Option 4 of Mitchell Williams' Immigration Series on alternatives to H-1B visas: L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Visa.

If a U.S. employer is either the parent, subsidiary, or an affiliate of a foreign corporation, then it may also be possible to sponsor a foreign national employee with an L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Visa. To sponsor a foreign national for an L-1 visa, the foreign national must be employed abroad continuously for one year by a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the U.S. petitioning company within the three preceding years. Due to this requirement, this means that L-1 sponsorship will be limited only to employees who are currently working for the foreign company, or who worked with the foreign company within the last three years prior to coming to the U.S. to work for the U.S. petitioning company.

Additionally, the foreign national employee must be coming to the U.S. to work as either a manager, an executive (L-1A), or as a worker with specialized knowledge (L-1B). Specialized workers include foreign nationals who have:

  • Special knowledge of the company’s product(s), services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests, and

  • the application of the product in international markets, or

  • that have an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company.

This option may not be available to all U.S. employers, it could be worth investigating the option of moving a foreign worker abroad to a foreign parent, subsidiary, or affiliate abroad to potentially qualify for a L-1 visa, especially if the U.S. worker’s H-1B petition was not selected in the lottery.