[Congressional Record: September 5, 2001 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
PROVIDING FOR WORK AUTHORIZATION FOR NONIMMIGRANT SPOUSES OF
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and
pass the bill (H.R. 2278) to provide work authorization for
nonimmigrant spouses of intracompany transferees, and to reduce the
period of time during which certain intracompany transferees have to be
continuously employed before applying for admission to the United
The Clerk read as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. WORK AUTHORIZATION FOR SPOUSES OF INTRACOMPANY
Section 214(c)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8
U.S.C. 1184(c)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the
``(E) In the case of an alien spouse admitted under section
101(a)(15)(L), who is accompanying or following to join a
principal alien admitted under such section, the Attorney
General shall authorize the alien spouse to engage in
employment in the United States and provide the spouse with
an `employment authorized' endorsement or other appropriate
SEC. 2. REDUCTION OF REQUIRED PERIOD OF PRIOR CONTINUOUS
EMPLOYMENT FOR CERTAIN INTRACOMPANY
(a) In General.--Section 214(c)(2)(A) of the Immigration
and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(2)(A)) is amended by
adding at the end the following:
``In the case of an alien seeking admission under section
101(a)(15)(L), the one-year period of continuous employment
under such section is deemed to be reduced to a 6-month
period if the importing employer has filed a blanket petition
under this subparagraph and met the requirements for
expedited processing of aliens covered under such
(b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 101(a)(15)(L) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(L)) is
amended by striking ``an alien who,'' and inserting ``subject
to section 214(c)(2), an alien who,''.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from
Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) and the gentleman from Florida (Mr.
Wexler) each will control 20 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend
their remarks and include extraneous material on H.R. 2278.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the
gentleman from Wisconsin?
There was no objection.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may
Madam Speaker, this bill is a companion bill to H.R. 2277, just
passed. Just as H.R. 2277 provides employment authorization to spouses
of E visa recipients, this bill provides employment authorization to
spouses of L visa recipients.
L visas are available for intracompany transferees. They allow
employees working at a company's overseas branch to be shifted to the
company's work site in the United States.
An L visa is available to an alien who ``within 3 years preceding the
time of his application for admission into the United States has been
employed continuously for one year by a firm or an affiliate or
subsidiary and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily in
order to continue to render his services to the same employer in a
capacity that is managerial, executive or involves specialized
To make the L visa program more convenient for established and
frequent users of the program, blanket L visas are available. If an
employer meets certain qualifications, such as having received approval
for at least 10 L visa professionals during the past year or having
U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with an annual combined sales of at
least $25 million or having a workforce of at least 1,000 employees,
the employer can receive preapproval for an unlimited number of L visas
from the Immigration Service.
Individual aliens seeking visas to work for the companies simply have
to show that the job they will be employed in qualifies for the L visa
program and that they are qualified to do the job.
In fiscal year 1998, 38,307 aliens, along with 44,176 dependents,
were granted L visas.
While the current law allows spouses and minor children to come to
the U.S. with the L visa recipients, spouses are not allowed to work in
this country. As I stated in regard to H.R. 2277, working spouses are
now becoming the rule rather than the exception in the U.S. and in many
foreign countries, and multinational companies are finding it
increasingly difficult to persuade their employees abroad to relocate
to the United States if it means their spouses will have to forgo
employment. This factor places an impediment in the way of these
employers' use of the L visa program and their competitiveness in the
There is no good reason why we should put an impediment in the way of
business and academia's efforts to attract talented people. There is
also no good reason why husbands and wives should have to ask their
spouses to forgo employment as a condition of joining them in America.
Thus, H.R. 2278 would allow the spouses of L visa recipients to work in
the United States while accompanying the primary visa recipients.
Additionally, the current law requires that the beneficiary of an L
visa have been employed for at least 1 year overseas by the petitioning
employer. In many situations, this is an overly restrictive
requirement. For example, consulting agencies often recruit and hire
individuals overseas with specialized skills to meet the needs of
particular clients. The 1-year-prior-employment requirement can result
in long delays before they can bring such employees into the United
States on an L visa. A shorter prior employment period would allow
companies to more expeditiously meet the needs of their clients.
Madam Speaker, H.R. 2278 would allow aliens to qualify for L visas
after having worked for 6 months overseas for employers if the
employers have filed blanket L petitions and have met the blanket
petition's requirements. There is a high level of fraud in the L visa
program, especially involving ``front companies'' set up purely to
procure visas; and lowering the across-the-board qualifications for the
L visas might encourage more fraudulent petitions. With a company that
has been prescreened and approved for the ``blanket'' L visa status,
the risk of fraud is much lower.
Thus, I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. WEXLER. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2278. This is a positive
bill because it allows work authorization for nonimmigrant spouses of
Not only will spouses be able to accompany their husband or wife who
is in the United States in a nonimmigrant capacity, but these spouses
will now be afforded the opportunity to be employed. It makes no sense
to allow spouses to accompany their loved ones to the United States and
then deny them the opportunity to be employed.
Global companies are finding it increasingly difficult to relocate
foreign nationals to the United States. This bill makes relocation
easier since spouses will not have to forgo their career, ambitions or
a second income, which is increasingly necessary.
This bill is also positive since it contains a 6-month reduction in
the period of time during which certain intracompany transferees have
to be continuously employed before applying for admission to the United
States. Without this bill, companies who recruit and hire individuals
overseas with specialized skills to meet the needs of their clients
will be able to bring these employees more expeditiously.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Biggert). The question is on the motion
offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) that the
House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2278.
The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor
thereof) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
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