Models have it easier getting into US than engineers

A 20-year-old loophole allows the fashionably thin into the country under the same H-1B visas that cover technology workers.

By Jonathan Berr May 21, 2013 7:38AM
Models on the runway (© Will Robb/Getty Images)Maybe Emma Lazarus' famous poem "The New Colossus," which is displayed on the Statute of Liberty, needs to be updated. Instead of declaring, "Give me your tired, your poor . . . Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," it should say, "Give me your thin, your young, your pretty . . . Your huddled masses longing to be be fashionable."

That's a more accurate view of America's twisted immigration priorities. According to Bloomberg News, fashion models are almost twice as likely to receive H-1B visas than computer programmers or engineers are. Data from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services show that 250 out of the 478 visa applications by models were approved in 2010, an acceptance rate of more than 52%. That contrasts to an acceptance rate of only 28%, or only 90,800 the 325,000 applications, for foreign technology workers, the news service says.
Bloomberg noted that Congress decided to include models -- most of whom lack college degrees -- in the same immigration class as computer workers because of an oversight two decades ago. Former Democratic representative and potential New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner tried to allow even more models in under the program, but he was pressured to resign after being caught sending sexually tinged social media messages.

Donald Trump's Trump Model Management and Playboy Enterprises have filed more than 200 H-1B applications for models, according to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.

These revelations come as Congress debates immigration reform. Big tech companies have long advocated loosening the H-1B program to allow more foreign tech workers to come into the U.S., arguing that not enough qualified Americans are available to fill the positions. A coalition of tech executives, including Google's (GOOG) Eric Schmidt, Intel's (INTC) Paul Otellini and Cisco's (CSCO) John Chambers, recently called on President Barack Obama's administration to enact "high-skilled immigration reform."

The annual H-1B lottery for the coveted visas took place last month. According to the Heritage Foundation, about 65,000 of them were given out using a lottery system and about 39,000 requests were denied. "A new system that structures our future immigration flows to better meet the demand for high-skilled workers while at the same time protecting the American workforce is a delicate balancing act worth pursuing," the think tank said.

Easier said than done.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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May 21, 2013 9:13AM

the H-1B process is a scam. 


i worked at a place where they employed two electrical engineers on H-1B visas, who COLLECTIVELY earned less than what ONE USA born and raised electrical engineer would earn. 


the intent from the company's point of view was to post a needed job at a severely low salary.  claiming they needed to use the H-1B process to get TWO engineers from India. 


this H-1B noncense is just another scheme to move LOW LABOR into USA under what media states is a shortage of engineers in USA. 


there is no shortage.  there is an intent to pay at 1/2 the current salary for tech jobs.  there is an intent to further low the USA payscale. 

May 21, 2013 9:18AM
Only thing about H1Bs is they need to stop the abuse.   What abuse?  Well having been in the IT industry for 25 years now it is all well and good the engineers/programmers that Microsoft, Google, Apple, Oracle, etc. bring in as H1Bs, but there is another group of companies that are despicable in their practices.  Low cost consulting companies bring H1Bs to the US and then treat the people like indentured servants.  They house them in slum like housing with many people in one home/room and have them move to other locations in the US at a moments notice when they have a client that will pay for the resource.  These firms drastically undercut the rates of more ethical consulting companies and treat the H1Bs basically as slaves.
May 21, 2013 10:41AM
What's the matter, we don't have enough good looking people here? Oh, I forgot, they are looking for THIN people . . . now I understand. 
May 21, 2013 11:34AM
The fact is that these foreign born "engineers" come to the US to gain experience, learn trade secrets and gather as much information as possible, before returning to their own countries with this information to COMPETE with the US. STOP giving the US away to India, China, Pakistan, Israel,Saudi Arabia etc. THESE are FACTS!! A friend of mine in silicone valley who designs computer components(he invented one of the machines that makes the silicone processing chips) says this is one of America's largest technical failures.By the way , he's not an American.
  Stop outsourcing our technology AND TEACH OUR CHILDREN. It shouldn't be "no kid left behind", It should be "MAXIMIZE EVERY CHILD's POTENTIAL TO IT's FULLEST. If we don't pull our heads out of our azzes we're gonna get SCREWED!!! 
May 21, 2013 1:04PM

LOL - Okay - let's compare apples and oranges.  I don't know about the modeling industry, but I have extensive experience with the "high tech" engineers that are getting in.  Don't let these big companies fool you - there is nothing high-tech about the majority of these workers.  Sure they will trot out a handful of rocket scientists as an example, but the vast majority of these "engineers" have minimal programming skills - and a really low salary.  There are American workers that want these jobs, but they are being replaced and skipped over in favor of the H1-Bs.


It's one thing to be honest and say you want to replace American tech workers with a cheaper alternative, but the flat-out lies about their abilities so the CEO can make another $1B by ignoring the law is disgusting.

May 21, 2013 4:32PM
Romney promised to allow 1.25 million tech workers to receive green cards claiming a shortage. According to unemployment tables there were twice as many tech workers still unemployed since the meltdown than there was before. It's all about cheap labor, not filling shortages. Same as his plan to staple a green card to the top 20% at every world university. When half our graduates can't find jobs the last thing we need are foreigners willing to work for 1/3 to 1/2 normal rates taking those few we do have.
May 21, 2013 3:01PM
H1B is a crime against the American people. Fraud is RAMPANT. I have been in the room while bosses were discussing with HR how to tailor the mandatory job postings so that no local qualified candidates could possibly fit the job description. Actually no one can fit these job descriptions, but then the companies can say "See? We can't find anyone here with 10 years experience with SQL Server 2012, we need an immigrant".

H1B workers are definitely paid less, and this has driven down the wages for ALL American STEM workers. What is the incentive for Americans to pay for rigorous technical training/education when they can't find a decent paying job?

We are exporting our technological edge. I am absolutely certain the government (both Democraps and Rethuglicans) and the corporate CEOs will not be satisfied until we are all living in huts making minimum wage.
May 21, 2013 11:33AM
I`d rather sleep with a model than an engineer.Models don`t eat either.
May 21, 2013 9:07AM
OK, step 1 in securing our borders ought to be to do away with foreign models coming her on the same footing as engineers.  We need engineers. We do not need foreign models. I mean we have enough children at this point of the Hollywood rich, famous and beautiful to fill the catwalks ten times over, plus an absolutely unlimited number of unknown thin, beautiful people already here in America of every race, color and creed.  Maybe somebody in Congress thought they could score a foreign model.     
May 21, 2013 1:24PM
Regarding the bringing in of cheap labor:

Corporate America will do whatever it takes to save money. After all, their motto is, "maximum profits, minimum expenditures", and if they can save money on labor they will. The biggest problem is with the dorks in government that prostitute themselves with Corporate America allowing cheap labor across our borders. Oh, and let's not forget the farming out of jobs across the border in the other direction.

Every four years we go to the polls and vote these people in office, and then we go about moaning and groaning about them . . . hmmm. Now where does the fault really lie? 
May 21, 2013 11:35AM
What are the stats for foreign sports figures?
May 21, 2013 1:34PM
Models should be treated as unskilled, non-English speaking applicants.  If they don't get work, they are virtually unemployable. We should stop accepting people who don't speak English and have no skills.  If what we hear about dancers, models, and other performers coming about of the eastern European countries are true, most of them have been raised in very harsh conditions and are not the innocent virgins they make themselves out to be.  We already have enough people on welfare, why are we bringing in people that have such a high probability of ending up there.
May 21, 2013 5:32PM
Maybe they should just sneak across the border like everyone else...
May 21, 2013 5:18PM
90,800 tech workers vs. 250 models. Who cares?
May 21, 2013 5:34PM
Figures.  The U.S. won't make it to Mars by 2030 at the latest...the Chinese will, with a mixed crew.  And return alive. 
Seems appropriate, I don't remember ever wanting to see an engineer drop his panties, ....... LOL!
May 21, 2013 5:11PM

Now that's what I call a DREAM Act!

May 21, 2013 6:13PM
models = most talentless job for girls there is.....hoesntly really people? using your looks as a skill is not a job....
May 21, 2013 4:54PM
As a Engineer (software/electrical) I know first hand of the High Cerebal thinking ability of My Algorithm thinking brotherhood however although we might not be competing with Models for a job, we may encounter some in relationships and "That" is where We need to quite aware of the question 'is it for Love" or 'is it for Money'. Indeed, we make great sign a pre-nup when the possibility of marrying a H1-B Visa is realistic especially if you dont plan on losing a Great % of her INcome, Home, cars, etc. to a Divorce 5 yrs later. Even the Ulkrainian/Russian mail order brides of the 1990s has also led to a high divorce rate ( and subsequent asset payout rate) after an average marriage of 7 yrs. Of course it goes both ways. The Knock on Engineer H1B visas' might also be a respectability probability of stealing company secrets unless the MODEL has a Beauty and brains  of a Hedi Lamarr and can recollect a Frequency Hopping type algorithm from memory.
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