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Hi,

I am an UK expat living and working in Alaska, USA on a L1 Intra-company transfer visa which expires November 2018. I moved here in November 2013.

Due to budget constraints there is pressure to send expats home but my boss wants to keep me by offering me a local contract.

Aside from the loss of benefits (house, car) what are the implications of changing from an expat to a local hire? Do I need a different visa or is my L1 still valid?

I would appreciate any advice/ guidance,

Ryan
 

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It already has. To be working with an L-1 visa, the OP must be employed by a US company - one which has a certain relationship with the associated foreign company. The OP cannot be working directly for the foreign company, especially as the 'start-up' period has long expired.

But a 'local package' is pretty meaningless. If that means 'we will pay you as we pay locals', without changing your employment status, it is code for 'we value you really highly, so much that we want to reduce your pay'.

Summary: the employment status can't change on this visa, the employment package certainly can. If they want to change your employment status, your visa will be void, and you will have to leave the country. Then you can examine other visa options.
 

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Summary: the employment status can't change on this visa, the employment package certainly can. If they want to change your employment status, your visa will be void, and you will have to leave the country. Then you can examine other visa options.
I'm not so sure about that. As long as you are working for a subsidiary or other direct affiliate of the company that sponsored your original L1 visa, I think there's a reasonable chance they can switch you from the expat payroll to the local payroll. But your employer should be dealing with the paperwork - they have lawyers (presumably) and that's what they're paid for.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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The company in the US you currently work for sponsored you for the L1.

The employment package it gave you is separate to your visa. It could have provided a package which was similar to its local employees or it could have provided a so called expat package which usually entails higher benefits and reduces tax liabilities.

Your company seems to be trying to rid itself of its higher costing expats.

It can certainly offer you a different package without jeopardising your L1 visa - you are still a transferee.
 

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I'm not so sure about that. As long as you are working for a subsidiary or other direct affiliate of the company that sponsored your original L1 visa, I think there's a reasonable chance they can switch you from the expat payroll to the local payroll. But your employer should be dealing with the paperwork - they have lawyers (presumably) and that's what they're paid for.
Cheers,
Bev
'Expat payroll'? 'Local payroll'? What's the difference? A paycheck is a paycheck, it doesn't matter what bank account it comes from or what accounting ledger is involved. That's not a change of employment status from a visa point of view. The company that's paying is the important variable here. The company must be the same for the visa to be valid.
 

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It's actually possible in corporate and tax accounting terms (which are sometimes peculiar) to shift an employee to a "local package" and keep the employee's compensation the same (or even raise it) while saving the company money. But you just have to read and consider the fine print in the offer.

Some visas are contingent on prevailing wage thresholds, so an employer cannot legally adjust compensation below that visa-compliant minimum.
 

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The L-1 visa has two subcategories: L-1A for executives and managers, and L-1B for workers with specialized knowledge. L-1A status is valid for up to 7 years, L-1B for 5. After the expiration of the 7 or 5 years respectively, the foreign national can generally only qualify for L-1 status again by working abroad for at least 1 year for the parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch office of the U.S. company
 

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With my previous employer, the difference between expat and local also was:
- no more plane tickets back home for entire family, 1x/year
- not shipping your household goods back to home country on their cost (after finishing your visa)'
- only 3 weeks of paid vacation instead of 5 weeks
- less medical coverage or same coverage at higher cost
- no compensation for housing, 'hardship', school tuition for kids
- no cost of living allowance
- only 2 weeks notice (for US) instead of a minimum of 3 months
- no more guaranteed job in home country after assignment (= when visa runs out)

Maybe you can check with a specialized lawyer if you can qualify for an employment based green card, and if so, ask your employer if they would sponsor you for a green card. In that case, you don't have to worry about having to return home after 5 years (for L1b), or 7 (for L1A).
 

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'Expat payroll'? 'Local payroll'? What's the difference? A paycheck is a paycheck, it doesn't matter what bank account it comes from or what accounting ledger is involved. That's not a change of employment status from a visa point of view. The company that's paying is the important variable here. The company must be the same for the visa to be valid.
What a couple of posters have already said. Plus, for a large, multinational company, the "home office" or the subsidiary that originally hired the employee may actually reimburse the subsidiary where the expat is located - not only for pay, but for all those expat payroll goodies. Granted, the distinction is pretty much an inter-company policy issue, but to local subsidiary management trying to make their budgets, it can make a big difference.

However, the good news is that it IS a company internal policy matter, and shouldn't have any bearing on the visa side of the matter.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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