I was stunned to read today that the Halle Orchestra, founded in 1858 and based in my home town (city) of Manchester, has canceled a planned US tour because it decided that the enormous cost of obtaining visas (because of lost work days due to the need to visit the US embassy in London for personal interviews) meant that the visit was not sensible from an economic point of view. I have heard similar stories about academics deciding not to try to come to the US because it is too complicated.
Manchester is four to five hours from London. And these same musicians could have tourist visas without question and without interviews. But if they’re going to play for us (which I suppose involved some payment somewhere), they each have to have personal interviews.
And these idiotic visa policies make us better off how exactly?