Immigration Policy for Intracompany Transfers (L Visa): Issues and Legislation [Updated October 24, 2005]   [open pdf - 76KB]

"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 five to seven years. The number of L visas issued has increased by 363.5% over the past 25 years. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued only 26,535 L visas in FY1980. L visa issuances began increasing in the mid-1990s and peaked at 122,981 in FY2005. 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 United States, as well as undermine reciprocal agreements that currently permit U.S. corporations to transfer their employees abroad. Legislation in the 108th Congress that would have amended the L-1 visa was introduced (H.R. 2154, H.R. 2702, S. 1635, H.R. 2849/ S. 1452, H.R. 4415 and H.R.4166). All of these bills had provisions aimed at restricting the outsourcing of L-1 visa holders."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32030
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