In response to Senator Grassley letter, the Department of State (“DOS”) is planning to modify or completely remove the B1 visa (Business Visa). The B1 Visa allows individuals to come on business purposes to the United States.
The decision to crack down on the B1 visa follows a complaint by a worker who accused his employer of abusing the B1 visa in order to bring workers to the United States and allowing them to work. Note that a B1 visa does not allow an employee to be paid in the United States. Some companies have found that it is easier to bring their employees on a B1 visa in lieu of an H1B or L1 visa.
On one hand, the move is welcome by many because it does not favor fraud or abuses, but on the other, it will have a chilling effect on many companies which are trying to do business with the United States. In a recovering economy, any chance of attracting new businesses and ultimately create new jobs in the United States, should not be undermined by rare situations of fraud. In fact, nothing proves that the majority of the B1 visa holders are actually planning to take advantage of the immigration loopholes.
Although we welcome the decision to “crack down” on businesses abusing the B1 visa, we also urge the Senate, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security to consider the implications of a blanket removal of the B1 visa on the economy.
Our law firm’s commitment to a fair immigration reform dictates that before there is a move to completely remove the B1 visa, the government should find an option for genuine businesses to come and prospect in the United States. We hope sincerely that there will be a fair and just outcome on this matter.