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How to count to 12: USCIS clarifies L1A visa requirements

The rules regarding qualifying employment abroad, required for an L-1 intracompany transfer visa, are clarified, if not changed, in a new US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy memorandum (PM).

Dated November 15, 2018, USCIS PM-602-0167, states that:

  • All visa requirements must be satisfied as of the date the agency receives the L-1 visa petition;
  • The employee must be physically outside the US for the required 1 continuous year of employment; and
  • In certain cases, time spent in the US will not break the continuity required, but that time will not be counted towards the required 1 year.

The PM does not create new law or effect a change in policy. Its stated purpose is to clarify existing rules.

The requirement that a visa petitioner meet all legal requirements at the time the petition is filed is longstanding. It already was not possible to file a defective petition and then cure that defect with facts that occur subsequent to filing. That is why L-1 petitions could never be filed before an employee completed the full 12 months of employment abroad.

The PM repeats the agency’s regulation that brief trips to the US for business or pleasure do not interrupt the required 1 continuous year of employment abroad. The regulations never defined “brief” and the PM, regrettably, doesn’t either. There is an example in the memo of brief trips totaling 60 days during the 1 year. It would have been better if the PM stated whether, for example, 1 trip for 60 days is brief, or 2 trips for 30 days, etc. As a result, the situation is neither improved nor worsened by the PM’s issuance.

Even though the law already clearly states that only days when the employee is physically outside the US may be counted, the PM states that time spent in the US working for a qualifying organization does not count, and updates Chapter 32.3 of the Adjudicator’s Field Manual to reflect this needless clarification.

For the full text of the Policy Memo, can be found at the USCIS website.

Please contact the authors for more information about this PM, the L-1 intracompany transfer visa or other business visas for the US or any other of the many countries where Dentons guides clients on business and cross-border mobility matters.

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How to count to 12: USCIS clarifies L1A visa requirements

Temporary ban on hiring expats in the Oman private sector





February 21, 2018   

Welcome to our client update on recent legal developments and on a new Ministerial Decisions promulgated by the Ministry of Manpower in Oman.

This update summaries the new law temporarily banning the issuance of work permits to non-Omani individuals in 87 job categories in the private sector.

Dentons’ Muscat office has over three decades of experience of advising on employment law issues in Oman. For any points of clarification on the new MD or for any other employment law queries please do not hesitate to contact Dentons. We would be very happy to hear from you.

Click to read the complete article.

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Temporary ban on hiring expats in the Oman private sector

Global mobility is a race

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Global mobility professionals should follow the same advice given to race car drivers:

  • Look ahead. There are many potential obstacles to avoid. You should know the entire course of events — not just the next turn — in order to achieve the most optimal approach for the fastest and most efficient processing time.
  • Identify your options and have a plan long before you meet obstacles. Government adjudicators, providers of key documents like diplomas, passports, and birth/marriage certificates, flight schedules, government holidays, corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, etc., are potential obstacles that can lead you to make choices that diverge from the original line of approach.
  • Pay attention to what happens ahead of you and learn from it. There are frequent changes.
  • Monitor proposed new laws and regulations. Keep informed of processing times and enforcement trends. Maintain expatriate employee policies and practices that adopt best practices from the experiences of your prior employee placements and the experience of the professionals advising you.
  • Stay in control and do not let the process drive you. Business needs can change. Family needs of the employee can change. You may need to adapt to those changes, but should do so in a controlled fashion that keeps the process on course.
  • Smoothness is king. Avoid radical shifts in practices. Adapt and make changes in a considerate fashion that does not derail other parts of the process.

Advance planning is key. The global mobility assignment process is complex and more often than not takes longer than expected. Plan — plan early — and keep the plan nimble.

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Global mobility is a race