It has never been harder or more expensive for American companies to move employees with specialized knowledge from overseas offices to the United States to be employed temporarily in L-1B nonimmigrant visa classification. That is the conclusion of a new report by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). The report presents startling data on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denials of L-1B visa petitions, which in FY 2014 stood at 35%, compared with only 6% just eight years earlier.
According to the report, Requests for Evidence (RFEs) were issued in nearly half of all L-1B submissions. As a group, Indian nationals have been hardest hit with a 56% denial rate. In comparison, only 4% of L-1B petitions for Canadian nationals were denied in FY 2014.
Another interesting finding from the report is that L-1B extension petitions were more likely to be denied than initial L-1B petitions.
The truth is that in too many cases USCIS has been rendering adjudications that are inconsistent with the intent and purpose of the L-1B program. Routine misinterpretation of the law and misapplication of the L-1B regulations places the L-1B program unnecessarily out of reach for the vast majority of businesses with a legitimate need to transfer key personnel into the United States. It also thwarts the efforts of American companies to create products and design technologies that depend on specialized knowledge which cannot be found in the U.S. labor market.
The NFAP report draws attention to the urgent need for reform of the L-1B program as a national imperative to insure that the United States maintains its economic edge in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.