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My name is DONNA TRUMPET, and I am one of the greatest leaders in world history. I was elected president in the nation of Carcossa a number of years ago, and have maintained broad support among the population. What people don't realize is that I have the backing of a powerful deity, known by mortals as "The Crawling Chaos". After finding an ancient text known as the Necronomicon, I swore a dark pack with this deity for wealth and power. After being elected, I set about remaking my country in my own image.

Carcossa has always been a wealthy superpower, which has encouraged many people from other nations to immigrate to it. However, many of these individuals are poor peasants with little money, asylum seekers, or illegals who are smuggled into the country. All parties in Carcass are pro-immigration. However, some want to keep the status quo regarding immigration for people seeking it as a sanctuary. Others want to shift it to a skills based policy, specifically attracting people with skills to fill industries that the country is lacking in (brain surgeons, scientists, etc). This, however, has unfortunately led to accusations of racism and xenophobia. I am interested in the best and brightest who have managed to gain some influence or recognition in their own lands, and want to limit others.

I need to direct my nation to a more skills-based policy in order to attract more of these kinds of people, or those with large amounts of money and wealth, rather than the common rabble. However, I need to do this slowly over the course of years, so that no competing party realizes what I am attempting. This gradual shift would be far more successful than some major law or policy change, as that would be too conspicuous. This needs to be done quietly.

How can I make this happen gradually to avoid resistance?

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    $\begingroup$ What if you require people who come into your great country a permission to enter? Say, they might have the permission to work there or just visit as tourists. Since they are going to be visitors, you could call that permission a "visi", for example. Then another legal permission for residency could be given out that grants indefinite stay and citizenship to immigrants. If you make that document green and card sized, you could call it a green card and only give it to people who work and contribute and thus have skills. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Aug 15 '19 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ @puppetsock I'd say there is lack of research. Each of the answers describes an already existing system and it's not really hard to find others, either. The whole "covertly" angle is odd, considering countries have also successfully restricted immigration rights without too much of a fuss. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Aug 15 '19 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is clearly a question about real world politics (and one for which no-one has a definitive answer. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Aug 15 '19 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know why other people voted this down but I did because it's not about world building. It seems like a thinly veiled political question to me and one that would be off topic on Politics SE as it's ridiculously too broad. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Aug 15 '19 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ You would be better off just googling this as countless real world approaches exist. $\endgroup$ – John Aug 15 '19 at 17:45
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Tax incentives and regulation, like most countries in the real world do.

Example: The Netherlands have a high demand for highly skilled workers, which the internal market cannot cover. How did they manage to satisfy the demand? They introduced a scheme of tax reduction, known as 30% ruling, in which immigrants satisfying certain requirements (highly educated, for jobs with high demand on the Dutch labor market) will benefit for a certain number of years of a substantial reduction on the taxes they pay on their salary (30% of their gross income is tax free).

Profit driven as humans are, this has worked in attracting brains to the Netherlands.

You can also set up rules on how to assign immigration permits and quotas, to favor highly skilled migrants over less skilled.

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    $\begingroup$ Other countries you may consider researching: Canada (Investment and Skilled Workers programs), Singapore, Australia, Poland, Switzerland. $\endgroup$ – user66696 Aug 15 '19 at 20:16
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Putting aside certain special circumstances. Operation Paperclip for example, was instituted to gather up a bunch of rocket builders from Germany after WWII. Such situations will be rare, and involve a very small number of people relative to the country's population.

There's a fundamental assumption here, that a government could usefully decide what characteristics (skills, attitudes, physical character, etc.) are preferable in an immigrant. And further, that they would be able to recognize these and filter immigrants.

This is not in evidence. It is not clear that a government can know what characteristics will be, in any sense, good for a country. And certainly, they won't be able to keep current, did they know the preferable characteristics at some point. Canada for example, once had a big immigration points bonus for strippers, then abruptly dropped it. Were immigrant strippers "good" for Canada? Did they suddenly stop being good?

The problem with a government picking a preferable set of characteristics is the same problem as with any command economy. The information available is not the right kind of information. Politicians will decide such things based on what they believe will enhance their opportunities for power. They won't do it on what is good for the country, regardless of what anybody thinks constitutes the good. People who are trying to get politicians to do things know this. And they will put information in front of politicians that they believe will help them.

Any politician who does not do this will be out of power. Very quickly.

Just one example to illustrate this. Is it better to import doctors or to have your own medical schools? How could a government ever decide this? If the medical school is in the home district of a politician he is very likely to be heard giving very many speeches about how medical schools are the best. If not, he is likely to be out stumping to get the cost of doctors down by importing doctors from other countries. Objective reality is not really a part of this. It's all about the politician getting votes from his district. Any real preferable path is basically irrelevant to how such decisions will get made.

So if you want to select immigrants that are, in some sense, good for the country, you must use the only mechanism that has ever worked. Namely, the market. Prior to the welfare state getting a good hold of most western nations, things worked this way. Immigrants could show up, limited only by a total number. And that number was very loosely enforced. People who showed up, and thrived, stayed. People who showed up and didn't thrive, went back. They self deported.

Presently, if an immigrant does not thrive, there are many and varied government programs to "help" them. Welfare, food stamps, allowances, free school lunch, etc. etc. and tedious etc. So those who are not a good fit don't self deport. They become dependent. Maybe they eventually adapt. Maybe they don't. But they don't go home. Indeed, many of the least successful from other countries will eagerly attempt to immigrate in order to get on one of these welfare programs. It's why, for example, Carcossa is seeing so many "refugees" from the other side of the ocean showing up at the door.

So, the way to achieve preferable immigration is to get rid of these various welfare programs. At least, government forms of them. Because a government is, as I mentioned, incapable of deciding who is preferable but down on their luck, as compared to somebody who is simply undesirable. A century ago in Carcossa there were literally hundreds of private charitable organizations. They would find people and help them, but they insisted on finding "the deserving poor." These were people who clearly could benefit from a brief helping hand, but who would not take advantage. Or if they did abuse the charity, the charity cut them off.

Then when people don't find a niche in Carcossa, they will go back where they came from on their own. And finding a niche is exactly what is meant by "preferable" in an immigrant. Even if that niche winds up changing the culture in Carcossa.

But this is the problem. Carcossa loves those welfare programs. They are how many politicians buy votes. The chances of getting rid of them, or even reducing them, or even reducing the speed of their growth, is so remote as to not be worth considering.

But it's the only way you will ever achieve anything like an improvement in the nature of immigration.

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It's pretty easy to do that in the open: just introduce a points-based system where your merit is converted into several quantificable variables (such as education, age, wealth) and you can only immgirate if you pass some threshold (let's say, 65 out of 100).

How to do this covertly, umm, I'm not sure. Maybe you could introduce some kind of Ponzi scheme where every new entrant has to pay some sum of money which grows as people come, spent on the adaptation of previous migrants. This is crude but may serve as distraction politically, since in short term it is beneficial for all immigrants, so your opponents suddently have their loyalities divided. Then discount this pay based on points discussed above.

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This may come as a shock, but Australia already shifted its migration to a skills-based one. There is family-reunion migration as a complementary policy.

To do this is basic governance. The government makes sure the legislature passes laws and regulations to make its migration skills-based.

As for doing it covertly, that wasn't necessary in Australia. if there is any potential kickback, then the politicians should do what politicians have always done. Get out there and sell the policy to the masses. Jump on the stump and preach. Appear on very media and sell it.

There's nothing really radical about a migration policy like this. Of course, if a super power does it then what happens is they suck all the potential skills talent and leave smaller nations wanting. This in itself is nothing new.

It's a policy change. Sell it and pass the laws. It's standard politics.

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Focus on increasing government control over the media. It's really hard to prevent a tyrant from performing flagrant censorship, because once they start controlling the stories people hear, you no longer hear that the government is controlling them.

Once the general media has been adequately taken under your control, have the news begin to focus on cases of immigrant criminals. Encourage highly publicized interviews with sociologists who support merits based immigration. Censor reports about the potential humanitarian consequences of partial immigration policies. Etc, etc, etc...

Most importantly, never put your name on any of those censorships. They come from an "autonomous" government agency called the Federal Bureau for Truthful Information that you formed to prevent the spread of fake news that was previously used to manipulate Carcossan politics.

These anti-immigrant censorships are just a drop in the bucket compared to all of the legitimate, research driven fact finding that the FBTI does which maintains their air of legitimacy. With an average news station receiving 30 requests from the Bureau a day, compliance becomes so routine that even the reporters don't particularly take much note. (And those that do and say anything are criminally prosecuted for propagating fake news.)

After a couple of years of manipulating public conversation, the people will be telling you that you need to stop being such hippie and start controlling immigration. And you being the benevolent leader that you are will hear their cries for change and write their demands into law.

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