Immigration Policy for Intracompany Transfers (L Visas): Issues and Legislation [June 12, 2003]   [open pdf - 57KB]

Concerns are growing that the visa category that allows executives and managers of multinational corporations to work temporarily in the United States is being misused. This visa category, commonly referred to as the L visa, permits multinational firms to transfer top-level personnel to their locations in the United States for 5 to 7 years. Although the number of L visas issued has tripled in the past 20 years, the number of L visas that the Department of State issued in FY2002 (112,624) is down from a high of 120,538 in FY2001. Some are now charging that firms are using the L visa to transfer "rank and file" professional employees rather than limiting these transfers to top-level personnel, thus circumventing immigration laws aimed at protecting U.S. employees from the potential adverse employment effects associated with an increase in the number of foreign workers. Proponents of current law maintain that any restrictions on L visas would prompt many multinational firms to leave the U.S., as well as undermine reciprocal agreements that currently permit U.S. corporations to transfer their employees abroad. Legislation that would amend the L-1 visa has been introduced (H.R. 2154). This report tracks legislative activity and will be updated as action warrants.

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CRS Report for Congress, RS21543
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