H1-B Visa and L-1 Visa are both non-immigrant visas. However, there is a difference between both. H1-B visa was stated out in 1990 for skilled individuals to join companies in the USA. It allows employers to get foreign workforce on board.
Before this year, an average of 85,000 H1-B visas was approved annually. In 2017, against the increasing demand, H1-B visa cap was reached just four days after the application window opened. However, H1-B is not the only employment-based visa in the USA. L-1 Visa is the visa for temporary non-immigrants through which companies can transfer their employees from another country to the USA. After a noticeable abate in H1-B visas, a lot of people are opting for L1-B visas. However, for an L-1 visa, it is compulsory for employees to be part of another subsidiary of the same company, its affiliate or parent company. There is no annual cap on these visas and the acceptability of visas depends on the applications.
After a limitation on H1-B visas, a lot of employers are opting to have their employees from other subsidiaries of their companies. However, there are a few points regarding L-1 in the new reform bill that must be kept in mind:
The bill prohibits employers from replacing a US national employee with an L-1 worker. It allows employers to have a foreign employee onboard for a job opening. Unlike H1-B, there is no restriction for employers to prove that no other individual in the USA can take up this job.
The reform bill also discusses the requirements that an employer needs to fulfill in order to have an L-1 worker on board in the US subsidiary. These include petitions for employment at a new office, wage rates, and employer penalties.
The shift of demand from H1-B to L-1 visa:
According to Abhinav Lohia, Partner and Practice Chair of India and Southeast Asia at Davies & Associates, “Indian companies will now have to scout for American talent or opt for alternatives like L1B or L1A visas to send workers to the US.”
Through L-1 visas companies can transfer employees temporarily for a managerial or executive role in any specialized domain. A lot of companies in the USA have already partnered with some local companies in India in order to shift employees through L-1. Another option for people with the rejected H1-B application is EB5 visa if you can afford that. Both L-1 and EB5 visas have higher chances of converting into a permanent visa and then citizenship over H1-B. For multi-national companies employing someone from L-1 visa is far easier than H1-B now. L-1 visas put an end to the dependence of the employer for staying in the United States.
However, just like H1-B visas, Trump government has increased the fees for L-1 visas as well. It is affecting the Indian IT firms in the USA the most. The fees for both H1-B and L-1 visas have already doubled. Most of the experts believe that the government will increase the fees more which will make it even more difficult for employers to have L-1 workers on board.