×

DGA, IATSE Applaud Bill to Curb Foreign Visa Abuse

The Directors Guild of America and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees have applauded the passage of a bill to prevent fraudulent U.S. visas from being issued to foreign directors and crew members.

The House of Representatives approved the bi-partisan legislation — H.R. 3636, the Oversee Visa Integrity with Stakeholder Advisories (O-Visa) Act — on Monday. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate.

If enacted, the legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to notify the DGA and IATSE of  approvals or denials of the O visas for foreign directors and crew members seeking to work on films and TV series shot in the U.S.

“This bipartisan bill is an important step in providing a level of transparency that will help ensure the security and integrity of the USCIS-administered O-1B and O-2 visa program which admits foreign directors, members of the director’s team, and craftspeople with extraordinary ability to temporarily work in the U.S on motion picture production,” the DGA and IATSE said.

The O visa program was established by Congress in 1990 to temporarily admit foreign directors, members of the director’s team, craftspeople, artists and athletes to include “who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.”

The program requires that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services consult with appropriate organizations — including IATSE, the DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — regarding the validity of applicants in their areas.

“While the vast majority of those seeking O-1B and O-2 visas use the programs appropriately, for years we have expressed our concerns that the USCIS has been approving fraudulent applications that have not been subject to any review, and has refused to even notify us when insufficient applications are approved over our valid objections – undermining the statutory mandate and preventing us from fulfilling our obligations to Congress in this very important area,” the DGA and IATSE said.

“By requiring the USCIS to give us notice of a final visa ruling, we will be better able to assist them in identifying fraud and abuse, as well as protecting our national security,” they added.

The bill’s authors are Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY). The unions thanked them along with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers for their expertise and guidance; Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren for her unwavering support; and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for moving this legislation to its final passage.

The AMPTP said in a statement, “We applaud Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA), Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and the rest of the House of Representatives on the passage of H.R. 3636. The O1-B visa program plays an important role in U.S. film and television production, and this bill is a big step in the right direction to help protect its integrity.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content