When Congress passed the L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2004 (the L-1 Reform Act) it did so to address a narrow and specific concern about some companies which had outsourced L-1B intra-company transferees to third party employers.
The L-1B visa is very popular in the age of globalization because it allows foreign employees of multi-national domestic companies to transfer to theU.S.if they have specialized knowledge that is needed here, pursuant to the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1970 (the INA) and the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT90).
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, when he introduced the L-1 Reform Act, acknowledged that the L-1 visa class is an important tool for our multi-national corporations, and emphasized that he only wanted to close a loophole for third party placement of specialized knowledge workers. Chambliss made it clear that he had no desire to force unnecessary restrictions on the visa that would only result in adverse effects on legitimate L-1 users.
In fact, the L-1 Reform Act enacted no legislative change to the definition of specialized knowledge under the INA and IMMACT90.
Thus, the agencies interpreting those legislative acts would be well-advised not to further constrict the narrow entry point that they have constructed for L-1B workers because there was no legislative intent to trigger such restrictive action.
The still persistent practice of narrowing the entryway for L-1B applicants through policy guidance and administrative decisions unrelated to the INA or IMMACT90 demonstrates the need for stricter Congressional oversight, as well as the practical importance of having experienced counsel to advocate for L-1B transfer visa petitions.
If you are an employer or agent of an employer responsible for intra-company, inter-country transfers or compliance with immigration rules generally, please do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance at (847) 564-0712. You are also welcome to visit the pertinent section of our Website for additional information about our services.