Boeing resumes bringing Russian engineers to Wash.



SEATTLE (AP) — The Boeing Co. has resumed bringing Russian contract engineers into Washington state, following an incident last fall when a group of them was denied entry by customs officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Documents obtained by The Seattle Times under a public records request show that the 18 contract engineers were turned back last October because they arrived on B-1 visas, which allow for job training but not direct work for a U.S. company. Under questioning, several of the engineers admitted they’d be working at Boeing’s plant in Everett. B-1 visas are easier to obtain than H1-B nonimmigrant work visas.

Boeing was embarrassed by the incident and said it would suspend the practice. But company spokesman Marc Birtel said that by December the company lifted the travel restriction after discussions with Customs and Border Protection officials and a review of its internal processes for issuing visa invitations.

The union representing Boeing’s engineers remains upset about the practice, saying the work in Everett should be done by its workers.


Information from: The Seattle Times,