On June 3, WikiLeaks released parts of the TISA (Trade in Services Agreement), which is related to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. However, it is still a separate agreement and would be ratified separately. One of the TISA annexes/sub-sections they posted covers “Movement of Natural Persons”, linked here: https://wikileaks.org/tisa/

The focus of the Movement of Natural Persons annex appears to be business visitors and intra-company transfers. Most of the proposed agreement deals with standards for visa applications (30-day deadlines for processing, fee schedules, etc.). 

There are red flags throughout the document including:

  • A prohibition on “Economic Needs” testing, aka, labor market certification on B-1/L-1 visitors;
  • Creating a presumption that all spouses of L-1/B-1 visitors who stay for 12 months should also get visas;
  • The proposal appears to forbid mandatory face to face visa interviews as burdensome;
  • The language about “independent professionals” is very non-specific and it could be an attempt to allow self-petitioning;
  • Finally, the total impact is uncertain because even after the agreement is signed every signatory needs to publish a schedule of industry sectors that they will allow business visitors, contractual service professionals and independent professionals to enter.