Mobile Game Creators Highlight Broken Immigration System

Posted by on October 14, 2014.

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Piyush Mishra and Ravi Kumar are the creators of Get Visa, a mobile game highlighting the U.S. immigration and visa process. Their new game was recently featured by VentureBeat and their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is wrapping up this week. We recently sat down with the two creators to find out what inspired them to build a game based on the complicated process of applying for a visa to the U.S. 

FWD.us: What inspired you to create Get Visa?

Mishra & Kumar: Over 27.1% of the population of California is foreign born and immigrants are an important part of the equation for the state. Unlike a native-born citizen, an immigrant’s life is surrounded by ambiguity and uncertainty that is driven by their immigration status.

We've experienced first-hand the dysfunction of the immigration system and the ambiguity surrounding the immigration process. So we wanted to create an easy-to-understand guidebook for new immigrants and visa applicants to better understand the application process.

This objective led us to develop this gaming app called ‘Get Visa’.

Why make a game highlighting the U.S. immigration process?

In the 21st century where mobile apps, smart phones, and high speed internet are taken for granted, advanced immigration systems need advanced technological solutions that make the process easy to use and to understand.

Get Visa has gamified the U.S. visa application process and the entire immigration process can be experienced in a game. 

Why do you believe immigration reform is needed?

To be globally competitive, corporations must hire and retain global talents that are best in business. But getting these global talents onboard requires navigating through the immigration process, which is highly cumbersome and requires lot of documentation. Since 2004, the H-1B visa category has been constantly over subscribed. It is sad that the U.S. selects highly skilled talent by a lottery process. We really need to change the way we treat this pool of global talent, especially when countries like Chile and Canada are providing incentives to attract these talents.

The problem is not just with highly skilled labor visa (H-1B). Green Card processing has a long wait time and the process of moving from legal permanent resident to a citizen takes an average of 7 years, and could run decades-long based on the origin country of the applicant.

To be globally competitive, promote innovation, and boost the economy, it is very important that the U.S. immigration system is upgraded. It is important that the immigration system is relevant to present needs.

Both of you have experienced the visa application process, how would you like to see it improved?

We would like to see more transparency. We would like to have more authentic information on what to expect when in our application process. Modernization of system is not just the ability of the applicant to check the status online but have clear understanding of the process, and removing ambiguity or uncertainty.

We have developed this game for social good. We want people like us to easily understand the steps involved in the immigration process thus helping them to prepare and file a strong application.

Have either of you found the visa application process has hindered or delayed your professional goals?

Absolutely. The process has totally devastated our professional goals. We are driven by ambiguity and uncertainty. We can't even sign-up for simple things like a two year contract for our cell phone because we don't know whether we be allowed to stay here for two years or be required to leave immediately if our visa application is denied.

Why is being located in San Francisco / the U.S. essential to your success?

Silicon Valley is the epitome of innovation and entrepreneurship. This city has an established eco-system for every aspiring entrepreneur to dream and build new innovative products and solutions. San Francisco is also a cultural boiling point where you can meet like-minded people and highly skilled entrepreneurs from all over the world, all working on the next big things.

What is your vision for GetVisa in the future?

Get Visa game is a gaming app that we are building for social good. We would want more people to use it, play it and understand the highly complicated immigration process. Additionally, we are planning for the game to be available in both Android and iOS format, and free for download.

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