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.
On the U.S. side, 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.
Our practice has grown to include representation of our multinational clients in global visa, work and residence permit applications, as well as compliance audits in countries on a worldwide basis. This is a rapidly expanding and changing area of law, as countries struggle to protect domestic work forces while addressing the needs of international business. At Duane Morris, we provide a seamless home-host model that involves an in-house team working in conjunction with local expert counsel.
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 team's thorough understanding of the bureaucratic intricacies and our frequent interaction with decision makers at the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor and State in the United States as well as these agencies counterparts around the world, provide a solid foundation upon which we provide effective representation to our clients. Our immigration attorneys also work with members of the firm's trade, customs, international, tax, corporate, business reorganization, healthcare 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.
About Our Unique Experience
Immigration law has become an even more exciting and dynamic field as a result of the opening of world markets, and expanding trade. Our worldwide immigration practice has attorneys throughout the U.S. ,including our California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. offices, as well as local resources in our Singapore and London offices, and comprises lawyers and paralegals with long and varied experience that uniquely positions us to address our clients' immigration needs globally.
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 Department of Homeland Security agencies, as well as the Departments of State and Labor, and are frequently asked to present authoritative programs on immigration issues across the United States and globally.
Our immigration partners are experienced in handling large volume employment-based transactions, and possess unique knowledge and experience with global visa work — e.g., requirements for U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents or non-immigrants to secure work and residence permits and visas for countries across the globe.
As many employers know, immigration and naturalization laws globally 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 in meeting 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 and other countries' right to work programs to respond to workplace needs. Further, we conduct on-site preventive training programs designed to meet clients' specific needs.
U.S. Non-Immigrant Visas
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-1B workers, acceptable wage surveys, the interplay between practical training for foreign students and H-1B petitions, changing visa procedures at U.S. embassies worldwide, corporate restructurings, 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:
- North American Free Trade visas for Canadians and Mexicans
- Free Trade Agreement visas for Chileans and Singaporeans
- tourist visas
- extraordinary ability in science, education, arts, business or athletics visas
- entertainer visas
- foreign media visas
- exchange visitor visas
- foreign medical worker visas
- international organization visas
- student visas
- international cultural exchange visas
- religious worker visas
U.S. Immigrant Visas
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/journalists
- employment creation/investor
- employment-related family immigrant visas (spouses/children/brothers/sisters)
- divorce and widows
There are numerous immigration regimes across the globe. We assist our clients in understanding the options and constraints in each destination country so that the best strategy can be selected, ensuring that both the client and its employees are fully compliant with local regulations. Understanding the current global climate where both local labor market protection and the race for talent define the playing field, we work side by side with our clients to secure appropriate permits and visas.
Duane Morris’ Global Immigration professionals have extensive experience in the full spectrum of global immigration filings, including:
- Employment, investor and family based work and residence permit applications
- Permanent residency and citizenship filings
- Business and Entry visas
- Acquisition of vital records and personal documents
- Program policy development and best practices for global compliance
- Immigration project and/or program strategy
- Immigration and compliance audit assistance
- Client legal, HR, mobility, recruiter, and manager training
- Benchmarking and reporting
Duane Morris attorneys forge relationships with clients to build comprehensive, effective and sustainable immigration programs tailored to fit the needs of our clients the world over. Through longstanding relationships with local counsel on six continents, Duane Morris takes the care to develop intelligent global immigration programs and practices that suit clients' needs ranging from the individual to the program level.
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 globally
- general foreign assignment considerations
- destination country specific considerations
- project planning
- PERM labor certification applications
- 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 employees' U.S. Non-Immigrant, U.S. Immigrant, and Global Visa status
- 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
In order to provide our clients with the most effective and transparent immigration services, Duane Morris has invested in a state-of-the-art immigration solution known as EDGE. EDGE is a case management database system designed with security, usability, flexibility and scalability in mind. EDGE allows clients to securely upload data and access detailed case information status updates and reports online. Client employees are also able to upload information and monitor case progress subject to any client specifications. Moreover, EDGE provides encryption of client and client employee data and communications as well as constant monitoring and intrusion detection systems to keep sensitive information secure. Both company representatives and foreign national employees have access to this system through https://ww8.welcomeclient.com/.