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L-1 visa changes having negative impact on employee travel, business: Survey

Canadian Employee Relocation Council calls on U.S. to revert to old practices


November 30, 2019
By Talent Canada Staff

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Rule changes at the Canada-United States border are having a negative impact on business, according to research by the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC).

The council conducted a survey of about 100 companies with employees who cross the U.S. border for business. It examined changes implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the adjudication of L-1 visa extensions at U.S.-Canada ports of entry in the spring of 2019.

Prior to that time, L-1 visa extensions were processed at ports of entry. The survey found that, in the past, 68 per cent of employers filed 100 per cent of their requests for a visa extension at the port of entry.

It also found that, since the changes were implemented, less than one-half (47 per cent) of employers reported that the application was approved within “published government processing times.”

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Impact on business

Zero companies responding to the survey said the L-1 visa changes had a positive impact on their business. Nearly one-half (42 per cent) said the changes have resulted in delayed projects stemming from difficulties in renewing the L-1 visa, according to CERC.

A vast majority (75 per cent) said the delays have had a negative impact on staff, including uncertainty, higher levels of stress and inability to travel.

CERC recommendation

Leaning on an economic argument – citing the $1.7 billion in trade that passes between the two countries every day – CERC said the movement of workers is of great importance to maintaining economic growth on both sides of the border.

“The changes and inherent delays and uncertainty are… causing unnecessary stress and confusion to employees and their families,” the report states. “CERC strongly recommends that CBP reconsider the decision and revert to the practice of processing L-1 visa extensions at the port of entry.”

For full survey results, visit https://www.cerc.ca/news/479468/2019-Cross-Border-Mobility-Survey-Results.htm


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