Tag Archives: l-1

L-1 Visa Rejections Increasing Due to USCIS Crackdown

After the H-1B visa lotteries of 2007, 2008 and more recently in 2013, due to the strict annual quota of 85,000 visas, many large multi-national companies and indeed smaller ones turned to the L-1 visa as a way to get high skilled and much needed foreign talent to work in the US. The general criteria for the L-1 visa is the company must have locations in multiple countries and the foreigner must have worked at least one year in that foreign location.

Some companies have abused this L-1 visa, however the real reason it is being used by companies like Microsoft and up and coming companies like Square and Airbnb is because the high-skill talent is needed and current US Immigration law is arcane and Immigration reform just never seems to get done.

However the USCIS has decided under some form of direction to go completely crazy with these application petitions and reject first time and renewal application at an alarmingly high rate and for respectable companies like the Big 4 Accounting firms and tech giants like Microsoft and Google let alone the smaller companies. This is causing havoc not just for the companies but for the foreigners and their families themselves and underlies the huge flaws in US Immigration for legal, law abiding and high skill immigrants.

The 3 charts below so how major the problem has become in recent times. (from Reuters)

  • In Chart 1 you can see the denial rates of L-1 visa applicants is almost 30% in 2011 and trending higher

l1 chart1


  • In Chart 2 you can see 60% they are doing a Request For Evidence (RFE) which essentially requiring the sponsor employer to provide endless additional documentation about the role and companies which always delays the process by many months with little guarantee of success and a whole lot of internal and legal costs

l1 chart2


  • In Chart 3 you can see that in the middle part of the decade this may have disproportionately affected Indian nationals particularly at companies like InfoSys and Tata who had been accused in past (although not proven) to abuse the L-1 Visa system. However given the sharp drop in L-1 visa holders from Indian applicants in recent years but the continually high rejection rate it shows that either or both of Indian applicants are continuing to be scrutinized most and this sweeping high rejection rate is affecting all foreigners and thus the US economy at large.


l1 chart3



Why US Congress Would Be Foolish To Pass Anti-Immigration & H-1B Visa Bill

I have read many articles in recent times since what is an anti-immigration and anti-H1B visa (and L-1 vis) legislation was submitted for debate in the US Congress.

The crux of the legislation is the ludicrous notion that 65,000 annual H-1B visas out of a workforce of over 150 million people (CIA figures) have helped be a major cause of the mass unemployment in the US. This equates to 0.4% of annual labor.

Then when you consider according to NASSCOM (National Association of Service and Software Companies), the average foreign engineer on H-1B visa only stays in the US for 2 years which is not even the full term of an H-1B visa which is 3 years.

Suddenly you see how ridiculous all this is and the arguments put forward by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) like;
“Some claim that the H-1B program helps to create American jobs, but it is currently being used by some companies to outsource American jobs to foreign countries.”

are all just an anti-immigrant and H-1B visa ruse to distract the US public from who is really to blame for the current  economy.

1. US Politicians who were in bed with corporate America and taking their kick backs, campaign contributions and gifts and providing little or no oversight over mass corruption and breaking of the law

2. US Corporations headed by US Executives (mainly in banking and financial sector) who engaged in practices that would mildly be described as extremely reckless while profiting individually regardless of the damage to their own companies or the general public who engage with them and economy as a whole

3, US Consumers for entering into mortgages they could not afford and racking up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

It almost reminds you of that Simpson’s episode where Mayor Joe Quimby distracts the public blaming the high taxes on immigrants and the public believes it. The sad thing today is that this is real life and not an animated cartoon on Fox.

For arguments sake lets suppose there proposition that the H-1B visa and immigrants are really taking jobs away from US citizens are argue that statements on its own merits by looking at the facts.

Duke & Harvard University Researcher Vivek Wadhwa who did a study for the Kauffman Group found:

  • Half of all Silicon Valley engineers are foreign born, up from 10 percent in 1970, where US innovation for the last 4 decades has stemmed from Apple and Microsoft to Yahoo and Google
  • About 40 percent of all U.S. patents go to immigrants.
  • These immigrant-founded companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2005.

To  go further if that does not convince somebody Yahoo, Google, Sun, Intel, Audiovox, Qualcomm, and eBay – were founded and led by immigrants whose successful companies today employ hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Imagine if all those brands were Chinese, Indian or Heaven Forbid to many Americans, even Arabic where many of these hard working entreprenuers and innovators are from. Would the US even be in it’s top place in the world today?

The study also found that many of the highly educated foreigners who came to the US for undergraduate, graduate and PHD degrees to the top universties in the US paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and spending each are chosing to return home because of the difficulty in obtaining an H-1B visa & more alarmingly the greater entrepreneurial opportunities back at home.

The New York Times recently profiled a young engineer for Google, Sanjay G. Mavinkurve, an Indian-born, American-educated entrepreneur who helped write the code for a website that would become Facebook. But now, Mr. Mavinkurve, who once proudly displayed an American flag in his college dorm room, must work in Canada because visa rules make it impracticable to move his wife and family to the United States.

Let me leave you with these final thoughts;

  • When Google built their moster Googleplex in Silicon Valley that seems to grow every day, how many American contruction companies and contractors built, extend and maintain that facility every day.
  • When the tens of thousands of Yahoo employees in Burbank go out for lunch each day to local eateries owned by hard working small businesses owned by Americans, how many US families does that feed.
  • At times like the upcoming Mother’s Day or Christmas, when millions of people all over the world purchase off eBay.com and eBay collects all that fee/commission revenue flowing into the US and then pays say 30% tax on their profits, how many roads does it build, young children does it feed and healthcare does it provide for (including Senator Durbin and Senator Grassley!!)

President Obama has signalled he doesn’t want the US to become an inward, protectionist nation. Well lets hope for all US citizens that holds true and this legislation does not pass as it would the first big dagger into US innovation and supremacy leading the world!