Industry

L-1B visa rejections on the rise, says US law firm

Officials at the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, demonstrating asimpler visa process for applicants. File Photo: R. Ravindran

Officials at the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, demonstrating asimpler visa process for applicants. File Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R RAVINDRAN

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IT companies should provide proprietary tools, workers must be trained adequately before visa application say experts

Employment-based immigration law firm Fakhoury Law Group, PC of the U.S., which provides global immigration services to large Indian corporates for placing their personnel abroad more specifically in the U.S., said it has seen a spurt in the denial of L-1A/B visas, meant for specialised knowledge professionals, in recent times and this would adversely impact Indian IT companies unless corrective measures are taken.

“These days getting L-1B category visa has become extremely difficult as there is lot of scrutiny by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) authorities. Visa denials have increased due to the inability of the petitioning employers to demonstrate the ‘Specialized Knowledge’ position of the workers,” said Rami D Fakhoury, Managing Director, Fakhoury Law Group, PC.

“The standards are very high so Indian IT companies should provide their proprietary tools. If companies do not demonstrate this, then it would be difficult to exhibit the Specialized Knowledge,” he added.

His colleague Matthew C Morse, Partner, Fakhoury Law Group, PC said that rejection rates under the L-1 B category have gone up sharply. “We started noticing more rejections from 2010 onwards and now rejections have gone up by 60 to 70 per cent and it is more in case of IT companies,” he said.

According to Mr. Fakhoury, any major negative impact on IT companies concerning their U.S. operation will have adverse effect on the Indian economy as the IT sector contributes substantially to the Indian economy and the U.S. is the IT sector’s largest market.

Considering the stringent immigration laws in the U.S., Indian IT companies are now looking at other markets to expand their operations. The big issue for Indian companies is to how to comply with the tough visa procedures.

Thus top IT players are opting to bench more number of their workers so that they could be trained adequately before being deployed for overseas assignments. Today being benched is not considered bad as these people are being trained and retrained for specified jobs and to be deployed in new streams like Digital.

Currently in India to visit his offshore office in Mumbai and clients here, Mr. Fakhoury said before applying for L-1 A/B visa, the employee should have one year advanced knowledge for the same tool outside the U.S.

“The employee should work on his current employer’s tool otherwise it may be a reason for denial. The employer should show that the employee will work on their own tool for the end client and she/he is specialised in the same,” he added.

He said Indian companies should create more products which can be differentiated from competitors to be able to retain their workers in the U.S

The world over immigration laws have undergone radical changes as all countries are protecting their local labour force and imposing taxes on personnel from foreign countries to generate more revenue.

In a competitive environment such impediments put pressure on margins. But India’s demographic dividend will work to its advantage as more than 50 per cent of its population is below the age of 30 and a large number of talented and qualified professionals would be available to meet global immigration needs.

“Today countries like Japan and China have ageing population and at the same time many Indian companies are setting up bases there to support technological advancements. Now India is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and there are lots of opportunities in the IT, ITES, engineering services, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and financial services sectors abroad,” said Mr. Fakhoury. India is poised to be a leader with human resources globally because it has the ability to deliver.

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Printable version | Aug 20, 2019 9:24:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/l1b-visa-rejections-on-the-rise-says-us-law-firm/article7800595.ece

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