We blogged about the potential fast track to U.S. citizenship by joining the armed forces. At that time we weren’t really sure how many non-immigrants would be interested, but we were certainly aware of the attractiveness of this program. If one becomes an Army engineer and as a result can clinch citizenship in six months, it is worth a serious look. Just glance over the visa bulletin chart and you will know why.
Apparently, many young Koreans have evaluated the trade-offs and decided to go for it. According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of interested and qualified Koreans may have already surpassed what the Army can absorb:
The program was authorized without fanfare late last year by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to attract temporary immigrants who speak strategically important languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Korean. The bait: The soldiers could immediately apply for U.S. citizenship, skipping the sometimes decadelong process of securing a green card first.
So many Koreans have applied, however, that the Army doesn’t need them all…
The Army continues to process applications from Koreans, but it is unlikely to accept all those who qualify. “The Army also needs speakers of Pashtu, Urdu and Arabic,” says Lt. Col. Badoian.