Monday, May 20, 2013

Of Playboy Playmates and 'Genius' Visas

This is a repost from June 2012, memory of which was triggered by today's Bloomber story:

 H-1B Models Strut Into U.S. as Programmers Seek Visa God’s Help
Fashion models are almost twice as likely to 
get their visas as computer programmers.
Photographer: Giuseppe Aresu/Bloomberg

And from last year, a story that apparently has some legs:

From Reuters:

U.S. 'Genius' visa attracts entrepreneurs and Playmates
Shera Bechard, the Canadian-born former girlfriend of Playboy Enterprises founder Hugh Hefner, would not be an obvious candidate for the special visas that the U.S. government reserves for "individuals with extraordinary ability."

Playboy magazine named Bechard Miss November in 2010, and she also started an online photo-sharing craze called "Frisky Friday." Neither seems quite on the level of an "internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize," which the government cites as a possible qualification.
But Los Angeles immigration lawyer Chris Wright argued that Bechard's accomplishments earned her a slot. The government ultimately agreed.

That kind of success has put Wright on the map as the go-to visa fixer for both Hollywood and Silicon Valley. It also highlights the use of so-called genius visas known as O-1s and EB-1s, which have largely escaped political controversy and are now the immigration solution of choice for many entrepreneurs....MORE