Is it Possible to Have Both L1 and H1 Visas as an Company?

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As the global economy continues to grow, companies are increasingly looking to expand their operations and hire talent from around the world. This often involves navigating the complex world of visas and work permits. Two common types of visas used by companies to bring in foreign workers are the L1 and H1 visas. But can a company hold both types of visas at the same time? In this article, we’ll explore the legal possibilities for companies looking to hold both L1 and H1 visas.

Understanding the L1 and H1 Visas

Before we dive into the legalities of holding both L1 and H1 visas, let’s first understand what each visa is and how they differ.

L1 Visa

The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies to transfer employees from their foreign offices to their offices in the United States. This visa is commonly used by multinational companies to bring in executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees to work in the US for a temporary period.

The L1 visa has two subcategories: L1A for executives and managers, and L1B for specialized knowledge employees. The L1A visa is valid for up to 7 years, while the L1B visa is valid for up to 5 years.

H1 Visa

The H1 visa is also a non-immigrant visa, but it is used to bring in foreign workers to fill specialized positions in the US. This visa is commonly used by companies in the technology, engineering, and healthcare industries to bring in skilled workers from other countries.

The H1 visa is valid for up to 3 years, with the possibility of extension for up to 6 years.

Can a Company Hold Both L1 and H1 Visas?

The short answer is yes, a company can hold both L1 and H1 visas at the same time. However, there are certain legal considerations that companies must keep in mind.

Employer Sponsorship

Both the L1 and H1 visas require employer sponsorship. This means that the company must petition for the visa on behalf of the employee and provide evidence that the employee meets the requirements for the visa.

For the L1 visa, the company must prove that the employee has worked for the company’s foreign office for at least one year and that they will be working in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge role in the US.

For the H1 visa, the company must prove that the employee has a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience in a specialized field and that the position they will be filling in the US requires such qualifications.

Visa Sponsorship Opportunities for Companies Holding Both Visas

One of the main concerns for companies looking to hold both L1 and H1 visas is the potential for visa fraud. This occurs when a company uses one visa to circumvent the requirements of another visa.

For example, a company may use the L1 visa to bring in a worker who does not meet the qualifications for the H1 visa, or vice versa. This is illegal and can result in serious consequences for both the company and the employee.

To avoid visa fraud, companies must ensure that they are using each visa for its intended purpose and that the employee meets the specific requirements for each visa.

Legal Considerations for Companies Holding Both Visas

Another important legal consideration for companies holding both L1 and H1 visas is the potential for visa conflicts. This can occur when an employee holds both visas and the company wants to change their role or location within the company.

For example, if an employee is on an L1 visa and the company wants to transfer them to a different office in the US, they may need to apply for an H1 visa instead. This can create complications and delays in the visa process.

To avoid these conflicts, companies must carefully plan and strategize their use of both visas. This may involve consulting with an immigration lawyer to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Real-World Examples of Companies Holding Both Visas

Many companies successfully hold both L1 and H1 visas for their employees. One example is Google, which has been known to use both visas to bring in foreign workers to fill specialized roles in their US offices.

Another example is Tata Consultancy Services, an Indian IT services company that holds both L1 and H1 visas for their employees. This allows them to transfer employees from their Indian offices to their US offices and also bring in skilled workers from other countries.

How to Hold Both L1 and H1 Visas

If your company is interested in holding both L1 and H1 visas, there are a few steps you can take to ensure a smooth and legal process.

Consult with an Immigration Lawyer

The first step is to consult with an immigration lawyer who can advise you on the legal requirements and potential conflicts of holding both visas. They can also help you develop a strategy for using both visas effectively.

Carefully Plan Your Use of Both Visas

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to carefully plan and strategize your use of both visas to avoid conflicts and potential visa fraud. This may involve creating a clear policy for when to use each visa and ensuring that all employees meet the specific requirements for each visa.

Keep Up-to-Date with Visa Regulations

Visa regulations are constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with any changes that may affect your company’s ability to hold both L1 and H1 visas. This may involve regularly consulting with an immigration lawyer or staying informed through reputable sources.

Who Is Responsible for Holding Both Visas?

The responsibility for holding both L1 and H1 visas falls on the company’s HR department. They are responsible for ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that the company is in compliance with visa regulations.

Takeaways

Holding both L1 and H1 visas is possible for companies, but it requires careful planning and adherence to legal requirements. By consulting with an immigration lawyer, carefully planning the use of both visas, and staying up-to-date with visa regulations, companies can successfully hold both visas and bring in foreign workers to fill specialized roles in the US


Find an Immigration Lawyer in Australia

Global Immigration Partners PLLC in Australia
Level 2, 215-219, George Street, Liverpool
New South Wales, Sydney 2170 Australia
+61 (02) 9099 1613

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