prior to naturalizing as a US citizen) I was already subject to most of the negative aspects of FATCA. When it comes to FATCA and FBAR’s, there is little to be gained by remaining a green card holder.
If I had my life to live over again, I might think twice about the decision to first move to the US as a young man many years ago in an era when the US presented a very different aura internationally than it does now. But having made that decision as a young man, I have no regrets as a middle aged man deciding to become a US citizen. Staying in the US indefinitely on a green card has very few advantages.
While I don’t know for sure how many people in the video your sister saw were familiar with FATCA–it was early days for FATCA–most people who become US citizens DO think through these issues very carefully.
In understanding this video, it is important to understand that Chopra is speaking to an audience of Stanford students on temporary visas in STEM (science/technology/engineering/math) fields. These are people who have already made the decision to move to the US–albeit on “temporary” visas–and have spent a number of years building a professional network in the US. And–at the same time–their networks in their home countries (Canada or wherever) have been weakening over that same time period. Plus Stanford is adjacent to Silicon Valley which is like Mecca for people in STEM fields.
The US–and especially hi tech centers like the Valley and a few other places–is where the jobs are in such fields. Therein lies the dilemma for a lot of these young people. Most are probably aware that at the national level the US is a mess but in some fields the US is where the jobs are. Yes, there are probably a few jobs back in Canada but if you refuse to consider US employment you’d be limiting your career options–at least in certain fields. It would make little sense to consider investing years in a Stanford degree and then to refuse to even consider accepting Silicon Valley employment if offered.
Most of these students would have been–as you’ve noted in the quote you posted–indeed “young, educated, childless”. Many do probably intend to spend a few short years in the US but “limit their stay” as the quote also says. And no doubt that is what will happen at least in some cases. However, my own experience has been that the longer you stay in the US, the harder it is to get Canadian employers to take you seriously–you become seen as overqualified. One’s professional network is in the US by that point and in a lot of cases the path back is very murky at least during one’s working life.
I don’t think trying to persuade young people who’ve invested years in a US degree to leave without testing the US job market is realistic. Challenging the FATCA laws themselves in both Canada and the US is the only path forward as I see it.
January 2012 from my lovely younger US sister who I haven’t seen since 2010. She has been the one of my US family members who has understood completely my situation and the one who most misses my son / her nephew. She is the one of my family who hurts because my family hurts so we can’t often talk about *it* at all. Strange and sad situation to be in. One day I’ll be able to send her airfare for a visit here.
(Thanks for reminding me — I must get her June 5th birthday card off tomorrow.)
Happy birthday to your sister 🙂 ! Yes I also have family in Canada who don’t quite “get this” because–so far at least–it hasn’t directly affected them.