Over the past couple of years, the immigration service center has increased the number of requests for evidence (RFE) they issue on most non-immigrant worker visas. Recently, our office got approved a request for evidence on an L-1B, intracompany transferee specialized knowledge.
The L-1B, intracompany, transferee specialized knowledge visa is used by companies transferring an employee to the US company to work in a position that, as you might have guessed, requires specialized knowledge. The requirements are pretty vague, since immigration defines specialized knowledge as “information and experience about the company’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, or interests and their applications in international markets. A “specialized knowledge” employee has an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
This specialized knowledge must be required to carry out the duties of the position with the U.S. affiliated company.” It becomes the burden of the petitioner to demonstrate how the employee in question holds specialized knowledge of the company’s products, services, equipment and so forth. This burden can prove difficult at times since it is usually clear to the employer why the person they are seeking to transfer to the US office has the specialized knowledge.
Part of a successful petition for an L-1B visa is demonstrating that the company’s product, services, equipment, or interests require specialized knowledge, the employee has the requisite specialized knowledge and no one else in the US or foreign office has that knowledge or can easily attain that knowledge to carry out that role.
Our client came to us because the initial filing on their L-1B petition received an RFE asking for additional evidence to establish how the beneficiary met the requirements of an employee with specialized knowledge. The RFE was lengthy since it questioned everything about the petition from the position’s requiring specialized knowledge to the companies meeting the transfer requirements.
Qualifying relationship between the companies
The first points to address were the qualifying relationship between the companies for transferring the employee. In particular the RFE requested documentation to establish the relationship through the submission of documents like stock certificates, bank statements, wire transfers, stock ledgers, and so forth. It was also requested that a breakdown of the ownership of the foreign company be submitted to demonstrate that the US company was the parent company. By providing these documents in the initial petition, the issue would not have been raised, but in some cases where ownership changes hands it becomes difficult for immigration to determine that the relationship still exists. In our case it was possible to show through those documents that the relationship still existed between the parent and foreign company.
When it came to the position for the L-1B specialized knowledge worker, immigration requested substantially more to reach a determination that the person met the requirements. Part of that meant determining whether it was a specialized knowledge position or an executive/manager position. In many petitions, immigration officer rely on the title of the position to determine whether the position is one of specialized knowledge or one that is an executive or manager. This kind of confusion leads to several requests to clarify that point.
In order to clarify things for immigration, it was required that we explained the duties of the position requiring specialized knowledge in such detail that made it clear it was a role that was not managerial or executive, but one that directly impacted the company’s product and services. By itemizing the amount of time each duty would take, it was made clearer how the role required the employee’s specialized knowledge. In addition to this, other documents submitted included organization charts and employee task charts to demonstrate how the position was one that required specialized knowledge. Through these documents, it was easier to see what was required of the specialized knowledge position.
Even though those documents and the position breakdown helped clarify the position for immigration, it was not enough to leave it at that to establish the position for immigration. It is important to emphasize the impact of the role of the specialized knowledge worker for the US company be one that company relies on and cannot have replaced by someone in the US. To that end, we acquired documents from key individuals who played critical roles in the US company and who could attest to the employee’s specialized knowledge of the company’s product and services to demonstrate how no one else can fulfill that role for the company. The employee’s CV and other accolades were also submitted to help strengthen the credentials to meet the requirement.
Finally, in order to establish that the position requires specialized knowledge, documents of the product and services were provided to immigration for them to see how that specialized knowledge would be needed. Documents of the product, of the interaction with clients who used the product, and other documents demonstrating the proprietary knowledge that comes with the unique product and services provided by the company helped established how the role in the US was one that required a person of specialized knowledge to carry out the role for the company.
In the end, the case was approved because an initial petition that left many questions about the L-1B petition was left with no question that the position was one that required specialized knowledge and the individual filling the role was the one person who had the specialized knowledge necessary to carry out that role. Although it is a high standard to demonstrate that the person and the position qualify as a specialized knowledge position, through precise documentation of the duties, the product and services, and the individual working for the company, it is possible to transfer your specialized knowledge person to the U.S.
We are proud to get what looked like an impossible request by immigration approved because we believed the person had the specialized knowledge and his role in the company was one that required it. We provided immigration with everything they wanted to see to make that determination and were able to approve the case very easily once they were provided with this documentation. In the future, L-1b petitions can be easy to get approved if there is enough documentation provided for them to make that determination.
While it might be more time consuming to get the case filed, dealing with an RFE of great length can draw out a case that can easily be approved for the client sooner, so careful preparation initially can make for a smoother L-1B case in the end. If you need help with you L cases, feel free to contact us anytime.