Moving 10 programmers to the US

we are currently incorporated in the state of Nevada and are looking 
at moving 10 of our Canadian employees and their spouses to our US division.
Could you tell me what type of Visa we should apply for that will allow
their spouse to work and for them to eventually become a permanent US Resident?
david ingram replies:

The only visa that would allow the spouses to work is an L1 Via.

It is unlikely that you can transfer 10 employees at a time under an L1 because the transferee must be a supervisor, manager, or a person of very specialized knowledge.

Computer programmers can NOT move to the US on a TN visa. 

They 'can' go to the USA with an H1 visa but the quota fills quickly which is the reason for MICROSOFT opening in Vancouver. AND, spouses can not work with an H1 or TN visa unless they qualify for their own visas.

However, an L1 would serve your purposes 'IF' your employees truly have unique or very very rare specialized knowledge or are management or senior supervisors.  If in a supervisory role, a rough rule of thumb would be eight to ten others working under their supervision.

Remember that even Microsoft has given up on getting programmers into the US and is opening up in Greater Vancouver as shown in the following which was taken from

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Microsoft to open development center in Vancouver, B.C.
Amid challenges getting enough foreign programmers admitted into the U.S., Microsoft plans this fall to open a development center in Canada.

The new software development center will open somewhere in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area and will be "home to software developers from around the world," Microsoft said in a statement on Thursday.

"The Vancouver area is a global gateway with a diverse population, is close to Microsoft's corporate offices in Redmond and allows the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.," Microsoft said.

The announcement of Microsoft's Canadian plans follows the failure of an immigration bill that would have expanded the number of foreign high-tech workers that could have come to the country each year under so-called H1-B visas.

High-tech companies have been pushing hard to get Congress to increase the number of visas they are allotted. In separate Capitol Hill appearances, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates made a strong plea for unlimited H-1B visas, while a Google executive credited the company's success to foreigners and called for expanded ability to hire them.

But so far, a broader feud has killed two attempts by the U.S. Senate to overhaul the immigration system, including a bump in the H-1B quota from a base level of 60,000 to at least 115,000. Silicon Valley wasn't pleased with all of the bill, but it was also counting on passage of amendments that would provide greater assurances that green cards for permanent residency come through and create new exemptions for foreigners with advanced degrees.

Now companies are left to hope that their congressional allies will pass standalone bills, severed from the larger immigration debate, to accomplish those tasks. Although a number of senators have indicated support for the tech industry's goals, others have taken an arguably more measured approach, proposing bills aimed at curbing H-1B abuse while upping the quota.

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said that while the immigration issue was a factor, the company would be opening the center in Vancouver even if it were not for the immigration challenges. That said, Vancouver is particularly attractive since it is a short drive from Redmond, Wash., but not bound by U.S. immigration policies.

"It does help us address that challenge we have in the United States of hiring very qualified people, many of whom are graduating from schools in the U.S., but who cannot acquire the necessary documentation to work in the U.S.," Gellos said.

Microsoft plans to start with a couple of hundred workers, but is looking for a spot "with room to grow," Gellos said. "We haven't finalized the actual facility or the site yet," he said. "Once we get an indication of where we can do the center, that will help us to clarify the numbers."

The software maker currently has just over 900 workers in Canada, most of whom are based in Toronto, where Microsoft has its local subsidiary as well as sales, marketing and some development staff. There is also a sales office in Vancouver.

Microsoft's move is hardly its first venture offshore. While the bulk of its workers are in the greater Seattle area, Microsoft has expanded its development efforts in recent years, adding efforts in Denmark, Israel, India, China and the United Kingdom, among other locales. Microsoft recently announced plans to expand operations in Bellevue, Wash., near its Redmond campus, and in Fargo, N.D. The company also has development efforts in North Carolina and Silicon Valley.

Microsoft Canada President Phil Sorgen said his unit had long pushed Canada as a great place for the software maker to do development work.

"We have burgeoning high-tech and software industries and a globally envied quality of life, and our cities represent exactly the kind of environment that leading information workers want to live in," he said in a statement. "This center will help Microsoft remain globally competitive while providing strong economic benefits to British Columbia and Canada."


A week after an immigration reform bill stalled in the Senate that would have boosted the U.S. government limit on H1-B visas, Microsoft on Thursday announced plans to open a new software development center in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Set to open this fall, Microsoft's Canada Development Center will take advantage of Vancouver's diverse population and proximity to the software giant's Redmond, Wash. headquarters, Microsoft said.

The facility will allow Microsoft "to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.," according to a Microsoft statement.

Like many IT vendors, Microsoft has long been a vocal critic of U.S. immigration policy and the H1-B visa cap, which currently stands at 65,000. Chairman Bill Gates earlier this year told a Senate panel that government immigration policies are preventing U.S. companies from hiring top global talent.

Last week, after the demise of the immigration bill in the Senate, Microsoft expressed its disappointment and predicted far reaching repercussions in a statement sent to the media.

"This shortfall will limit American competitiveness and technological innovation, hampering not only the technology industry, but our country's leadership in these critical areas," Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft has additional software development centers in North Carolina, Ireland, Denmark, and Israel. The vendor also has R&D centers in the U.K., India, China, and Silicon Valley, and recently announced plans to build facilities in Boston and Bellevue, Wash.