L-1 VISAS FOR THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
International hotel chains have become more noticeable in tourist hubs throughout the world than ever before and many tourists happily book themselves into a hotel that has built up a reputation for quality. The individual then feels confident that their holiday will match up to their expectations and be the relaxing and enjoyable experience that they seek when escaping their normal everyday working life.
Big name hotels have to maintain the trust and satisfaction of their patrons and one way of doing this is to ensure the workforce is working to its potential. Typically today, this means transferring executives, managers and staff who have unique specialist knowledge of their product to countries where their skills are most needed. Once certain requirements can be met, workers from an office in one country can transfer personnel to the U.S.A. by making use of the L-1 visa, which caters for this type of employee transfer.
For an employee to move within their company and transfer to the U.S.A., the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), states that the office overseas has to be a branch, parent company, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture of the U.S. entity. With the way the hospitality industry operates today, this requirement is not difficult to meet.
The main stumbling block is the selection of employees as they have to be either executives or managers of the overseas entity with a minimum of 12 months continuous employment out of the last 3 years with that entity. Employees who can be classified as having “specialized knowledge” of the company product and practices may qualify for L-1B status.
In the hospitality industry, this could include the hotel chains unique experience for guests which is not shared by other hotel chains or the use of a specific software program that handles the management and financial side of the hotel chain’s operations.
Validity period for L-1 visas
As the L-1 visa is classified as a non-immigrant visa, it is accorded temporary status and is issued for 3 years to begin with while offering 2 yearly extensions up to 5 years for specialized workers and 7 years for executives and managers.
Dual intent for hospitality industry using L-1 visas
This visa can be used as a route to gaining permanent residency without any questions being asked so it is of practical interest to those hospitality workers who are interested in moving to the U.S. for good.
Families are included with the L-1 visa
The spouse of the employee and children who have not reached aged 21 are eligible for L-2 status, which means the spouse can work and the children can attend educational establishments.
The L-1 visa offers an appropriate solution for the hospitality industry as it is a way more employees in the U.S.A. are able to benefit from the talents, expertise and leadership of those petitioned for L-1 visas for their hotel chain from overseas.
There is of course red tape attached before the visa issuing can take place and this is mostly do with proving that no U.S. resident or citizen has such expertise.