L-1B Restrictive Interpretation Escalating at USCIS/DOS

L-1B “specialized knowledge” – we are seeing concerted government effort to restrict the number of visas issued.

We have been noticing a trend within USCIS and the State Department to restrict the number of L-1B visas by narrowly applying key terms that appear in the statutory, regulatory and policy materials that address and define the term “specialized knowledge.” The amendments to the L-1 law that were passed by Congress in 1990 and the agency memos that have been developed since that interpret this law make it clear that any employee who has “special knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company” is eligible for classification as a “specialized knowledge” employee and that knowledge can be widely held.

When filing L-1B cases, we make sure to ground our facts in the language interpreting “specialized knowledge” in 1994 and 2004 INS/USCIS agency memos as well as argue the Congressional intent of the current 1990 law, which is to broaden the availability of this visa to support international business. We also endeavor to emphasize that pre-1990 narrow interpretations of key terms were precisely what precipitated the amendments to the statute in 1990 in the first place and and that those amendments were meant to liberalize definitions from 1970 which no longer make sense in this multinational global business world.

Article categories: Intra-company Transfers

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