Immigration Law

Will the New L-1B Guidance Bring Fewer Denials...Or More of the Same? - Gary Endelman & Cyrus D. Mehta

"If there is one visa uniquely suited to advance America’s competitive position in the global marketplace, it is the L-1B intra-company transferee visa for specialized knowledge employees.  In an increasingly specialized economy where expertise should trump nationality, the notion of “specialized knowledge” as it affects L-1B adjudications has become increasingly contentious.  For many years, the L-1B visa, created in 1970 as Congress warmed to the realization that American business had become international, sailed along in tranquil waters unburdened by controversy.  In recent years, much as its companion H-1B visa has become embroiled in bitter dispute, immigration restrictionists have tended to focus on the L-1B visa as a threat to domestic employment, thus ensuring that the climate of adjudications would become rigid and restrictive.  In response to the resulting criticism from business and immigrant advocates, the Administration promised a new and improved philosophy to guide L-1B adjudicators.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued interim policy guidance on L-1B "specialized knowledge" adjudications that supersedes and rescinds certain prior L-1B memoranda. USCIS said it is issuing this memorandum now for public review and feedback.  USCIS will finalize the guidance effective August 31, 2015.  It provides guidance on how L-1B petitioners may demonstrate that an employee has specialized knowledge.  In the case of off-site employment, it also clarifies how to comply with the requirements of the L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee) Reform Act of 2004.  The question is whether this new guidance will bring clarity and common sense into the morass of L-1B jurisprudence or simply result in more of the same excessive inconsistency that has so plagued it in the recent past." - Gary Endelman & Cyrus D. Mehta, Apr. 5, 2015.