Update on L-1 US visas

American Visa (XL)In recent years the demand for H-1B visas in the United States has been exceeding the yearly quota of 85,000, resulting in tens of thousands of people being unable to use the system to legally migrate to the country. The good news, however, is that immigrants who have worked overseas for a business for one year could be eligible to gain a transfer to the United States via an intra-company transfer visa known as the L-1 visa.

L-1 US visa comes in two types: the L-1A visa, which is aimed at executives and managers, and the L-1B visa, which is aimed at workers with a particular knowledge related to the company in question. These visas are generally valid for up to three years, with an initial period of one year tending to be granted for a new office in the United States. Visas can be extended by two years up to a maximum of seven years for those with L-1A visas; the maximum for those with L-1B visas is five years.

An average of 68,000 L-1 visas were issued every year between 2009 and 2013. As there is no actual quota or limit on how many can be issued per annum, this number could easily increase.

The L-1 visa has come in for some criticism recently on account of the lack of a yearly cap and the absence of any salary requirement, which critics say is leading companies to hire immigrant workers on very low salaries; however the L-1 visa tends to be most used in the high-paying technology industry.