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Senators Scrutinize the Usage of L1 Visa Program
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Closely following on the heels of asking top foreign based companies to disclose details about their workforce and their use of the H-1B visa program, Senators Chuck Grassley and Richard Durbin have now expressed fresh concerns over the use of L-1 visa by companies who also use large numbers of H-1B visas

Letter to USCIS:

The Senators sent a letter to Emilio Gonzalez, the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), asking more questions about how the agency is addressing fraud and abuse in the H-1B visa program. The Senators also expressed concern about the screening of individuals for blanket L petition that allows companies to bring in a limitless amount of workers. The USCIS responded to Senators Grassley and Durbin, and provided information that shows many foreign outsourcing firms that send American jobs overseas are using L visas in large numbers.

"From the responses we've received thus far, it's evident that American workers are in the minority at these companies. I expect USCIS to take a hard look at their recruiting methods to make sure they are complying with the law," Grassley said.

Senators concerns on the issue:

The Senators were of the view that many of the same companies identified as using the most H-1B visas were the same companies that used the most L visas. They think that employers can use the L visa program to evade restrictions on the H-1B program because it does not include protections for American workers and have advised for additional checks on the L visa program.

Amongst the list of top L visa users for fiscal year 2006 were some of the leading Indian and global information technology firms. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) which is an Indian information technology firm topped the L visa user list for fiscal year 2006. It was followed by Cognizant Technology Solutions, IBM, Satyam Computer Services and Wipro .

According to Mr. Grassley, “This information certainly makes one wonder if companies are using the L visa to circumvent the worker protections required under the H-1B program. I'd like to know how many American workers these companies hire compared to the number of foreign workers they bring in.” He also added, “American workers deserve the best chance at jobs in this country, and this data makes one question if they are too often overlooked.”

Unlike the H-1B visa, the L visa does not have a cap or an annual limit on the number of visas issued. In the words of Mr. Durbin, "The L visa is designed to give multinational companies the freedom to transfer managers and specialists within the company to their U.S. offices." He also added , "But some of these companies have hundreds, and in some cases thousands of L visa workers. I find it hard to believe that any one company has that many individuals that are legitimately being transferred within a single year. I find it even harder to believe that these L visas are being used appropriately when many of the same companies are some of the largest employers of H-1B workers. It's clear that foreign outsourcing firms are abusing the system and we can't let that continue."

Conclusion:

This shows that the scrutiny on the usage of work visas by the U.S. Companies is not going away anytime soon. Hence, we advise companies to carefully develop their strategies in utilizing the U.S. visas, and maintain full compliance. This will help avoid potential damages that may arise from any legislation that Congress may pass in the future.

VisaPro attorneys take all the necessary measures to keep Companies compliant with U.S. immigration regulations while handling the work visa matters


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