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Workers with H-1B and L-1B Visas: How Adjudication and Enforcement Trends Affect Manufacturers

February 5, 2020

Faced with a shortage of U.S. workers to fill specialty occupations whose job duties require the attainment of a specialized baccalaureate or advanced academic degree, U.S. manufacturers have resorted to employing foreign workers under an H-lB nonimmigrant visa for such highly skilled jobs. It is no secret that the number of H-lB visas available each fiscal year from the U.S. government has long lagged far below the U.S. manufacturing sector’s need for such specialty workers. In addition, current rigorous USCIS adjudication trends for H-lB petitions make the attainment of such nonimmigrant visas increasingly perilous, time-consuming, expensive and unattractive to U.S. manufacturers. The discouraging effect of these adjudication trends is compounded by the increasing incidence of unannounced site visits by USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) officers to confirm that an H-lB worker is being employed under the terms and conditions described in the approved H-lB petition.

U.S. multinational manufacturers are similarly facing greater challenges, delays and costs in using the L-lB nonimmigrant visa to employ foreign workers with critically needed specialized knowledge acquired during employment abroad for a year or more with a foreign parent, subsidiary, affiliate, joint venture partner or branch office. L-lA nonimmigrant visa petitions by U.S. manufacturers to employ multinational executives and managers transferred from their foreign counterparts also receive heightened USCIS scrutiny and are often met with lengthy requests for additional evidence. The FDNS also has extended its unannounced site visit program to include foreign workers on L-lB and L lA visas.

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