Employers in today's global market face an array of regulatory compliance issues, along with increased government scrutiny and greater enforcement of laws regulating everything from how to market products to how to hire, promote and manage employees.
Immigration-related regulations and laws impact companies of all sizes and types – even those that have no foreign employees, but that have failed to establish an employment eligibility verification program. Immigration prosecutions have soared over the past few years, and now make up half of all federal prosecutions.
To handle this increased pressure on businesses and individuals, McGuireWoods offers a unique approach to immigration matters. Unlike boutique firms that deal solely with immigration law, the full-service business lawyers in our immigration practice group provide a wider perspective.
Our team includes not only corporate and employment lawyers who know the ins and outs of business immigration, but also government investigations lawyers with experience defending clients facing large-scale investigations regarding their practices in employing non-immigrants, permanent residents and U.S. citizens.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has embarked on a strategy of sending a strong deterrent message to employers by conducting large-scale worksite enforcement actions that immediately impact a company's bottom line. Companies suffer not only lost profits as a result of an enforcement action (which may include temporarily shutting down a plant because of lack of workers), but may also face criminal charges, including possible claims against officers, owners, managers and supervisors.
ICE's current strategy differs dramatically from the approach of the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that rarely imposed even modest civil fines on employers who hired undocumented workers. Today, ICE employs large-scale enforcement actions, criminal prosecutions, and seizes company assets to gain company compliance with employment verification laws.
McGuireWoods has extensive experience handling matters involving workforce enforcement, dealing with ICE agents, and helping companies address immigration-related concerns. We provide advice, compliance auditing, internal investigations, and design and implement employment eligibility verification (I-9 Form) programs.
When advising on and preparing visa petitions, we know that all relevant laws must be considered – not just those that specifically apply to immigration. Employers must also comply with labor and employment laws in making submissions to DHS, the Department of Labor, or the Department of State, or in setting up employment verification programs. Clients seeking the visas necessary to start new U.S.-based businesses must also be aware of relevant corporate and tax matters. We ensure that no pertinent law or requirement is overlooked.
McGuireWoods provides immigration legal services to a broad range of business clients including multinational corporations, emerging businesses, universities, hospitals, nonprofit companies, resorts and country clubs, religious organizations and individuals.
Employment-Related Immigration Sponsorship
Clients count on us to obtain temporary and permanent resident visas to allow foreign nationals to work in the United States.
- H-1B Visas – Represent U.S. employers in hiring computer professionals, financial analysts, engineers, sales managers, business executives, professors, doctors, scientists, and other highly educated and skilled professionals from around the globe.
- L-1 Visas – Prepare and process visas for the intracompany transfer of managers, executives and specialized knowledge personnel from foreign companies to related U.S. companies.
- E-I Treaty Trader & E-2 Treaty Investor Visas – Obtain visas for investors, managers, executives, and key employees from Europe, Asia and the Americas to come to the United States to establish and run businesses.
- Employment-Based Permanent Resident Visas – Handle permanent resident or "green card" applications in all employment-based categories for individuals from dozens of countries, including those with extraordinary abilities in business, education, the sciences, arts and athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; managers and executives of multinational companies; advanced-degree professionals, including those seeking national interest waivers; professional workers with bachelor’s degrees; and skilled and unskilled workers.
- H-3 Visas – Work with U.S. companies and institutions to bring foreign nationals to the United States to participate in established training programs.
- O-1 Visas – Aliens with Extraordinary Ability – Obtain O-1 visas for foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in athletics, the sciences, arts, education or business, including advisory opinions from an appropriate labor organization.
- P-1 Visas – Athletes, Entertainment Groups, and Artists – Obtain P-1 visas for athletes, entertainment groups and artists, including advisory opinions from an appropriate labor organization.
We also provide creative solutions to difficult cases, including establishing aliens’ extraordinary abilities, obtaining national interest or two-year home residency requirement waivers, or obtaining visas for individuals who do not easily fall into any relevant visa category.
Employer Immigration Compliance
Our goal is to help corporate human resources and legal department employees do their jobs more effectively. Clients trust us to establish employment verification programs and to advise them on the frequent changes in employment-related immigration laws.
To meet clients’ ever-changing needs, we regularly establish compliance programs, including those for employment verification; provide in-house training; and conduct tailored seminars to target specific opportunities and challenges clients face.
- Counsel on employment authorization verification (Form I-9).
- Advise on employer policies to ensure employment eligibility and avoid immigration-related employment discrimination.
- Counsel on establishing compliance programs to ensure that all immigration-related policies and procedures are followed.
- Train regarding employment authorization verification and immigration law changes.
- Counsel on Social Security no-match letters.
- Counsel on participation in E-Verify.
- Counsel on participation in ICE’s IMAGE program.
When facing a government audit or even an unannounced raid, clients turn to us to provide advice and advocacy. Our white collar criminal defense lawyers on the immigration practice team have experience representing clients involved in investigations conducted by ICE (DHS), the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor. Our corporate and labor and employment attorneys aid our investigation team with additional substantive knowledge regarding applicable immigration laws and current trends.
- Respond to government I-9 Form audits and investigations.
- Respond to government investigations regarding identity theft and associated criminal activity.
- Conduct internal investigations regarding specific immigration-related challenges.
- Conduct internal I-9 Form audits.
- Respond to subpoenas for immigration-related information from the Department of Justice.
- Defend Department of Justice investigations and charges of immigration-related employment discrimination.
- Defend businesses involving large-scale government raids and audits.