Highly-skilled H1-B fashion models - Embedded.com

Highly-skilled H1-B fashion models

It's time we greatly increased H1-B visas, at least for certain jobs.

I rarely address the subject of H1-B visas as passions run high. Some argue we need more engineers and the H1-B program is the fastest way to bring talent here. The IEEE and ACM seem to agree (at least by their actions) that there is a shortage; they have been running major outreach programs targeted at getting more youngsters into this field.

Others feel companies manipulate the visas to cut costs. They argue that engineering salaries have been somewhat stagnant, and the laws of supply and demand would drive wages up if there's a real shortage. And it's a certainty that companies are required to maximize shareholder value, in part by keeping payroll costs down. At least within the rule of law, and no one doubts that every company scrupulously obeys each and every provision of the legal code.

A third line of reasoning bemoans what appears to be an increasingly feudal employment system. Walmart employees are paid so little they can only shop at Walmart. Even staunchly-pro-capitalism publications like The American Conservative have recently argued for a minimum wage hike to break this cycle. US engineers make a lot more than either the current or any proposed minimum wage, but some feel the depressed H1-B salaries creates a downward pressure on all of our incomes.

But there's a great reason to argue for more H1-Bs. At least for sexist pigs.

According to this Businessweek article the visa program also brings in a certain number of desperately-needed fashion models. You may not have realized we're facing a critical shortage of models, but it appears wise members of Congress have studied this problem in great detail, responding with a Huge Federal Program to insure the nation continues to be competitive on the runways of the world. In a surprising interview(1) General Buck Turgidson reported both China and Russia have “at least” four fashion models, and two supermodels, for each one here in the United States.

One wonders how many closed-door sessions were required to investigate the Model Gap.

The Brookings Institute reports “First, employers apply for H-1B visas for high-skilled workers for specialty occupations. These occupations are defined as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in the field of specialty. The one occupational exception to the H-1B bachelor’s requirement is, not surprisingly, fashion models, who make up less than 1 percent of all H-1B requests.”

(1) One that I just made upI had no idea that fashion models require “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.”

The report goes on to show that the top two regions for H1-Bs areNew York and LA. That makes sense: Madison Avenue and Hollywood generatean enormous demand for fashion models.

Brookings identifies the key problem: “The challenge forpolicymakers is to figure out how to meet the demand for high-skilledworkers by developing an immigration policy that allows the UnitedStates to continue to attract the foreign workers that it needs, whileat the same time educating and training U.S. workers for these jobs inthe near future.”

It's time we replace those annoying STEM classes with Fashion 101,Advanced Runway Walking, and A Stress Analysis of a Strapless EveningGown (actually, that is the title of a real, and fun, book).

Jack G. Ganssle is a lecturer and consultant on embedded developmentissues. He conducts seminars on embedded systems and helps companieswith their embedded challenges, and works as an expert witness onembedded issues. Contact him at . His website is.

9 thoughts on “Highly-skilled H1-B fashion models

  1. “Walmart employees are paid so little they can only shop at Walmart.”

    Walmart profit in 2012: $15.7 billion
    Walmart employees: 2.1 million
    If all profit were divided equally among all employees, that would be $7,476 per employee per year.

    Assuming a ty

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  2. I am thinking it really did not happen unless they have pictures of these models. I general pictures are good proof, and in this necessary to see how “highly-skilled” these visa holders are. I would hope they do not waste H1-B on ugly models, that would

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  3. That analysis assumes that profits are the only funds available for raising wages for a typical employee. I highly doubt that salaries and bonuses, which are accounted as expenses after all, are evenly distributed within the company.

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  4. So Walmart should be forced to evenly distribute pay across all employees? The idea to evenly distribute profits to all employees was silly enough (no profits means there's no value in the company), but to evenly distribute profits and salaries / bonuses i

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  5. Sorry. I did not mean to suggest that Walmart should distribute profits evenly. I was trying to make the point that EVEN IF THEY DID the impact would be relatively small. The CEO of Walmart had a total compensation of 20.7 million last year. Even if he wil

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  6. This made me laugh good! Now us engineers in the US will be surrounded by beautiful models. One more reason to recommend becoming an engineer to the younger generations. Models are more like artists right? Isn’t there a special visa for these. Oh no… actua

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  7. Increasing minimum wage does not increase salary.
    It only increase unemployment.

    If employee salary is higher then new minimum, there is no reason to change his salary.
    If employee salary is lower then the new minimum, there is a reason for that, and it

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  8. The minimum wage in the US is $7.25/hr. So an across-the-board pay increase of just one fifth of the 2012 profit would be a huge increase for however many of Walmart's employees are on the minimum wage.

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