Case Study - Food Processing Machine Manufacturer Needs L-1 Specialized Knowledge Tech for its U.S. Operations
U.S. entity is part of a global conglomerate which sells manufacturing equipment in the food processing industry. The U.S. entity needs a Service Technician in the U.S. to visit client sites to commission, install, and service manufacturing equipment. The person will train client operators on how to use and service the machinery. The machinery is specifically tailored to the food processing industry and requires knowledge of proprietary mechanical and electrical design. It is very difficult to find someone with the experience and skills needed.
The U.S. entity/employer needs a capable Service Technician to make sure machinery is working and clients are happy and the business continues on an upward trajectory.
Strategy + Solution
Operations leadership for the U.S. entity/employer has conferred with their international counterparts and identified a candidate for the open position who is currently working for their affiliate abroad. The candidate has many years of apprenticeship and full-time work experience with the affiliate abroad. Both entities agree they want to transfer this Service Technician to the U.S.
Our lawyers discuss with both entities potential eligibility for L-1B work visa. This work visa is for intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge. We have to prove the individual has worked for at least a year abroad for a related entity (parent, affiliate, subsidiary) and that both the foreign entity and U.S. entity are in fact doing business. We also must show the candidate has specialized knowledge gained from working abroad.
The lawyers work with the U.S. entity and foreign employer to prove all prongs of eligibility. We collect checklists about the job abroad, the job in the U.S., and the candidate. We need paystubs proving employment abroad. We also need to prove the specialized knowledge piece. While this prong appears simple, it is highly scrutinized. We spend a lot of time understanding training programs and inner workings of how this Service Technician came to be qualified for the job. We then apply their qualifications to the position in the U.S. to show specialized knowledge application in the U.S.
Once evidence is gathered, then we prepare the I-129 petition for filing with USCIS to request L-1B classification and consular processing (if the L-1B candidate is residing abroad). We file the petition with supporting evidence, and if approved, the L-1B candidate applies for a visa with Department of State at the nearest U.S. consulate to them abroad. If the L-1B Visa is issued, they will come to the U.S. for up to 3 years to work for the U.S. employer.
Planning Ahead, Short Term + Long Term
It is very common for L-1B transferees to come to the U.S. strictly as a secondment with intention of returning to their home country or to another of the conglomerate’s entities abroad. However, it is important to note the L-1B only lasts for 5 years. So, if a U.S. entity wants to retain the worker, they will need to plan ahead on extensions of L-1B status and possibly the employment-based green card.
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