Efficient. Innovative. Confident. Our immigration services are delivered in a manner which ensures you and your employees have absolute confidence in our attorneys and staff and the status your employee holds in the U.S. We take the worry out of this process so your foreign national employee can concentrate on her job, not her immigration status. Our attorneys manage the case and coordinate communication between interested parties (HR/management) and the foreign national employee. A timely delivery of successful legal services is our mission.
Our attorneys are always available for consultation on managing internal processes. There are a number of compliance steps required when hiring U.S. and foreign national employees. Key among these is the I-9 verification process and the use of other available hiring screening such as Social Security Verification or the E-Verify system. We find that many employers lack a thorough compliance strategy to ensure proper completion of these important documents or that employers would benefit from a detailed needs assessment before creating new HR policies in this area. We also assist in responses to DOL, USCIS and ICE should these agencies audit your business. We are available for consultation in these and other areas of interest to HR.
Our Value Proposition:
We recognize that there are many other qualified immigration attorneys in large legal markets. We are confident our track record sets us apart from others. It is our commitment to superior quality service that has driven our success both in client outcomes and the quality of clients we’ve served. Not only are we qualified but we have service and success rates. We offer superior legal services on a consistent basis.
Another key difference between our firm and large metro firms is cost. We are taking our superior experience and legal skills and choosing to practice in the Midwest. Our location translates into tangible savings for our clients – with fees typically 25-40% below metro firms. We’ve seen the model of paralegals managing all client contact and workflow in an effort to keep costs down and we reject it – with our practice you have an attorney manage your process while still reducing your costs. Our approach – more talented minds working on your case translates into better service and exceptional legal work, all at a lower cost.
Additionally, being based in the Midwest allows us to quickly respond to multi-state clients in their time-zone – we’re only an hour behind EST and two ahead of PST.
Our current clients have recognized this value both in terms of cost and the quality of our legal work and service.
Brown Immigration Law, PC, LLO provides a full range of U.S. business immigration law services to assist your company in managing its foreign national staffing needs. Our business immigration services include:
Temporary Business Visitor (B-1 Visa): Business people who are entering the U.S. for a limited time (typically 90 days or less, but up to 1 year in unusual situations). These individuals must prove to consular and border officials that they are entering the U.S. temporarily on behalf of an established foreign company. For visa issuance, the traveler will need a letter from the foreign or U.S. company explaining the reasons for the visitor’s stay, length of travel, confirming continuing employment with the foreign company, and affirming that the visitor’s trip will be paid for by the foreign employer. The B-1 visa holder cannot engage in salaried employment in the U.S. nor can the B-1 visa holder engage in work as a freelancer or independent contractor. As an exception to the need for a visa, the Visa Waiver Program permits visitors from many countries who have qualifying passports to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. entry visa. Canadian nationals are visa exempt.
Specialty Occupation Worker (H-1B Visa): U.S.-based companies may apply for this visa on behalf of foreign nationals in most professional occupations. H-1B occupations include engineers, computer scientists, financial analysts and others requiring a specific Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in work experience. The maximum length of stay in the U.S. is six years, although the stay of an H-1B worker may be extended beyond the sixth year if they have commenced an employment-based green card more than 365 days prior to the end of the sixth H-1B year. The H-1B is location and employer specific, and H-1B portability permits workers to change employers immediately upon filing a non-frivolous petition in certain circumstances.
Intra-Company Transferee (L-1 Visa): This visa is for executives, managers (L-1A) or employees with “specialized knowledge” (L-1B) who have worked for at least one year out of the past three years for an overseas parent, subsidiary or affiliate of a U.S. company. The maximum stay in the U.S. is five years for L-1B and seven years for L-1A visa holders. L-1A visa holders may be eligible to apply for permanent residence as a priority worker, in the “Multinational Manager” category, giving them an expedited route to U.S. permanent residence.
NAFTA Professional Worker (TN Visa): This visa is for Canadian or Mexican citizens whose occupations appear in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Category examples include Computer Systems Analyst, Engineer, Economist, Accountant, Management Consultant, Nurse and many types of Scientists. The employer must provide salary information and a detailed job description, along with the employee’s credentials as specified in NAFTA. A foreign national can work in the U.S. for up to one year with unlimited annual renewals provided that he or she maintains ties to his or her home country. Canadian citizens may file the application at a Port of Entry into the United States and obtain an immediate decision on the application.
Person of “Extraordinary Ability” (O-1 Visa): To qualify for this visa, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she is one of the small percentage of individuals at the very top of his or her field, who has sustained national or international acclaim. Examples of the criteria for evaluation are: receipt of a major internationally recognized award, membership in an organization that requires outstanding achievement, original scientific or scholarly work of major significance in his field, etc. This visa allows a foreign national to work in the U.S. for up to three years, and is renewable in annual increments thereafter. The O-1 visa is the most difficult work visa to obtain. Many O-1 visa holders are also eligible to apply for U.S. permanent residence as a priority worker under the Immigrant visa first preference category for aliens of Extraordinary Ability.
Exchange Visitors (J-1 Visa): Foreign nationals who have been accepted as participants in a broad range of work and/or study programs approved by the United States Information Agency (USIA) are eligible to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa and receive work authorization in the U.S. If applying as a business or industrial trainee, the applicant can receive a period of admission up to 18 months in length, interns are eligible for up to 12 months of J-1 status. Foreign nationals receive practical training that must be directly related to their occupation or academic curriculum and a training plan must be developed to outline the J-1 visa holder’s anticipated training (which in certain cases can be extended). Some J-1 visa holders may be required to return to their home country for two years at the completion of their J-1 program before they can return to the U.S., change to some other status or seek permanent residence. Waivers of this requirement may be available in some circumstances.
Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor/Australian Specialty Visa (E-1/E-2/E-3): Foreign nationals from a variety of countries are approved by Treaty to either operate trading entities in the U.S. (E-1) that facilitate international trade, or to invest in a new business (E-2) that will generate opportunities for U.S. workers. These visa categories require that the applicant (investor, specialized worker or exec/manager) be from the same country as the investor(s) and that a Treaty permitting the requisite E status be in existence. Applicants in this category are eligible for visas that are valid for up to five years, and each individual admission is for no more than two years. E-3 status is closely aligned to the H-1B category but is only available to Australian citizens. E-3 status requires an approved LCA and proof of work in a specialty occupation, as well as a qualifying educational background. Applicants can get a maximum of two years for an E-3 and there are only 10,000 E-3 visas available each year. No quotas exist for E-1 or E-2 applications.
Student in Optional Practical Training (F-1 Visa): A student qualified to pursue a full course of study at an established college, university, seminary, conservatory or language-training program enters the U.S. with an I-20 form issued by the institution. Students who complete the study requirements in their program may be eligible for up to one year of Optional Practical Training (OPT) (additional time is available depending on program of study and type of employer). OPT must be approved by the school before the student applies to USCIS for work authorization, evidenced by an Employment Authorization card.
Immigrant Visa Services:
Employment Based Green Card Processing – Labor Certification: The majority of Permanent Resident applications involve three basic stages: 1) Labor Certification (also known as PERM); 2) I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition; and 3) Adjustment of Status or Consular Process Application. The purpose of Labor Certification is to document to the DOL’s satisfaction that the employer advertised the foreign national’s position and could not find any qualified U.S. workers (generally U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents), who were willing, able, and available for the position advertised in the location of employment, and at a level of compensation that does not undercut U.S. workers’ wages. If the employer is comfortable that no qualified applicants came forward and can adequately prove this, the Labor Certification will be approved and the individual sponsored can move to stage 2.
Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing for Employment-Based Immigration: Applicants for employment-based permanent residence (i.e., the “Green Card”) can apply for permanent residence in one of two ways: through Adjustment of Status, or Consular Processing. Adjustment of Status occurs when the applicant applies for their immigrant visa (“Green Card”) from within the U.S., through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Consular Processing occurs when the applicant applies for their immigrant visa in their home country. Those in the process of submitting the I-140 Immigrant Petition should consider these options – Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing – as soon as possible in the process. Individuals with approved I-140 petitions may also wish to revisit these options before applying for the final stage of permanent residence as current processing times and personal factors may have changed since filing the immigrant petition.
Multinational Executives and Managers (EB-1): A qualifying U.S. employer can file an I-140 immigrant visa petition on behalf of a multinational executive or manager, if certain criteria are met, allowing them to bypass the Labor Certification requirement. To qualify the multinational executive or manager must have worked in an executive or managerial capacity for a foreign affiliate of the U.S. employer for at least one year during three years prior to applying for entry to the United States. The foreign national must also have a qualifying offer of employment.
Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Researchers and Professors (EB-1): This immigrant visa category is available to aliens who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in business, sciences, arts, education, or athletics, and sustained national or international acclaim; and outstanding researchers and professors who can demonstrate international recognition for their achievements in a particular academic field. Individuals qualifying for the EB-1 category are able to skip the Labor Certification process and historically have not been subject to any visa backlog. These categories are evidence intensive, and individuals seeking this classification must be able to fully support their application with documentation of acclaim and achievement in their field.
EB-5 Employment Based Alien Entrepreneurs: Also known as the “employment creation” visa category, is for foreign nationals who invest $1 million (or $500,000 if in a targeted employment area) in a new enterprise that employs 10 U.S. workers. To qualify for the EB-5 visa, in addition to the capital investment, an alien entrepreneur must establish a new commercial enterprise in which the alien will engage in a managerial or policy making capacity. Further, the enterprise must benefit the U.S. economy, and create full-time employment in the U.S. for U.S. workers. This is a two-step application process, with the initial application granting Conditional Permanent Status for a period of 2 years. Individuals must then demonstrate to U.S.C.I.S. that they have continued to meet (or exceed) the regulatory requirements to have the conditions removed.
Additional information on specific U.S. immigration matters can be found on our Resources page. You may also contact our office directly for a consultation.