It’s tough to move to another country, sort out paperwork, find a job, and generally get your ducks in a row, but it seems there’s a double standard at work for what might be considered “extraordinary” to the US State Department.
The country’s only unlimited-issue work visa, the O-1, is available to those who demonstrate “extraordinary ability” and is usually issued to scientists, technology engineers, entrepreneurs and other highly-skilled immigrants.
It's aimed at bringing the best skills, experience and qualifications in, to benefit business and the country overall. So where does a Playboy bunny fit in?
However, Reuters has reported that two recent immigrants who apparently met the State Department’s standards include British-born Piers Morgan, who replaced Larry King on his CNN talk show, and Canadian Shera Bechard – the 2010 Playboy Miss November.
Neither seems quite on the level of an "internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize," which the government cites as a possible qualification.
Immigration lawyer Chris Wright, who represented Bechard, argued that she qualified as having "risen to the very top of the field of endeavor" and puts forward the Frisky Friday photo-sharing trend she established as proof of her business acumen.
Asked about how it decides to grant O-1s, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service spokeswoman said: "USCIS decides each benefit request on a case-by-case basis relying on the law and evidence provided for that case. There are a variety of factors that influence the number of visa applications received and approved from year to year."
"The O-1 is one of the few visas we support," said Kim Berry, a spokesman for the Programmers Guild, which favors the suspension of the H-1B program. "When they need to bring in the best and the brightest and the entrepreneurs, that's the only visa that helps America."
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