Nonimmigrant VisasUse of Visas By Alien Artists, Entertainers, and Athletes Gao ID: NSIAD-94-147 May 11, 1994
As of September 1993, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) had approved petitions for about 41,000 O and P visas, which are temporary worker visas for persons with distinguished merit and ability, including artists, entertainers, and athletes. The State Department's overseas posts had issued about 23,000 O and P visas, and aliens holding these visas had entered the United States about 31,000 times. The law requires the Attorney General to report to Congress each year, beginning in 1993, on the occupations of aliens seeking O and P visas. The 1993 report was lost during processing, however, and was not sent to Congress until March 1994--nearly a year late. The report due in April 1994 is now being prepared. INS is in the process of developing an automated database to compile information on the occupations of aliens whose petitions for O and P visas are approved. Until this system is in place, INS is using statistical sampling to estimate the occupations of petitioners. Its sampling for the period ending September 1992 showed that the majority of petition beneficiaries were musicians and composers.
GAO found that: (1) in fiscal year 1993, INS approved petitions for nearly 41,000 O and P visas, the State Department issued about 23,000 O and P visas, and 31,000 aliens holding O and P visas entered the United States; (2) legislation requires the Attorney General to report to Congress annually on the occupations of aliens seeking O and P visas; (3) the April 1993 report was presented to Congress nearly a year late because it had been lost during processing; (4) INS is developing an automated database system to strengthen its data gathering and compile data on the occupations of aliens whose petitions for O and P visas are approved; (5) of the O and P visas that were approved for aliens artists, entertainers, and athletes, between 68 and 84 percent were for internationally recognized musicians and composers and between 5 and 9 percent were for athletes; and (6) INS presently uses statistical sampling to estimate the occupations of visa petitioners.