What Is Specialized Knowledge?

The American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted its comments to USCIS on the meaning of “specialized knowledge” in L-1B petitions last week.  The comments are an excellent summary of the history of the meaning of “specialized knowledge.”  They also confirm that the term is being applied too narrowly by USCIS in its adjudications today resulting in a relatively low number of L-1B petitions being approved annually.  It also discusses the Visa Reform Act of 2004 which was meant to address Congress’ concern that companies were outsourcing their L-1B intracompany transfers.  In so doing, Senator Chambliss (R-GA) said “the L-1 employee does not bring anything more than the generic knowledge of the third party company’s operation, the foreign worker is acting more like an H-1B professional than a true intracompany transferee.”   However, Congress never intended to place unnecessary restrictions on the L visa other than this narrow area which it viewed as a “loophole.”  Yet USCIS has taken this along with certain AAO decisions and past USCIS advice to create a standard for the L-B visas that is almost impossible to meet.  See memorandum here: AILA January 24, 2010.

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About ABCs of Immigration Law
The global economy has become increasingly transactional and transcontinental. Since 9/11, there have been many amendments to immigration laws in the United States that have largely affected both individuals and businesses. Cozen O'Connor's immigration law blog, ABC's of Immigration Law, focuses on the interests and the challenges faced by those individuals and business impacted by immigration laws.
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