Celebs bend visa lines like Beckham
Via Miami Herald.com
Accommodating U.S. State Department officials bend over backward to grant visas to elite figures in sports, science, arts, education and business.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – International soccer star David Beckham and wife Victoria, formerly Posh Spice of the Spice Girls, don’t wait months or years to enter the United States legally.
Beckham’s status, bankroll and his attorney see to that. He receives approval for his visa within two weeks. Accommodating U.S. State Department officials grant him after-hours appointments and have asked him to pose for photos.
As an ”alien of extraordinary ability,” Beckham is eligible for an O-1 work visa reserved for elite figures in sports, science, arts, education and business.
These and companion visas for family and support personnel have no caps on the number who can arrive. Their numbers have more than doubled over the past decade.
Meanwhile, specialty workers with four-year degrees can’t always bend the bureaucracy like Beckham. Demand for visas from these workers, with professions such as computer programming, engineering and
accounting, has surged. But the cap, briefly raised a few years ago, remains at 65,000 — what it was in 1992. The 2007 cap was filled May 26, a record four months before the fiscal year begins.
Currently, Congress is debating whether to increase these visas to help relieve the backlog, as well as granting legal status to some of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.
Immigration ”law is really geared toward helping the rich and famous,” says David Whitlock, a partner who heads immigration practice at Fisher & Phillips in Atlanta.
Most industrialized countries have an immigrant pecking order, notes Alan Gordon, a Charlotte, N.C., immigration lawyer who recently helped a Canadian racing phenom enter the country.
DEPP SKIPPED LOTTERY
”How did Johnny Depp get to live in France? Did he go through a lottery system?” asks Gordon. “No. It’s because he’s spending money.”
Indeed, countries have always welcomed the elite.
”And maybe rightly so,” says Steve Hader, a lawyer with the Charlotte office of Moore & Van Allen who helped set up Beckham’s upcoming visit to the United States. “Maybe you want the best and the brightest.”
The Beckhams stand to make money on their upcoming summer trip, so they are required to secure work visas, not tourist credentials. He launched a youth soccer academy in Los Angeles last year, with the hope
of identifying talent to compete for U.S. teams on the world stage. Victoria has a fragrance and clothing line ”and still performs,” Hader says.
Some 11,960 esteemed scientists, doctors, musicians, professors, athletes and captains of industry and their family and support personnel arrived in 2005, up more than 145 percent since 1995, according to the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Hader has prepared O-1 visas for A-list singers, actors, actresses, scientists and even a celebrity chef. Client confidentiality precludes him from revealing names. Beckham gave the OK because he wants the
press for his academy.
O-1 applicants must be international superstars in their professions. The State Department recognizes Academy Awards, peer adulation, press coverage in ”major newspapers,” and/or ”a high salary . . . in relation to others in the field,” among other factors.
Beckham plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid and is captain of England’s national team in this year’s World Cup. Beckham was memorialized in the 2002 movie Bend It Like Beckham for his signature long kick, with the ball curving in flight. The fact Beckham is married to one of the Spice Girls is an added bonus, or curse, depending on which side of the paparazzi you’re standing.
M-Nonimmigrants: Entry and Exit FAQ
FAQ for M-Nonimmigrants: Entry and Exit – VIA ICE
SEVP made every effort to provide complete answers to these common
questions. However, each person’s individual circumstances differ. So
while these questions and answers serve as a general guide, they may
not provide all the information you need to determine whether it is
appropriate to travel or whether you will be readmitted to the United
States. You can contact your Designated School Official (DSO), your
embassy or consulate, or your legal counsel for further assistance.
Please remember that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
officer at the Port of Entry (POE) decides whether or not nonimmigrants
are admitted to the United States. This decision is based upon the
facts and circumstances presented at the time you apply to enter. SEVP
cannot guarantee that you will be admitted or readmitted to the United
1. Initial Entry For Students (M-1 Nonimmigrants)
2. Reentry For M-1 Nonimmigrants Traveling Outside The United States For Five Months or Less
3. Renewing Your M-1 Student Visa
4. Initial Entry for Spouses and Minor Children of M-1 Students (M-2 Nonimmigrants)
Temporary Skilled Workers Enrich America’ s Competitive Edge
recent debate over immigration policy commonly depicts immigrants as
undocumented, uneducated people who flood our borders without
inspection. Although many immigrants who enter this country are
unskilled laborers who provide essential services in many sectors of
our economy, of equal importance to the immigration debate are the
highly educated foreign professionals whose skills play a vital role in
the enrichment of our economy. These foreign born workers bring unique
perspectives and expertise that are essential to maintaining America’s
competitive edge as the leader of the global marketplace.
The United States economy has shifted significantly over the past
fifty years. We are no longer the blue collar nation that we once were.
The transformation of our economy from a manufacturing economy to a
knowledge-based economy has created a growing demand for highly skilled
technical workers. This demand has been accompanied by a decline in the
number of native-born students seeking degrees in the fields of
science, engineering and technology. Our prestigious graduate
institutions currently train more foreign nationals than U.S. citizens
in these important fields. These U.S trained specialists, both native
and foreign-born, cannot fill the demand for highly-skilled workers in
key occupations. U.S. businesses must be able to recruit and hire
additional foreign-born professionals to alleviate temporary labor
shortages in specific occupations.
To keep America competitive, we must increase the number of
specialized worker visas awarded. H-1B visas, or temporary skilled
worker visas, are currently capped at only 65,000 annually. Yet in
recent years, this “cap” is reached in a couple of months and U.S.
businesses are barred from hiring foreign-born professionals for the
remainder of the fiscal year. In order to increase the number of highly
skilled professionals in this country, we must reform the employment
based immigration system and provide a sufficient amount of avenues
through which U.S. businesses can legally employ specialized workers.
At the same time, we must increase recruitment and training of U.S.
students as well – in order to accelerate this process, a hefty portion
of the processing fees for the H visas are directed to the education
and training of U.S. students in science and technology.
It is important that skilled workers are not overlooked in the
current debate regarding comprehensive immigration reform. Raising the
H-1B visa cap is vital to maintaining our leadership in the world
market. We must retain the educated professionals whom we have trained
internally in order to benefit from the unique skills that they
possess. By sending the best and the brightest workers back to their
respective countries, we only create competition for ourselves, thereby
diminishing America’s economic clout. By retaining foreign nationals,
we may ensure that U.S. businesses have the most highly qualified
workers in their fields, helping America maintain its edge in an
increasingly competitive global economy. the most highly qualified
workers in their fields, guaranteeing maximum success and economic