The L1 Visa of the US is a temporary visa which facilitates the intra-company transfer of a foreign worker. The foreign worker should be in an executive, managerial, or specialized role. The L1 Visa allows the worker to come to the US to work in an office of the same employer. The office could belong to its parent company, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate.
The L1 Visa was created to ease the transfer of employees of large multinational companies. However, it also allows startup or small companies to expand their business or services to the US.
The USCIS has recently published a memorandum to provide clarification regarding the L1 Visa.
The policy memorandum clarified the duration of employment of the L1 beneficiary. The L1 beneficiary should have been employed abroad with the qualifying organization. The employment should have been continuous for a year in the recent 3 years prior to submitting the L1 application.
During the 1 year that the L1 beneficiary is employed with the company, the worker should be physically outside the US. However, brief trips to the US for business or pleasure may be allowed during this duration.
L1 visas are mainly issued for intra-company transfers. For example, if an employee of Infosys moves from India to the office of the company in the US, they will do so on an L1 Visa. If, however, the employee moves from India to work at a client site in the US, they will do so on an H1B Visa.
The USCIS also said that the petitioning company should also meet all the requirements of the L1 Visa.
The IT industry in India had been awaiting clarity on the L1 Visas. The rejection rates for L1 Visas gone up in recent times. The visa fee has also increased many folds. The number of renewals has also decreased.
As part of its Buy American Hire American policy, the US Govt. has been reviewing its visa programs and policies. This has subjected visa applications to greater scrutiny, as per Money Control.
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