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U.S. companies forced to deal with decreased L-1B visa approvals

Bringing skilled foreign workers into the United States may help to strengthen companies and improve the job market in the long run. Employers in Miami and elsewhere who need the knowledge and skills of people overseas may apply for the L-1B visa, also known as a visa for specialized workers.

The L-1B visa, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, allows a company to recruit foreign workers with special skills from an affiliated office in the worker’s home country, or to transfer workers to the United States to assist in the establishment of an affiliated company. Instead of bringing in foreign workers whose goal is to permanently live in the United States, the L-1B visa is for non-immigration employment purposes. It applies mainly to workers with technology, engineering, science and mathematics experience. USCIS states that the purpose of this visa is to allow American companies to obtain skilled staff if they are unable to find workers with these skills in the United States.

Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, approvals to bring in specialized workers have decreased. In 2014, according to a report from the National Foundation for American Policy, 35 percent of L-1B visa applications were denied. Currently, Indian workers are the nationality most affected by this trend.

What is the reason so many specialized visas are being denied? Some speculate that the recession led to an increased belief that foreign workers threaten the jobs of American employees with similar skills. Others who support fewer L-1B visas being approved believe that American companies are using specialized visas to employ foreign nationals at a lower salary. The Senate Judiciary Committee has introduced a bill that may address the number of L-1B visas currently being approved, which could expand the opportunities for businesses and employees alike.

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