With the death of the Immigration Reform bill last year, the possibility of an increase in the cap for H-1B visas also died.
However, necessity being the mother of invention, companies are turning to another part of the alphabet, the http://www.greencardapply.com/l1visa/l1visa_qualify.htm ">L-1 visa, as a way to bring the same guest workers here that were unable to get in under the H-1B cap.
Now some believe the necessity is all about getting more skilled workers into the U.S. due to a dearth of skilled IT professionals in the States. Whereas others, myself included, believe the necessity is all about companies wanting cheap labor.
Meanwhile, Bob Meltzer, a top immigration attorney and CEO of VisaNow, an online immigration processing company, is one of the voices blowing the whistle on the current misuse of the L-1 visa.
One would assume the more avenues available for guess workers and or immigrants to apply for admission to the U.S., the more revenue potential for VisaNow.
So why is Meltzer blowing the whistle?
"We had people coming to us when they wanted to file L-1s [instead of H-1Bs] and we would say it is not appropriate," Meltzer told me. The motive, Meltzer explains, is to get Congress to recognize that the law is "bending toward breaking" and that Congress has failed to recognize the problem with the H-1B cap.
Obviously, Meltzer is in a position to know. He has been involved in immigration issues since the 80s.
[If you want more background on the L-1 visa go to this column, Senate opens inquiry of L-1 visa program I wrote last June. here. Also, read Homeland Security probes L-1 visa abuses in my March 2006 blog.]
The original intent of the L-1 visa was to allow multinationals or foreign companies with affiliates in the U.S. to bring in managers, executives, or people with specialized knowledge not available here.
The L-1A addresses the issue of managers and executives and L-1B allows people with "specialized skills" entry into the U.S. for a three-year stay.
But now the L category is being used where the H-1B falls short. If a company was going to bring someone in on an H-1B and missed the quota, now it may try to squeeze work credentials into the L category, says Meltzer.
But companies are getting greedy and bringing in dozens or even hundreds of workers in on the L-1, which is why the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services and the Department of Labor are beginning to suspect it is being misused.
"Obviously you don't need a hundred managers," Meltzer says.