L Visas are issued to the owners and certain employees of international companies, businesses that have been established and are operational outside of the U.S. for at least one year, which then open in the U.S. a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate organization, as those terms are fairly strictly defined by the Immigration Act.
Thus, the L-1A will allow those who qualify as “managers” or “executives”, people who have worked for the qualifying organization abroad for at least one year as a manager or executive, and who will be coming to the U.S. to work as a manager or executive, to apply for an L-1A and/or L-1A status.
Those who are working as employees of the related foreign entity abroad, in the E-2 context you call them “Essential Skills”, workers but in the L-1B context, they are called “Specialized Knowledge Employees.” They must work for at least one year abroad for the qualifying company to be eligible to come to the U.S. on an L-1B Visa.
These are oftentimes the “tech people,” workers who have an intimate knowledge of proprietary or highly specialized information that is essential to the ongoing wellbeing of the multinational corporate entity. Those people are able to come to the U.S. on L-1B visas and continue their work for the U.S. concern.
I would note that L-1B’s are a fairly difficult visa to obtain or to have a petition approved for. The USCIS generally takes a restrictive view of most L-1A and L-1B applicants, but particularly of L-1B applicants.
Learn more about the immigration services provided by Philip Levin & Associates.