Four flights over a day and a half of flying and I'll be back in Memphis. Singapore is an extraordinary country that has an amazing energy. The country has problems - particularly when it comes to freedom of speech and the press - but I can see why people like it here. And for the techies out there, this is nirvana. How many places in the world have six story shopping malls completely filled with electronics stores?



While here, I had the opportunity to meet with some of the folks at the Ministry of Manpower, the government agency charged with managing work visas to the country. They see their role as promoting economic development in the country by aiding in recruiting bright people who have something to offer the country. The unemployment rate is just 2.7% and, like the US, the country has an aging population. So the government is actively promoting immigration as a way to keep the country competitive and maintain a high standard of living.



The government's motto on immigration is "3S" - speed, service, security. The process for applying for a work visa is straightforward and user-friendly. And my favorite feature - those qualifying for H-1Bs and similar visas in Australia, the UK and other highly developed countries - can qualify for a work visa on the basis of qualifying in one of those countries. The ministry official I spoke to commented "If the US or the UK have done the hard work in screening qualifications, why not benefit?



I met lawyers from a number of other countries and most are amazed that the US - always ranked one of the most competitive nations in the world - is shooting itself in the foot by limiting the recruitment of global talent. But our loss is their gain.