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US shelves legislation on L1 visas

The US senate this week decided to shelve legislation on the L1 visas until later this year. This provides a strong signal to offshore companies that the US will continue to welcome imported tech skills.

It was believed that with the increase of 20,000 H1B visas this year, the pinch would be felt in the L1 visa category, which doesn't suffer from caps like H1B and has a maximum term of seven years compared to six of H1B. Though the delay in legislation is a shot in the arm for the tech services industry here, the recent L1 and H1B Visa Reform Act, 2005, takes care of certain perceived loopholes in the L1 laws. What has actually happened is a marriage of security provisions that target the abuses of the L1 visas category while keeping doors open for foreign technology professionals.

For instance, companies cannot any longer place their L1B visa employees at third party sites unless they are under the control of their L1 employer. This will prevent essentially employment agencies masquerading as tech companies from farming out their L1 visa employees from site to site.

Henceforth, an L1 visa holder can only work in services or areas related to the specialised knowledge for which the L-1 visa was given in the first place. This move will prevent many companies using their L1 visa holders as "contract labour". These moves are also designed to protect US jobs from being ruthlessly taken away to cheaper foreign skills. A number of these provisions have been made after spirited lobbying by some senior US lawmakers. Chief among them is Tom Tancredo from Colorado, while organisations like the AeA have been lobbying to keeping America's doors open for skilled foreign labour.

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>> HAVE MULTIPLE H1B VISAS for DIFFERENT EMPLOYERS

>> HOW TO CHECK THE STATUS OF YOUR VISA

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