How businesses approach legal immigration can determine whether or not they are able to hire key people. Having a good strategy is an essential component of winning immigration cases. We discuss the strategies businesses are using to stay ahead of immigration changes.
Plus, how to develop a comprehensive immigration plan so that your company can hire the people it needs from around the world.
We go through different visa options with the company. For example:
David Kelso: Hi, there. Welcome to another episode of OnlineVisas.com The Immigration Show. I'm your host, Dave Kelso here with CEO of OnlineVisas.com, Mr. Jon Velie. Jon, how are you?
Jon Velie: I'm good, Dave. How are you?
David Kelso: Well, I'm... We've talked a lot about individual visas, how somebody can come to you and get their American Dream started, right? But we've also talked a lot about the difficulty businesses are having in the immigration field these days. You said earlier that your field has changed, their field hasn't changed, making it very difficult for businesses to navigate immigration waters. So, I thought maybe we'd sit down and talk today about business plans for immigration.
Jon Velie: Well, I think the better way to say it is how do businesses do immigration, and what are their policies for it, and how do they address it.
David Kelso: Is there a standard? Do a lot of businesses do it the same way, or does it depend on the business?
Jon Velie: Well, let's put it this way. For every visa petition, there is a petitioner and a beneficiary. If it's a work-related visa, so any of the non-immigrant working visas like an H1B, O's, P's, L's, we've talked about or the employment-based green cards. It can be one, two, three, four and five. In most cases, that's going to require a petitioner being a company. I say most cases because there are agent-based petitions for some of the O's and P's, and then there is the EB-1. You can be a self-petitioner as an individual, but you still need a company to work with. But yes, companies will look at immigration from their perspective. Employees will look at immigration from their perspective. We have a wide assortment of both corporate clients and individuals. And in either case, we then represent the other also.
David Kelso: Oh, okay.
Jon Velie: That makes sense. Right? So, if the company comes to us and says, "We're wanting to get an H1B for somebody," then we have to work with that individual person and we present the case for both the employer and the employee. And if the employee comes to us and says, "I want to get an H1B," then we have to then work with the employer to petition for them. Right?
David Kelso: Right.
Jon Velie: So, looking at strategies is really important right now. A lot of the visas almost across the board have become more difficult. And so what do companies do about that? Well, we have found a really interesting element of our practice has been, in the last really two years, is to help companies analyze the strategy and the processes they use when they're going to hire somebody from another country.
Jon Velie: And so that... Go ahead.
David Kelso: Forgive me for interrupting, but it doesn't seem like... To me, if I was thinking I need to hire three people to fill in this, there wouldn't be a lot of strategy there. I would just sort of... I need to fill out the paperwork, get the people and move forward. But it's not that simple, is it?
Jon Velie: No, not anymore. And look, in some instances with the H1B, there is a numeric cap. It starts on the first day of the fiscal year. That's October 1st, and then immigration regulations let you apply for that for any visa six months prior. So, April 1st becomes this date. And the regulations say the visa application period needs to stay open at least five days. So, there are 65,000 regular cap visas available and another 20,000 for advanced degree professionals from US universities. That's 85,000 total. All 85,000 of those will fill up for the fiscal year that starts six months later in those first five days-
David Kelso: Oh, I'm sure it will.
Jon Velie: and then have to go through a lottery. So, how do you deal with that issue? How do you deal with saying, "I want to hire somebody at least six months from now, and what do I do if I don't get that visa?" So, there are strategies on what other visas are available if the H1B is not. The H3 for training programs. J1 can be for trainees or interns. The TN can be for Canadians or Mexicans. That's a treaty NAFTA visa. There are some exceptions to the H1B cap, the H1B1 for Singapore and Chile, the E3 for Australians and maybe the Irish. They've almost brought them in. We'll see what happens. There can be other visas such as an E2 if someone wants to own a company or be an essential employee of a company that has foreign ownership, then there is the L1 as an option as well.
Jon Velie: So, all of these are different visas. We were meeting with a company yesterday regarding their H1Bs and their EB3 and EB2 PERM-related green cards. And in having this discussion, they said, "Well, we have offices in Italy and in France." And so we said, "Have you ever used the L1 visa?" And they said no. So, that's a great way to be able to have somebody work for you for a year and then move them over even at a managerial or a specialized way.
David Kelso: Right.
Jon Velie: So, all of these different things can be an assortment. So, a lot of times, we'll do like a PowerPoint presentation, go to our client's facility, sit down and talk to them about these different visa options and how to think of it from an HR perspective, HR manager's perspective, or an area manager. So that you may be ahead of the R&D department and you're not the HR person, but how do you hire people there.
Jon Velie: There are other issues. How to bring in students under the Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training, and how do you do that right? A lot of businesses have gotten in trouble lately and had their H1Bs denied because they weren't in status because their OPT was done incorrectly or CPD was done incorrectly.
David Kelso: Because if you make a mistake along that path anywhere, they can come back and deny you later.
Jon Velie: Absolutely.
David Kelso: Is that-
Jon Velie: And determine that you had been out of status for a long time and then the person is immediately deportable and it's a nightmare. We've seen a couple of cases, not ones that we did, but people coming to us later that had worked on OPT, gotten an excellent job, got through the lottery, were about to get their H1B approved, but for having worked improperly under their OPTs and they were put out of status for such a long period that they had to be deported.
David Kelso: This sounds like a really good reason to get with a professional about this. My idea of just filling out the paperwork and getting what you need is clearly too simplified, to sit down with somebody who can speak your language, speak the immigration language. If I wanted to... Let's say I was the owner of a small company and wanted to hire some people and needed to get with that, how do I start a business immigration plan?
Jon Velie: Right. Well, thank you. So, look. OnlineVisas.com, very popular website right now, has all sorts of information about the various visas. You can check out videos that we've done. You can check out these videos that we do on these types of things at OnlineVisas. We have over a thousand people a day coming now. Lots and lots of questions. You can go in there and check that out. You can set up a strategy session. We do free strategy. For our corporate clients, every discussion is free. We charge by the visa, and we can help in building out that strategy. We can analyze their documents. A lot of times, what immigration has kind of done in the last couple of years as they've honed down and made this more difficult is they're looking at the evidence. And some immigration attorneys just take whatever evidence is given to them and put it in and hope for the best.
Jon Velie: What we do is we will go through a very holistic approach. We'll look at all the documents, your offer letters, your contracts, your business plans, everything you do to see if there is something in there that's going to be a gotcha for immigration.
David Kelso: Right.
Jon Velie: Are they going to dig up something that says, "This is inconsistent with what your lawyer letter says," right? We also write a brief. It's about a 25 to 30-page brief where we identify issues.
David Kelso: That doesn't sound very brief. It sounds like a long...
Jon Velie: A long, right. But we've templated. So, if we're doing a corporate client, we're going to still say the same story about the company, but we're going to identify things about the company and why it's good. So, for example, a startup in Silicon Valley may have just a small number of employees, may not even be profitable yet. Right? It's burning, but there's a lot of good press about them out there. They won some awards, they turned some heads, they have some buzz. We'll add that in there.
David Kelso: Sure.
Jon Velie: In a case where we may have a company that's doing in-house projects for H1Bs, we'll use some techniques that immigration likes on the L. We'll take photographs of the facility. Here are real people working at this place. It's not the sweat shop that you want to think it is, USCIS. Here's a great organization that does it the right way. We look at, again, all the documents and we'll either say, "Hey, suggest some language for immigration such as right to control," which is if you have a person in a third-party, how do you do that so that you can cite to that evidence. And evidence is... As immigration looks at it, it's evidence of the day-to-day organizational document. It's not evidence for a letter that says what you're going to do, right?
Jon Velie: So, the letter that says what you're going to do, whether it's an employment letter to immigration or an expert letter to immigration, it needs to look at the actual evidence and then say, "Here's how I interpret that for this particular deal" instead of just saying, "Here's what we're going to do." But that is one of the toughest and hardest lessons learned. And so those are the things. So, what we do for our corporate clients is we talk through a case and we look at their resumes, say, "This person will work or won't work," or what they need to do to work before we get into it.
David Kelso: Strategery. Strategery.
Jon Velie: Yep.
David Kelso: Get a copy of this book, H1B Visas Applications and Approval from Jon. It's a bestselling book. Jon's got experience with this. Jon's been doing this for...
Jon Velie: 26 years.
David Kelso: 26 years. The strategery and the strategy sessions and the plan that you need begins with OnlineVisas.com. How do I get ahold of you otherwise to begin a free strategy session for my company?
Jon Velie: Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The word, "Information" at V as in Victor, E-L-I-E-L-A-W dot com or call us, 405-310-4333. Somebody will set you up with an appointment time and we'll get on the phone and talk about your situation. And in a number of circumstances, we can come to your company, sit down, look at how you do what you do, and go from there.
David Kelso: And get it worked out. Be sure and subscribe to the YouTube channel if you're watching this there. Follow us on Facebook. We're on LinkedIn as well. That's Jon Velie, CEO of OnlineVisas.com. I'm your host, Dave Kelso. Thanks for watching OnlineVisas.com: The Immigration Show.