Many multi-national companies have policies of international rotation of managerial level personnel to assure that all key personnel within the company have equal opportunity for career advancement when an appropriate position becomes open in any location around the world.
Cross-fertilization of ideas among high level employees and executives enhances a company’s competitiveness; exchanges of ideas often result in innovation that is essential to a company's reputation and development. A regular rotation of key personnel improves and ensures uniformity of service and procedure within the company at a global level.
When a multi-national company is developing a new market in another country, it may become necessary to have some employees with specialized knowledge work in the newly established office. The availability of an experienced employee with specialized and proprietary knowledge is often the determining factor in the success of the new office.
Large multi-national companies also need the flexibility to transfer their employees freely without being limited to any particular employee or any particular location.
The L visa was specifically designed to facilitate the needs of intra-company transfers by multi-national companies. Smaller and even start up companies can also take advantage of the L visa. USCIS has provided a special set of procedures to be used by companies that are frequent users of the L-1 visa category or are large multi-national organizations. It is called "L-1 Blanket Petition Program." Under this program, the approved company need only receive one approval from the USCIS to transfer a certain number managerial, executive and professional employees. L-1A visas are designed for intra-company executive transferees coming to work in the United States. The L-1A visa holders must have been employed in an executive or managerial capacity for the foreign company at an overseas location continuously for at least one year out of the past three years. Further, the L-1A holder must be coming to the U.S. to work for the U.S. company in an executive or managerial capacity. Initial L-1A petition will be approved for 3 years and can be renewed twice for 2 years each for total of 7 years. If new company, the initial petition will be approved for 1 years and can be renewed three times for 2 years each for total of 7 years. Specific employment-based immigrant preference category (EB-1C) was created for managers and executives who meet the L-1A standards and are interested in becoming lawful permanent residents (LPRs). These aliens are considered "priority workers" in the first preference, which is allotted 40,000 annual immigrant visas. Although L-1A status is not a prerequisite for immigrant benefits in this category, it provides a stronger case when the immigrant petitioner was in L visa category previously. A labor certification is not necessary for an EB-1C alien petitioner.
L-1B category covers specialized knowledge personnel. An example of specialized knowledge personnel would be an individual who possesses proprietary knowledge about a company's product and who travels to the U.S. to impart his or her specialized knowledge to new U.S. employees. Initial L-1B petition will be approved for 3 years and can be renewed once for 2 years each for total of 5 years. If new company, the initial petition will be approved for 1 years and can be renewed twice for 2 years each for total of 5 years.
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