Pisces, 15, 2078, m249
Major changes to planetary immigration policy were announced this morning by Martian Immigration Control. Representatives from all settlements unilaterally ratified updates to the restrictions imposed in 2062. Though these amendments do not reverse the principles of the original accord, it does, significantly increase the inbound baseline while maintaining the 3% annual growth factor.
This outstanding petition has long been ignored until today, which represents a major reversal from big colonies, including Marineris, San Olympus, Noviymir, Tiangong, and Al'amal. All of the councils from these settlements have been staunch advocates for gradual population expansion, where recent discussions even proposed reducing annual targets.
Last m-year (two Earth Years), there were 3,120 births on Mars, accounting for 1.5% organic growth. Over the same period, we welcomed 4,500 new residents from Earth, however, only 65% of new immigrants typically last 12 months. Unable to adjust to a completely different lifestyle, many opt to complete their contact term and return home. Though recent statistics show an improvement in retention over the last 6 months (coincidentally overlapping with the MAFL season), life on Mars is not for every Earther.
The new program increases the cap to 10,000 for m249, which is more than double. To put it in perspective, that would be like growing a new colony the size of Al'amal over 668 sols!
This will benefit both small and large colonies alike. Communities like Osumi, Columbia Hills and, Mareotis have long had the capacity to support more residents, but with prior immigration levels, their populations has remained relatively flat. The new rules will encourage growth in smaller settlements while for the big 8 colonies, they will be able to fill employment vacancies faster by expediting requisitions through MIC.
This policy won't impact colony populations in the near-term, especially factoring the time it will take for application services to scale, not to mention that nothing can be done about the standard 7-8 months required to traverse the distance between planets. Though the first influx won't be felt until the end of m249, this will see more immediate increases in on our mechanized population. In anticipation of infrastructure demands, these caps will likely be inflated in advance. Robots currently represents a 3-1 ratio in our general workforce, with recognized shortages in the construction sector.
What does all of this have to do with sports, you may ask?
This is, quite possibly, the biggest sports news of the year, according to analysts.
Not only are many speculating that the perceived success of the MAFL has influenced this sudden change in position, but for the first time, qualifications in sporting backgrounds will be recognized in the updated application forms. Though widely understood that athletic capabilities on Earth means very little with respect to performance on Mars, this opens up opportunities to address needs in a plethora of supporting roles. Sports management and business administration are obvious positions, but when you look farther downstream, the industry will be able to satisfy a variety of specialized functions in medicine, event planning, media and design.
"It is no surprise why we've had a hard time finding the right people to run our operation," said Aiger Masing, Commissioner of the MAFL "We, as a planet, have naturally spent decades recruiting scientists, engineers, and essential trades to Mars. Now, we have clearly achieved a milestone where we need more diversity, more people to move beyond science and survival."
Fredrick Seulovik, President of Ice Sport Mars Organization, shared similar sentiments with the announced policy changes. "You don't have to look far to find the mis-matches," said Seulovik, "I, myself, came to Mars as a chemical engineer. My childhood love of winter sports is what inspired our venture into hockey. Today, I'm reliant on parters on Earth, but now it will be possible to bring some of that expertise here. This is an incredibly big deal."