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Purpose of the L-1 Visa

Posted by attorney Brian Lerner

The L nonimmigrant classification was added to the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to make it easier for corporations doing business in the United States to bring key foreign employees to the United States to work, that is, to permit international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to the United States for the purpose of improving management effectiveness, expanding United States exports, and enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets. Prior to the enactment of Public Law 91-225, no nonimmigrant classification existed which fully met the needs of intracompany transferees. Those who did not qualify as E nonimmigrants were forced to apply for immigrant visas to the United States, even if there was no intent to permanently reside in the United States. The "L" provision of the INA was not intended to alleviate or remedy a shortage of United States workers, since a basis for admission of workers for whom there is a shortage is provided under INA § 101(a)(15)(H) Furthermore, the L classification was not created for self-employed persons to enter the United States, unless they are otherwise qualified for L status, nor was the L classification intended to accommodate the complete relocation of foreign business to the United States.

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