Practice/Industry Group Overview
Duane Morris' Immigration Practice Group serves a diverse group of clients including multinational and Fortune 500 publicly-traded corporations, medium-sized privately-held companies, and smaller sized start-up ventures. Our attorneys have experience in a wide range of industries, including: information technology, biotechnology, security, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, market research, banking, shipping, healthcare, entertainment and food and beverage. In addition, we represent numerous universities, embassies, religious organizations, and other non-profit entities, as well as individuals, with immigration needs. We also handle immigration-related litigation and government compliance matters.
Our attorneys provide clients with a full range of immigration and naturalization legal services which are carefully crafted to reflect each client's goals and objectives. Through a comprehensive knowledge of the legal, political and business context in which immigration and naturalization concerns arise, the Immigration Practice Group assists clients to operate successfully in a world in which capital and business opportunities have no borders. Our immigration attorneys also work with members of the firm's trade, customs, international, tax, corporate, business reorganization, and litigation groups when issues arise which require the skills of lawyers practicing in a variety of disciplines to provide clients with a full range of legal services.
The firm's thorough understanding of the bureaucratic intricacies and frequent interaction with decision makers at the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor and State provide a solid foundation upon which to provide effective representation to our clients.
About Our Unique Experience
Immigration law has become an even more exciting and dynamic field as a result of the Homeland Security initiative and the placement of immigration matters under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. Our nationwide immigration practice, headquartered in our offices in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, comprises lawyers with varied experience that uniquely positions them to address the immigration, trade and customs needs of our clients in response to the U.S. government's growing regulatory agenda post-9/11.
Our partners' diverse backgrounds include serving as advisor to presidential administrations and participating in delegations to foreign countries involving immigration and human rights issues. Several of our lawyers have been national and state bar association liaisons to various Citizenship and Immigration Services agencies, as well as the Departments of State and Labor, and are frequently asked to present authoritative programs on immigration issues across the country.
Several of our immigration partners are experienced in handling large volume employment-based transactions, and possess unique knowledge and experience with outbound visa work — e.g., requirements for U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents or non-immigrants to secure working permits and visas in foreign countries.
As many employers know, immigration and naturalization laws are enforced by government agencies that often provide restrictive responses to immigration and the legitimate needs of businesses to employ the best workers regardless of nationality. Our Immigration Practice Group assists employers to meet their needs efficiently and effectively, while endeavoring to minimize the inconvenience, delay, expense and potential liability related to immigration issues. We offer advisory services to help navigate the complex areas of work authorization and immigrant and non-immigrant visa services. We also develop foreign national workforce policies, training programs, and corporate compliance strategies, such as I-9 Compliance programs to respond to workplace needs. Further, we conduct on-site preventive training programs designed to meet clients' specific needs.
There are several types of non-immigrant visas which allow a foreign national to work in the United States. They include H-1B (professionals), L (intracompany transferees), E (treaty traders/investors), F (students with practical training) and J (exchange visitor). We have assisted numerous clients in negotiating the complex maze of regulations, policies and operational instructions that must be navigated to obtain these visas. Issues of current concern include the impact of H-1B quota cap restrictions, portability for H-1Bs, acceptable wage surveys, the interplay between practical training for foreign students and H-1B applications, changing visa procedures at U.S. embassies worldwide, layoffs and terminations, and work authorizations for spouses of L and E visa holders.
Duane Morris lawyers offer clients substantial experience in the analysis and representation of all other types of non-immigrant visas, including issues involving:
- tourist visas
- extraordinary ability in science, education, arts, business or athletics visas
- entertainer visas
- foreign media visas
- exchange visitor visas
- international organization visas
- student visas
- international cultural exchange visas
- religious worker visas
- North American Free Trade visas for Canadians and Mexicans
- Free Trade Agreement visas for Chileans and Singaporeans
Duane Morris lawyers possess extensive knowledge and in-depth experience in obtaining immigrant visas on behalf of clients. We fully understand the most recent changes in immigration laws regarding portability of labor certifications and immigrant visa petitions, tandem filing of immigrant visa petitions and adjustment of status applications, labor certifications and procedures and processing times for applications in the United States, as well as immigrant visa processing and procedures for U.S. embassies around the world. We also counsel employers regarding hiring foreign personnel who have pending applications and work authorization issues. Our attorneys have extensive experience in all facets of immigrant visas, including:
- labor certifications
- immigrant visa petitions
- multinational executives and managers
- outstanding professors and researchers
- exceptional ability visas
- nurses, doctors, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals
- special immigrants, including religious workers, returning permanent residents and broadcasters with International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors
- employment creation/investor
- employment-related family immigrant visas (spouses/children/brothers/sisters)
- divorce and widows
Immigration and Training and Workshops
Duane Morris' attorneys develop and conduct training programs for human resource managers, general counsel and supervisory level employees. The training programs and workshops are designed to meet a client's specific needs in a wide variety of workplace issues, such as:
- I-9 compliance
- public inspection files for H-1B petitions
- portability of H-1B visa petitions, labor certifications and immigrant visa petitions
- new immigration laws, policies and procedures
- special registration
- creative alternatives to H-1Bs
- travel and security concerns in the post 9/11 world
Our lawyers are sensitive to the immigration issues related to other transactional matters. When appropriate, we interface with our corporate, real estate, bankruptcy and tax attorneys to provide a complete range of legal services with respect to client needs. The following are representative issues on which we assist in business transactions:
- immigration ramifications of corporate restructuring such as mergers, acquisitions, asset transfers on H-1B, L-1, labor certifications, immigrant visa petitions and applications for permanent residence
- immigration issues for non-immigrants purchasing/financing real estate
- effect of bankruptcy on naturalization application
- international and domestic tax ramifications for foreign corporations and foreign personnel
- tax ramifications of immigration status
Removal (Deportation) Counsel, Hearings, Waivers and Litigation
Our immigration attorneys have handled deportation (currently referred to as "removal") hearings, waivers, material witness warrants and federal court litigation. In the post-9/11 immigration climate, more people are being placed in removal proceedings. Many of those have minor or hyper-technical immigration violations. Further, corporate executives who had youthful indiscretions are also finding themselves in removal proceedings. Our attorneys are frequently called upon to assist in providing representation for the following types clients:
- individuals who have problems at the port of entry
- foreign personnel who are out of status because they worked for a second employer without permission or failed to file appropriate documents with the CIS
- returning permanent residents with old criminal convictions which, at the time of the conviction, would not have been sufficient cause for removal
- corporate executives with old or expunged criminal convictions
- individuals seeking political asylum or relief from deportation under the United Nations Convention Against Torture
- individuals subject to waivers for misrepresentations, fraud, convictions, exclusion at entry, failure to possess appropriate documents
Special Immigration Services
Duane Morris' attorneys also provide specialized immigration-related services to address the business needs of our clients. These services include:
- strategic advice and advocacy on specific client needs
- electronic alerts and other communications
- seminars and workshops on significant developments
- customized training programs
Duane Morris has invested in a state-of-the-art case management database system known as ImmigrationTracker™. This system was designed exclusively for use by law firms with a high volume immigration practice and provides several features, including: password secure web access permitting clients to view detailed case information and corporate HR to initiate new matters online; calendaring and call-up systems to provide notice of filing deadlines and extensions; a report function permitting our Group to provide regular, up-to-date, status reports to Corporate HR and, if needed, to General Counsel, on the progress of their employees' cases.
For more information, please contact Denyse Sabagh or any of the practice members referenced in the Attorney Listing.