Due to global economy downturn, those who seek job in US might not feel welcome. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Says that unemployment rate has increased to 8.1per cent according to their survey. So the immigration policies have become tight for the job seekers in US.
In 2010, H1B visa’s fee has been raised by passing bill for temporary workers from foreign countries. And also for L1 visa holders, employees in international companies.
“You start with the general issues of the visa situation and the very high unemployment rate, and you add the fact that there used to be many more entry-level jobs at financial institutions and big manufacturing companies. That has shut down. You’re not seeing job growth.
“It’s not as easy to find positions, and as a foreigner or immigrant, you are not at the front of the queue, so it’s going to be tougher for you.”
So Immigration restrictions remain a hurdle for the foreign job seekers and creation of a global, flexible workforce is considered as a priority in most of the business. As a result, companies are controlling expense associated with expatriate postings by changing the assignment structure and shortening their duration. Expatriate packages cost is very high and most of them involve costs associated with relocation, housing, incidentals and transport. According to Human resource expert local hire is less expensive than appointing an expatriate to a given job.
The traditional expatriate assignments last between one and five years but many companies have started short term training or project-based assignment which exists between three and twelve months. So that employees can get the opportunity to spend time at multinational’s headquarters learning and being indoctrinated in the corporate culture.
The highly valued skills according to Ms.Fitzgerlad, an international career coach who works with expatriates, are depending on the nature of role, variance analysis, and experience in financial statements, annual and strategic planning and forecasting.
To be successful in today’s world, all of us should think in a broader way in this global economy.
International companies can transfer managerial and specialized knowledge employees from their foreign office to their US office through the L-1 visa classification. Foreign companies are also permitted to establish a new office in the United States. The L-1 visa, also referred as “intra-company transferee” visa allows international companies to transfer their employees to the US for work within the same or related company. It is mandatory that the employees being transferred should have been employed by the foreign company for at least one year within the three years before filing under the L-1 classification.
The L-1 visa category is further divided into two sub categories:
- L-1A visas are for employees who come to the US in a managerial position. The employee’s responsibilities are managing either people or processes. It is not necessary for these employees to be managers at present to qualify, but the proposed US job must be of a managerial level.
- L-1B visas are for employees who have “specialized knowledge”, meaning ones who have knowledge about a particular product/process that cannot be mastered in a reasonable period of time. Main developers of a new technology OR employees who have a long history with the company’s product line that is necessary for developing next generation products fall under this category.
L-1 visas are valid for an initial three-year period. It can be renewed for two years at a time, rising up to a maximum of seven years for L-1A visa holders and five years for L-1B visa holders. Maximum time limit simply refers to the employee’s physical presence in the United States. If you come under the L-1B visa category and during your US employment you leave the US a few times for vacation or business, the total amount of time spent outside of the US can be added back to the total amount of time permitted in the US. In simple terms, the maximum time in L-1 status is restricted to the time that someone is physically present in the US.
Unless you, the L-1 visa holder are granted lawful permanent residency (green card) in the US before the maximum time limit (seven years for L-1A visa holders and five years for L-1B visa holders) is reached, it is mandatory that you leave the US for a full year (365 days) before you become eligible to get another L-1 visa.
Features of the L-1 Visa Category
It facilitates transfer of employees of international companies from a foreign office to a US office of the same or related company. It is divided into two sub categories, for managers and specialized knowledge employees. L-1A visa holders are limited to a maximum stay of seven years and L-1B visa holders are limited to a maximum stay of five years. Time previously spent in H-1B status will be counted toward the L-1 maximum limit. Dependent spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age qualify for L-2 status. Such dependents can study in the US and L-2 spouses are permitted to apply for separate work authorization. It is a dual-intent visa that allows for permanent residency by filing the green card application simultaneously while working in L-1 status.
Permanent Residents or Green Card holders are authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. United States offers green cards to people in various ways and one of them is the employment based Green Card. In general, this means that an individual will be able to get a green card based on the fact that he or she has a permanent employment opportunity in the United States.
Generally, a sponsor is required to apply for an employment based green card. Wherever a job offer is mandatory for sponsoring the green card, it is for the future job that the employee will do after he or she obtains the green card. Hence it is possible for an employer to sponsor for a green card even if the employee is not working with them currently. There are few categories where a sponsor is not required. There are many people who are already in the United States working for the sponsoring employer with H1 or L1 visas when the green card application is filed.
Who may file?
Getting an employment based green card is a multi-step process. The sponsor must file the Form I-140 to sponsor the employee for a green card. The employer or the sponsor may file the petition for the following:
- An outstanding professor or researcher with at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area,
- A person who has been employed in the area of a primary managerial or executive capacity for one year by a legal firm, corporation or other legal entity and who is willing to work in the United States for the same employer or subsidiary.
- Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences and arts, or an individual having an advanced degree, who will benefit the national economy or the welfare of US
- Individuals who has skills to perform the labor in US where there are no qualified workers for that occupation in the US.
- An unskilled worker to perform the labor in US where there are no qualified workers for that occupation in the US.
If the sponsor or the employer is an individual, then the sponsor must personally sign the form I 140. If the sponsor is below 14 years then the sponsor’s legal guardian must sign the petition. If the sponsor is not an individual and if the sponsor is a legal entity or a corporation, then the employee of the concern, who has knowledge on the facts involved in the petition, must sign the petition.
Along with the petition the supporting documents must be sent to USCIS. One of the major document is the Labor Certification. This certification must be obtained before filing the form I-140 to prove that there are no skilled workers available or willing in US at the time or places of employment of the immigrant. If qualified workers are available then must prove that immigrant’s employment in the occupation will not affect the wages and working conditions of the workers in US.