The H-1B Visa Issue

If you know what H-1B means, than you've probably (legally) been to NYC. Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the modelling industry's stake in the US immigration reform debate. Watch the video below for the full story.

If you want further information about this unfolding immigration controversy, this article goes further in-depth. It contains some fascinating facts:

  • In New York, an annual fashion week event has an economic impact of $865 million, according to the city. 
  • The typical model in 2009 earned $27,330, with the average magazine shoot paying about $100 daily, said Ashley Mears, a former model and Boston University sociologist.
  • The Ford Modeling Agency, owned by Altpoint Capital Partners LLC (0605377D), a New York private equity firm, and Wilhemina International Inc. (WHLM), whose largest shareholder is Dallas-based hedge fund Newcastle Partners LP, have been responsible for 15 percent of the 11,751 H-1B model-related initial applications during the last decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg Businessweek article written by Frank Bass and Kartikay Mehrotra.

UPDATE: Jenna Sauers wrote a response to Bloomberg Businessweek's article, and it's excellent. Here are the highlights:

  • If you look at the history of the H-1B visa, the number of visas given to models has fallen. From 2000 to 2005, models got between 614 and 790 H-1Bs each year. 
  • Models who apply for the H-1B are required to submit evidence of their work history — applicants need a U.S. agency as a sponsor, at least 10 letters of recommendation from qualified industry professionals, and 40-50 published tear sheets. To be eligible for the visa, models have to demonstrate "distinguished merit and ability." Just because you're in fashion doesn't mean getting an H-1B is a cakewalk.