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NPZ Immigration Law Blog

Thursday, March 22, 2012

B-1 visa for business visitors: Permissible activities - Part II

This is the concluding part of a series of articles on Permissible Activities under the B-1 Visa for Business Visitors.

B-1in lieu of H-1B (BILOH) criteria

In addition to the standard B-1 parameters outlined in the first part of the article, the Business entities should adhere to the following additional guidelines when identifying employees who may qualify for admission in the B-1 in lieu of H-1B classification:

H-1B qualifications

•· The foreign national must demonstrate that he or she will perform services in a specialty occupation and that he or she possesses a bachelor's degree or equivalent that is related to the activities to be performed.

Overseas employment and source of salary

•· As noted above, the individual must remain on foreign payroll throughout the US stay and may not receive remuneration from a U.S. source other than an expense allowance or expense reimbursement.

•· Note that fee payments, charge-backs, or other reimbursement of the foreign national's salary during the BILOH (B-1 in lieu of H-1B) assignment should be carefully considered as consulates will scrutinize visa applications for any indication that the overseas employer is a job shop or placement agency or that the US host will otherwise use the foreign national to supplement its local workforce. However, legitimate billing arrangements that do not implicate dollar-for-dollar reimbursement of labor costs should be acceptable.

Nature of activities

•· As noted above, the foreign national must not engage in any activity that constitutes local employment or labor for hire that could be performed by a US worker. Although DOS regulations and the FAM state that a foreign national may use BILOH to perform H-1B "services," the nature of the foreign national's activities should be carefully reviewed for characteristics that could lead to a conclusion that they are labor for hire.

Temporary nature of the stay

•· In BILOH situations, stays of no more than four to six months are recommended. Longer durations may lead to a determination that the individual is entering the US to engage in labor for hire and will no longer be under the supervision of the foreign employer. Note that, even where a longer duration is requested, a border officer may elect to admit the foreign national for a period of no more than 90 days.

Previous BILOH stays

•· If the foreign national has recently completed a BILOH stay, he or she should not seek immediate reapplications for the classification. Consulates have indicated that there should be a significant time gap between BILOH applications; six to seven months has been suggested by at least one consulate, but a longer time period may be advisable in the current environment.

Immigration related legislation

The following Bills in the US Senate and House of Representatives have been introduced and if passed by the Congress, may have an impact on the enforcement as well as beneficial for the Immigrants.

Senate bills (S. 1856)

Introduced by Sen. DeMint (R-SC) on 11/10/11.

Prohibits federal funding for lawsuits seeking to invalidate specific State laws that support the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Families first immigration enforcement act (S. 1949)

Introduced by Sen. Kerry (D-MA) on 12/07/11

Provides for safe and humane policies and procedures pertaining to the arrest, detention, and processing of aliens in immigration enforcement operations.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics- STEM Visa Act of 2011 (S. 1986)

Introduced by Sen. Bennet (D-CO) on 12/13/11.

Amends INA to promote innovation, investment and research in the United States.

House Bills

Deport Convicted Foreign Criminals Act of 2011 (H.R. 3256)

Introduced by Rep. Poe (R-TX) on 10/25/11.

Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to report quarterly to Congress regarding each country that has refused or unreasonably delayed repatriation of an alien. The bill also prohibits the Secretary of State, upon the passage of specified periods of time, from issuing certain nonimmigrant (including certain diplomatic) visas and immigrant visas to a citizen, subject, national, or resident of a listed country.

Foster Children Opportunity Act (H.R. 3333)

Introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on 11/03/11.

Requires state plans for foster care and adoption assistance to have procedures to assist alien children in the child welfare system achieve special immigrant juvenile status and LPR status before exiting foster care.

Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America - VISIT USA (H.R. 3341)

Introduced by Rep. Hirono (D-HI) on 11/03/11.

Provides qualifying nationals of China (PRC) with a five-year multiple entry/exit visitor visa. The bill also requires such persons to be screened through the automated electronic travel authorization system.

Religious Worker Visa Re-ciprocity Act of 2011 (H.R. 3557)

Introduced by Rep. King on 12/02/11.

Requires the country of origin of certain special immigrant religious workers to extend reciprocal immigration treatment to United States nationals.

Immigration and Natura-lization Investment Ventures for Engineering, Science, and Technology- INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3692)

Introduced by Rep. Schiff (D-CA) on 12/15/11.

Establishes an entrepreneur-based immigrant category for alien entrepreneurs who have completed or are in the process of completing a degree in Science, Engineering, Math or a technology-related field.


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