USCIS Clarifies the Meaning of L-1A "Function Manager"

Multinational companies may transfer executives and managers to work in the United States through the L-1A Visa Program.  To qualify for the L-1A visa, a manager generally must manage professionals or other managers.  The law also provides that a manager who manages "an essential function" of an organization may also qualify for the L-1A visa.  A recent decision, Matter of G- Inc., by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) of USCIS clarifies the meaning of function manager.  
Under Matter of G-Inc., to establish that an L-1A transferree will be employed in a managerial capacity as a “function manager,” the petitioner must demonstrate that:
(1) the function is a clearly defined activity;
(2) the function is “essential,” i.e., core to the organization;
(3) the beneficiary will primarily manage, as opposed to perform, the function;
(4) the beneficiary will act at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed; and
(5) the beneficiary will exercise discretion over the function’s day-to-day operations. 
Using this new legal definition, the AAO found the manager in the case to be eligible to for an L-1A visa.  The petitioner, a multinational technology-based product development corporation, filed an L-1A petition to classify the beneficiary as a function manager in the capacity of its “Director, Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)”.  
First, the petitioner has established that financial planing and analysis is a clearly defined activity that provides the company with financial strategies to optimize business opportunities and growth. The Director of FP&A is responsible for generating accurate and complete data to properly assess global revenue.  Secondly, the function of financial planing and analysis is also “essential” to the petitioning organization. The FP&A unit’s revenue planning and forecasting process affects all business units within the worldwide organization. Further, the petitioner’s management team depends on these FP&A reports and strategies to maintain its financial health and make critical mergers and acquisitions decisions. 
Thirdly, the beneficiary primarily plays a managerial role within the functional area; he develops and directs revenue forecasts and analysis for the worldwide organization, leads mergers and acquisitions, and oversees strategic pricing analysis. To manage these functional tasks, the beneficiary will continue to direct the work of various teams across five business units and six geographic areas.  Most importantly, the beneficiary will continue to be supported by six direct and three indirect reports. These direct and indirect reports are all professionals and managers themselves who will perform the day-to-day administrative and reporting tasks, allowing the beneficiary to focus on managing the FP&A function.
Finally, AAO is satisfied that the beneficiary will act at a senior level in the organizational structure with significant discretionary authority over the day-to-day operations related to the FP&A function. Consequently, AAO approved this L-1A function manager petition. 

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