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Employers face a variety of immigration issues including compliance with immigration laws in the hiring and retention of employees, documentation and management of domestic workforces, and responses to inquiries, investigations and mismatch letters from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (part of the Department of Homeland Security), the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Labor.
Our highly experienced immigration attorneys work closely with attorneys from our labor and employment and corporate practices to provide integrated solutions to clients from a broad range of industries. These include energy companies, technology companies and medical, research and educational institutions that rely on a highly skilled workforce, as well as labor-intensive businesses such as manufacturing, food services, agriculture, and dairy.
We counsel clients in three key areas: obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for foreign employees in the United States; domestic workforce management; and immigration issues in corporate transactions.
Work Authorizations for Foreign Employees
Bracewell helps clients obtain all categories of nonimmigrant work visas, as well as approvals of petitions for permanent residence for employees in a wide variety of occupations. We help employers make effective use of existing resources in developing immigration-management programs, including case preparation, filing and monitoring, case management and docketing, developing customized reports, and utilizing best practices information.
Our attorneys work closely with clients to obtain Labor Condition Applications and Permanent Labor Certifications from the Department of Labor; ensure that the client posts mandatory notices of prospective hiring and maintains all required documentation; and manage the visa application process through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Consular Processing.
We counsel clients on:
- H-1B visa applications for workers in specialty occupations
- H-2B temporary worker visas
- L visa applications for intracompany transferees
- P and O ("Extraordinary Ability") petitions for scientists, researchers, performing artists and athletes
- TN visas for citizens of Mexico and Canada
- E-3 visas for citizens of Australia
- R visas for religious workers
- Related spouse and dependent applications and employment authorization requests
- Employment-Based Petitions for Immigrant Visas ("Green card')(EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3)
- Naturalization applications
- Other related matters
- Domestic Workforce Management
All U.S. employers must comply with specific requirements regarding the documentation, verification and legal status of existing employees and new hires. We work with domestic businesses to develop internal policies and procedures that enable them to ensure and — when necessary — demonstrate compliance with these regulations. We also represent clients in a wide range of agency investigations and inquiries, including I-9 audits, sanctions proceedings, discrimination claims based on foreign status, Department of Labor wage audits, and other compliance and enforcement actions.
Immigration Issues in Corporate Transactions
Mergers, acquisitions and other corporate transactions can give rise to a host of immigration issues, particularly when the transaction involves both domestic and foreign enterprises. Bracewell's immigration attorneys work closely with the firm's corporate and tax attorneys to conduct comprehensive employment-related due diligence. We help clients proactively address immigration, corporate/tax issues regarding the transfer of key employees, identify opportunities to streamline the process for obtaining work authorizations, and undertake the necessary immigration filings incidental to mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.