WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Monday that would reform outdated visa laws and cut down on the red tape hindering tens of thousands of visitors from coming to the U.S. and depriving retailers of potential sales.
Major retailers have been lobbying the Obama administration to ease visa rules so that tourists, especially those from fast-growing economies such as China and Brazil, can more easily visit the U.S. and spend their money on luxury goods and fashion items here rather than in Europe.
“With the global travel market set to dramatically increase in the coming years, it is critical that we harness its power to boost our travel and tourism industries,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), one of seven lead co-sponsors of the bill. “This bipartisan proposal will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the next decade and inject billions of dollars in our country’s economy.”
The legislation follows an executive order issued by President Obama in January that charged the State Department and Department of Homeland Security with increasing visa processing capacity for tourists from China and Brazil by 40 percent this year and ensuring that 80 percent of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of their applications being received.
The administration said by 2016 the number of travelers from China is projected to grow 135 percent, while the number of those from Brazil is expected to increase by 274 percent compared with 2010. Chinese and Brazilian tourists currently spend more than $6,000 and $5,000, respectively, each trip to the U.S., according to the Commerce Department.
Senators intend to build on Obama’s plan to increase tourism and create more jobs with their bill, dubbed the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act, or JOLT, which would require the State Department to establish “premium processing” procedures and allow for the expedited processing, for a fee, on nonimmigrant visas from India, China and Brazil, resulting in the issue of a visa within three business days from the date a visa is requested, if approved. The legislation would set new standards for visa processing, requiring visa interviews to be conducted within 15 days of requesting an appointment initially and, within a year after the bill is enacted, shortening that time period to 10 days.
The bill encourages the State Department to issue Chinese nationals longer visas than one year, and focus on processing visa renewals rather than facilitating travel by new visitors. It also aims to spur Canadian consumption, lengthening visas to 240 days from the current 180 days and permitting the State Department to lower visa application fees during off-peak seasons.
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee is slated to hold a hearing today on the bill and on promoting international travel to the U.S.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye