In today’s business environment, many companies recruit from a global workforce and need to move key personnel to different work sites, both inside an out of the U.S. At Wright Lindsey Jennings, we are dedicated to crafting solutions to meet our clients’ immigration needs. We offer a wide variety of immigration services and guidance, including:
- Temporary Work Visas
- Employment Based Immigration (“Green Card”)
- I-9 Compliance & Audit Representation
- Practical Training Employment for Students
Temporary Work (Nonimmigrant) Visas
Companies looking to hire a citizen of a foreign country for a temporary or fixed period of time must file a petition for a nonimmigrant visa with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are many categories of temporary work visas, depending on the type of position available or the foreign national’s country of citizenship. Common temporary work visas include:
- H-1B: Workers in a Speciality Occupation.
- H-2A: Temporary or seasonal agricultural workers.
- H-2B: Temporary or seasonal non-agricultural workers.
- L-1: Intracompany transferees in managerial or executive positions or in positions utilizing specialized knowledge.
- O-1: Persons with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and motion picture or TV production.
- P-1: Internationally recognized athletes, entertainers, or members of internationally recognized entertainment groups.
- Q-1: Persons participating in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the alien’s home country.
- R-1: Religious workers.
- TN: North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) temporary professionals from Mexico and Canada.
Many of these visas are subject to numerical caps, have strict timing limitations, or require certification from the Department of Labor before you can file a petition with USCIS. Our experienced staff has secured visas on behalf of employers in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing and design, information technology and health care.
Employment-Based Immigration (Green Card)
There are several employment-based options to become a permanent resident, many of which require the sponsorship of a U.S. employer. Each preference is a unique, complex and time-consuming process.
- First Preference (EB-1): Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers.
- Second Preference (EB-2): Persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.
- Third Preference (EB-3): Professionals, skilled workers, and other workers.
- Fourth Preference (EB-4): “Special immigrants,” which includes certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of aliens.
- Fifth Preference (EB-5): Business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.
If you are thinking about sponsoring a foreign employee to work permanently in the U.S., our attorneys can help you determine the appropriate preference category and then outline a strategy for success.
Practical Training Employment for Students
Foreign nationals admitted to the U.S. with a F-1 or M-1 visa may be eligible to engage in practical training employment related to their field of study. Generally, there are three types of off-campus employment available to F-1 students:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT);
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion); and
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT).
M-1 students may engage in practical training only after completing their studies. Both F-1 and M-1 students must have prior authorization from their Designated School Official (DSO) before they can begin working. Many employers initially hire foreign employees on OPT before sponsoring him/her for an H-1B visa. However, compliance with practical training requirements can be critical when seeking a change of status from F-1 to H-1B. Our attorneys can help ensure that these requirements are met so that you have the opportunity to extend your employment relationship beyond the limited practical training period.