Common Sense and the L-1A Visa: Why Do Executives and Managers From Abroad Contribute their Skills and Expertise to the US Business Community?

By Kaushik Ranchod, Immigration Attorney

Sometimes the upset of an economic downturn, loss of jobs, bad reports about how “outsourcing” is “causing” Americans to lose jobs, which in turn promotes negative attitudes about foreign investment of money and talent in the US – all these factors cause an overall loss of common sense.

Yes.  Common sense about what is really a gain and what is actually a loss.   The L1A visa program is a perfect example.  Here’s a circumstance administered by the strict rules and regulations of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service USCIS (formerly, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)) which enables local businesses (no doubt they are either branch offices, subsidiaries, or affiliates of a company which has its main office somewhere else in the world) to import business managerial knowledge and executive skills from abroad and apply these benefits to local businesses practices and personnel training – all for paid for by the Petitioner (the out-of-US-employer) seeking legal sanction (and paying USCIS thousands in fees for this service) so that the Beneficiary (the manager/executive ,who will be working under the non-immigration L1A visa) can contribute executive/managerial know-how to the US economy.  And the cost to the U.S. taxpayer?  Zip, zilch, nada, nothing.

And the impact on unemployment in US?    Sometimes common sense forgets that this business was successfully created and prospers abroad and now wishes to expand its operations in the US.  This means “add value” (which is upgrading products and services), to the US economy, which does cause economic growth, which eventually means more jobs for Americans.

What else is an assured “win” for the home team (the USA business community) if it isn’t investments in the US economy from abroad adding foreign brain power to the mix at its own expense.  My common sense question is: What’s the “win” for the L1A visa holder (who has a window of from three to a maximum of seven years to operate and make the improvements to the US office) — why do foreign businesses want to expand their operations to US shores?

My guess is that it’s for the same reason that all the settlers, pioneers, immigrants, entrepreneurs, investors, have had for the making the journey, paying the costs, along the years, since the beginning of this enterprise, this experience of democracy – because they were free to do so.  It’s hard to put into words exactly.  Recently I read what one of the code writing innovators involved with Google and Facebook, Sanjay Mavinkurve, said about his reason for coming to join with and work in the melting pot called the United States of America:  ““I admired everything in the way America portrayed itself — the opportunity, U.S. Constitution, its history, enterprising middle class.” [read the full article on The Huffington Post]

Everyone has their reasons for making all the significant changes that are entailed by emigrating from the familiar and routine and come to the USA, even if it’s for a temporary assignment under the L1A visa .  And maybe the reason it’s hard to put one’s dreams and motivations into words, is because it’s simply common sense.  Maybe the answer really is “DUH!”

Wherever you may be in the United States or around the world, contact our offices in, Sacramento and Santa Clara California, to discuss your L1 visa needs.

For more information on L1 Visas, please visit the L1 Visa section of our blog or the L1 Visa page on our main site.