From the Desk of Attorney Caro Kinsella
One of the notable adjudicatory trends our Law Office has noticed under L-1 intracompany transferee status (L-1A/L-1B, Specialized Knowledge/Blanket L) over the past two years seems to follow the implementation of President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order (which was signed on April 18, 2017).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has sated the executive order, “seeks to create higher wages and employment rate for U.S. workers and to protect their economic interests by rigorously enforcing and administering our immigration laws … “
Under L-1 intracompany transferee status (L-1A/L-1B, Specialized knowledge/Blanket L); USCIS has increased their onsite visits for L-1B workers and have the authority to deny applications and petitions without first issuing a request for further evidence (RFE) or a notice of intent to deny (NOID).
Under the U.S. Department of State (DOS), consular officers are stringently adjudicating L visa cases with high denial rates; this trend is global and especially evident in the London and Dublin Embassy as many clients call our office looking for assistance after having their petitions denied.
The following scenario is happening at an alarming rate as we are witnessing in our law firm due to increased calls from people looking for our legal expertise to resolve their case issues.
Common Scenario: The L-1 application has been approved by USCIS and when the person goes to the consulate for the L-1 visa to be issued into their passport, the consular officer denies their L visa and thus the person is not permitted to seek entry into the USA under their L visa status.
RECENT CASE STUDY:
A client had his Blanket L-1B, specialized knowledge petition approved by USCIS. At his consulate interview in the Dublin consulate, his L-1B visa was denied. Granted he was admittedly unprepared for the interview questions from the consular officer, his whole world was now in turmoil as he assumed the consulate interview was a simple formality to have the visa issued at the consulate in Dublin.
After speaking to the client at length to fully understand his case and reasons for the denial we agreed to retain him as his legal counsel, as we were not the attorneys who had initially filed the Blanket L-1B, specialized knowledge. We had to re-strategize and review his case and decided his L-1B case was weak in areas, and so advised against returning to the consulate for another interview.
Instead, we put together a specialized business visa that permitted him to perform not only services but also productive work temporarily in the US. Based on his duties and position both in the foreign and US Company this visa was more suited to his needs. All his documents were reviewed, we drafted a legal argument and most importantly prepped our client for an hour for his upcoming embassy/consulate interview in Dublin (all our clients are prepped before interviews and when dealing with Custom and Border Patrol officers (CBP)). The majority of the topics we discussed during the prep session were brought up at our client’s consular interview, he was thus prepared and his new visa was approved by the consular officer; and he was permitted to enter the US to perform essential duties.
Not only does the Executive Order “Buy American, Hire American” make adjudications under US Immigration law more stringent and demanding. Clients must understand their cases fully and be fully prepped by an attorney dealing in only U.S. Immigration matters to underpin their success rate. If you need assistance with a similar issue be sure to contact my office and speak with me about your specific options.
– Caro Kinsella, US Immigration Attorney