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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: September 5, 2001 (House)]
[Page H5357-H5358]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr05se01-90]                         
 
     PROVIDING FOR WORK AUTHORIZATION FOR NONIMMIGRANT SPOUSES OF 
                        INTRACOMPANY TRANSFEREES

  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 
States.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                               H.R. 2278

       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 
                   TRANSFEREES.

       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 
     following:
       ``(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 
     work permit.''.

     SEC. 2. REDUCTION OF REQUIRED PERIOD OF PRIOR CONTINUOUS 
                   EMPLOYMENT FOR CERTAIN INTRACOMPANY 
                   TRANSFEREES.

       (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 
     required

[[Page H5358]]

     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 
     petition.''.
       (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. 
Sensenbrenner).


                             General Leave

  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 
consume.
  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 
knowledge.''
  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.

                              {time}  1530

  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 
international economy.
  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 
intracompany transferees.
  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 
time.
  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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