Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discusses hot topics under the new administration in the Daily Business Review.
Cozen O’Connor's Immigration Policy and Strategy attorneys have significant experience providing a wide range of legal services to global and multinational employers and individuals seeking temporary and long-term immigration solutions. Our full-service immigration practice advises domestic and international corporations and businesses and their employees in seeking temporary visa options and permanent residence in the U.S. This multidisciplinary approach allows us to integrate our tax, labor and employment, corporate, finance/EB-5, and international attorneys in providing comprehensive, high-quality representation as we develop strategies applicable to all aspects of immigration and nationality law.
Our immigration attorneys have comprehensive knowledge to assist in handling large volume employment-based transactions as well as with acquiring temporary and permanent immigration status for key managers, executives, professionals, athletes, and entertainers. In addition, we represent numerous high net worth individuals seeking to obtain immigration status based on their investments in new or existing enterprises. We work with our clients to develop customized solutions that align with their business needs.
Cozen O’Connor provides comprehensive, innovative and cost-effective solutions to U.S. and multinational companies across a wide range of industries in all aspects of business immigration. We guide and advise companies’ in-house legal and HR departments on immigration processes, multinational mobility programs, training, drafting and implementing policies, procedures and best practices. These often include developing multi-national recruitment and retention programs, as well as related optimized mobility plans, including immigration due diligence on M&A, reorganization, and other corporate transactions.
Our immigration compliance practice assists clients in developing comprehensive strategies to facilitate global employee mobility and addresses all aspects of immigration compliance including Form I-9 and E-Verify. We provide global immigration program support and are continually involved in the development of immigration law and policy as we analyze and interpret the impact of immigration reform within the administration and its effects on our clients and the legal and business community as a whole. In addition, we also provide extensive solutions for family-based immigration issues, including petitions for relatives, naturalization, and other citizenship issues.
At all times our attorneys have a client-focused approach. Communication is our top priority and our attorneys and paralegals always remain accessible to our corporate and individual clients alike. We work to form a true business partnership and tailor our high-quality solutions to complement our clients’ unique business culture and vision. We are forward-thinking and proactive in handling client matters and work to minimize any burden to our clients. We never lose sight that immigration processes ultimately concern the career, family and life plans of individuals. Therefore, when it comes to client services we treat each client with individual care.
Our unique practice groups are populated by attorneys who are extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields. Our service areas include:
Corporate U.S. Immigration Representation
Case preparation and legal analysis for the complete range of corporate immigration transactions:
Nonimmigrant Visas: H-1B, L-1, E-1, E-2, E-3, H-2B, H-3, I, J-1, O-1, P, TN, etc.
Permanent Residence: PERM labor certification (EB-2 and EB3), extraordinary ability, multinational executives & managers, outstanding professors & researchers, national interest waivers (NIW), skilled workers, EB-5, etc.
Post PR guidance: analysis on impact of international assignments including preservation of LPR status
Corporate immigration policy and program management including reporting, performance metrics, industry benchmarking for best practices, etc.
Due diligence advice on immigration aspects of corporate reorganizations, including M&A, spin-offs and RIFs
Family or Individual Based U.S. Immigration Representation
Citizenship & naturalization, including derivative citizenship and expatriation
Family sponsored permanent residence, including:
Immediate relatives and all family based preference categories
Marriage based including processing under post-DOMA issues
Business Traveler Visa Services and Passport Services
Short term assignment planning and B-1 business visitor visa guidance
Assess if business visa or work permit is required, preparation of visa application support letters, supporting document procurement, application filing, visa pick-up where possible
U.S. passport applications, including initial applications, renewals, additional pages, amendments
U.S. Consular Services at U.S. Embassies and Consular Posts
Assistance with issuance of U.S. visa stamps, scheduling visa appointments, requesting expedited processing and completion of DS forms
Preparation and guidance for interviews and travel, processing requests for waiver of inadmissibility, and processing immediate relative petitions and fiancée applications
Assistance with abandonment of LPR status, U.S. citizenship, and passport applications
Liaison with posts to ensure compliance with local processes, procedures, and document requirements
Global Visa Services
Covering more than 160 countries, Cozen O’Connor attorneys manage global (non-U.S.) visa services, including:
Work permits, study permits, business visitor entry and visitor status
Temporary visas, temporary resident permits and extensions of temporary status
Applications to overcome criminal or medical inadmissibility and immigration status for accompanying dependents
Applications for citizenship and permanent resident status, including skilled worker, family class, employee sponsored and entrepreneur and investor applications
Form I-9 and Immigration Compliance Services
Legal guidance and support during all phases of I-9 process including completion, signature, storage, maintenance and administration
Confirmation of employment eligibility and SSN no-match consultations
I-9/E-Verify consultation and implementation, policy review and electronic I-9 storage issues
Assistance with 'historical' I-9 forms, including spotting error trends, facilitating corrections, and conducting internal audit
I-9 audits following notification of a government audit
Issues related to federal contractors and their subcontractors
Compliance training services for internal staff designed to streamline I-9 processes
Conduct training on non-discrimination and I-9 IRCA employment eligibility best practices
Monitor compliance with LCA public inspection files for H-1B petitions
Ensure compliance with agency requirements governing labor certifications (PERM applications)
Our immigration attorneys work closely with Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, a bipartisan government relations firm that represents clients before all branches of the federal government. We continuously monitor activity in the policy-making arena through our contacts with government agencies and decision makers both in the U.S. and abroad. We anticipate change and seek to proactively counsel our clients how to best manage their immigration programs in light of any forthcoming developments.
Provide advice on state and local immigration laws and compliance issues
Liaison with USCIS Service Centers and other federal offices when government error is involved
March 26, 2020
Frances Rayer and Elizabeth Olivera addressed common questions related to immigration and COVID-19.
March 18, 2020
Fran Rayer and Beth Olivera explain what the USCIS canceling all face-to-face appointments, interviews, and events, including asylum interviews and citizenship ceremonies, means for applicants and petitioners.
March 17, 2020
Fran Rayer discusses the temporary suspension of premium processing service for fiscal year (FY) 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions.
February 03, 2020
Scott Bettridge discusses changes to the I-9 form, effective immediately.
December 16, 2019
Learn about the changes USCIS announced for its online registration system that will be implemented in the 2020 H-1B lottery.
November 25, 2019
Fran Rayer discusses the proposed increased fees for green cards applications, associated work and travel authorizations, and citizenship filing fees.
November 18, 2019
Fran Rayer and Velika A. Nespor discuss what employers should do when they receive an SSA no match letters.
November 07, 2019
Fran Rayer discusses the extension of Temporary Protected Status related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designation for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan through January 4, 2021.
October 02, 2019
Frances P. Rayer discusses what you need to know about the 2021 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, including dates the lottery is open and who is eligible to enter.
July 01, 2019
Velika A. Nespor and Frances Rayer discuss the new requirements for all nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants.
May 01, 2019
Scott Bettridge discuses the U.S. Department of State's announcement that a treaty investor agreement has finally been executed between Israel and the United States and effective May 1, 2019, Israeli citizens may now apply for the E-2 Visa classification at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
March 06, 2019
Velika Nespor and Frances Rayer discuss USCIS's automatic extension of TPS status until January 2, 2020.
February 22, 2019
Scott Bettridge discussed the importance of local businesses in South Florida making immigration compliance a top priority.
November 16, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, wrote an article in Law360 about the impact on Canadians that are involved in a cannabis business entering the United States.
September 25, 2018
Scott Bettridge warns Canadian professionals employed in the cannabis industry that travel to the United States may not lead to routine entry and should continue to exercise caution on any upcoming travels.
September 10, 2018
Frances Rayer discusses DHS's increase in fees for premium processing of certain employment-based immigrant benefit requests.
August 29, 2018
Frances Rayer discusses that the temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions will continue and be expanded; beginning September 11, 2018, and continuing through February 19, 2019.
June 07, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discussed in The Business Journals immigration enforcement in the Trump administration.
March 22, 2018
Frances Rayer discusses the USCIS's temporary suspension of premium processing for all H-1B cap-subject petitions. This suspension of premium processing only affects H-1B cap-subject petitions.
March 16, 2018
Fran Rayer discusses significant changes in the visa availability for Indian and Chinese nationals in the employment-based first-preference category (EB1).
February 09, 2018
A brief federal government shutdown ended this morning as the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (the “CR”) which provides a bipartisan budget bill that raises spending caps for two years and funds the federal government through March 23, 2018. The President signed the bill this...
January 29, 2018
Fran Rayer discusses the H-1B quotas for FY2019 and what employers should be doing now in anticipation of the start of H-1B cap filing season.
January 26, 2018
On January 5, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) kicked off two new "traveler compliance initiatives" aimed at assisting those travelers to the US on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
These newly added features to the I-94 website (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home) under the "View...
January 25, 2018
The beginning of the calendar year is the perfect time for employers to begin planning for the FY2019 H-1B cap filing season, which will begin on Monday, April 2, 2018.
Due to continued high demand, it is expected that the quota will be filled within the first 5 business days. The H-1B quotas for...
January 24, 2018
Anyone flying within the United States on or after January 22, 2018 will have to ensure that their state-issued driver’s license or identification card is compliant with the Real ID Act and its standards or has received an extension in which to comply. If the traveler has a license or...
January 23, 2018
The federal government shutdown came to an end last night as the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (the “CR”) last night which extended the Federal budget until February 8, 2018. The President signed the bill late last night. This new short-term extension made no changes to any...
December 22, 2017
As expected, the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (the "CR") last night which extended the Federal budget until January 19, 2018. It is expected that the President will sign the CR today. This new short-term extension made no changes to any federal programs, and as a result, the...
December 21, 2017
USCIS has issued new guidance on the TN nonimmigrant classification for economists. Following a Policy Memorandum dated November 20, 2017, USCIS will no longer classify financial analysts, market research analysts, and marketing specialists in the TN economist category. Effectively immediately,...
December 11, 2017
On Friday, December 8, 2017, President Trump signed House Joint Resolution 123, the “Continuing Appropriations Act”, which prevented a U.S. federal government shutdown. The Act provided a short-term extension which will keep the U.S. federal government open through December 22, 2017. Within this...
October 27, 2017
Fran Rayer discusses that I-140-based adjustment of status applicants will be required to appear for an in-person interview at a local USCIS office and how this could impact final adjudication of the I-485 permanent residence application.
October 18, 2017
Frances Rayer and Scott Bettridge discuss a recent update to the 2019 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program along with a change to application deadline dates.
October 04, 2017
Frances P. Rayer discusses the USCIS announcement that premium processing has been reinstated for all H-1B petitions and that effective October 3, 2017, employers may request to upgrade pending H-1B petitions to premium processing.
September 26, 2017
On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a Proclamation enhancing the vetting capabilities and processes for detecting attempted entry into the United States by terrorists or other public safety threats. The Proclamation suspended and limited, subject to categorical exceptions and case-by-case...
September 21, 2017
The U.S. State Department recently announced that it will begin accepting applications for this year’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program—commonly referred to as the diversity visa (DV) lottery system—starting on Tuesday, October 3. Applicants whose DV cases are among those selected in the lottery and...
September 20, 2017
On September 5, 2017 DHS rescinded the June 15, 2012 memorandum issued by President Obama which established the “DACA” program. The “DACA” rescission requires individuals that are seeking an extension of their status to file on or before October 5, 2017 in order to extend their employment...
September 19, 2017
USCIS announced on Monday, September 18, 2017, that it will immediately accept premium processing requests of all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap. H-1B cap petitions filed in April 2017, requesting a start date of October 1, 2017, can now be upgraded to premium...
September 18, 2017
As of today, September 18, employers must use the new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for all new hires. The new form is available on the USCIS website and on most electronic Form I-9 software programs.
USCIS originally released the revised Form I-9 on July 17, 2017, which did not...
September 18, 2017
Fran Rayer discusses the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program (sometimes referred to as a green card) that enables foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence in the United States without employer or family sponsorship.
August 03, 2017
On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, President Trump, along with Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduced The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (RAISE Act). The RAISE Act is proposed to create a skills-based immigration system, seeking to make America more...
July 24, 2017
On Monday, July 24, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an update detailing how it will resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions. The H-1B visa has an annual cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Additionally, there is an annual “master’s cap” of...
July 20, 2017
On July 17, 2017 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced updates regarding the implementation of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, in response to a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Hawaii.
Last Thursday, July 13, 2017, the U.S. District...
July 12, 2017
On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security published notice in the Federal Register delaying the implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule. After last month’s prediction that the Trump administration would delay the rule from going into effect on July 17th, the DHS...
July 07, 2017
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discusses hot topics under the new administration in the Daily Business Review.
June 26, 2017
On Monday, June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to hear the government’s appeal of lower court’s injunctions on President Trump’s travel ban in their next session beginning October 2017, and granted the government’s request to reinstate parts of the ban until the Court hears the...
March 09, 2017
Scott Bettridge and Michael Stevenson discuss President Trump’s March 6 executive order, with particular focus on prospective impact on individual travelers as well as companies with an international workforce with employees who routinely seek entrance to the United States.
February 24, 2017
Scott Bettridge and Michael Stevenson discuss the heightened enforcement of immigration laws under the Trump administration, including the recent increase in government audits of employers’ Forms I-9.
February 14, 2017
Scott Bettridge, Michael Stevenson, and Marcy Stras discuss three key business immigration issues that have seen significant developments in the past few weeks.
January 31, 2017
Marcy Stras, Scott Bettridge, and Elena Park discuss President Trump's Executive Order affecting immigrant and nonimmigrant entry for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
November 28, 2016
Marcela Stras and Elena Park discuss potential changes to the H-1B visa worker program under President-elect Trump.
November 18, 2016
This analysis provides insight into some of the most pertinent business issues President-elect Trump will likely address during his term, and what the election could mean for your industry and your business.
June 09, 2016
Roy Carrasquillo, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Corporate practice group, and Scott Bettridge, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discuss EB-5 reform in Law360.
January 11, 2016
Roy Carrasquillo, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Corporate practice group, and Scott Bettridge, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discuss the benefits of permanently authorizing EB-5 in Law360.
December 01, 2014
On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reform the “broken” immigration system after Congress failed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year. These initiatives have not been implemented, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not accepting any requests or applications at this time. We have been informed that over the next few months, USCIS will issue detailed explanations, instructions, regulations and forms as necessary. While USCIS is not currently accepting requests or applications, anyone who believes that he or she may be eligible for one of the immigration initiatives should prepare by gathering documents that establish his or her: (1) Identity; (2) Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and (3) Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.
January 02, 2014
In the Pro Bono Spotlight, Eric D. Freed discusses his recent case involving a Mauritanian Refugee seeking asylum in the United States to avoid being arrested and imprisoned for a fourth time in his home country. His crime: being active in an opposition political party and speaking at demonstrations supporting equality for black citizens in his country.
May 01, 2013
During Barack Obama’s first term as president, most of his pro-employee legislative agenda was stymied by Congress. Undeterred, the Obama Administration turned to administrative agencies such as the Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to move forward its workplace agenda. The stakes continue to be high for employers during President Obama’s second term, particularly in the diversity-focused areas of equal employment opportunity and immigration.
March 14, 2013
On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form, Form I-9, and a revised Handbook for Employers, M-274. The main changes to the new Form are that it contains further instructions on how to complete the Form I-9 and also expands the Form itself to two pages. Employers should review the revised Handbook and may begin using the new Form I-9 immediately both for new hires and for work authorization reverification. USCIS is allowing employers two months to transition to the new Form I-9, but beginning on May 7, 2013, employers must use the new Form I-9. Employers do not need to complete a new Form I-9 for current employees with a proper I-9 on file.
April 27, 2011
New Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) program. - Immigration Alert! - In a misguided effort to “simplify” the sponsorship process for the employer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has complicated the process further by instituting its new Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) program. VIBE is web-based tool used to confirm company details provided by the petitioner in employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions.
October 01, 2009
We are pleased to present the latest edition of the Labor and Employment Observer. We hope you find this issue both useful and informative.
November 17, 2008
E-Verify for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Required Starting January 15, 2009 - Labor and Employment Alert! - Beginning January 15, 2009, many federal contractors and subcontractors doing work in the United States will have to start using E-Verify. The E-Verify system, previously called “Basic Pilot,” is an automated system administered by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to confirm the employment authorization of employees working in the United States.
February 29, 2008
Our Winter 2008 Labor and Employment Law Observer covers a multitude of topics of interest to in-house counsel, human resource professionals and corporate management. Recently, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, which expands the FMLA to provide enhanced leave for families of military personnel. Additionally, in mid-February 2008, the Department of Labor propounded new proposed regulations regarding the FMLA. Moreover, in late February, the Supreme Court weighed in on the use of ''me too'' evidence during trials.
November 07, 2007
Specifically, in this issue, we examine two topics currently at the forefront of the sports and entertainment industries. First, we explore the ongoing strike between the Writers Guild and the Association of Motion Picture and Televisions Producers. Next, we outline the various immigration issues and options for foreign athletes who seek employment in the United States.
September 01, 2007
Our Fall 2007 Labor and Employment Law Observer covers a multitude of topics of interest to in-house counsel, human resource professionals and corporate management.
March 25, 2020
Scott Bettridge was quoted in The Real Deal discussing the changes in the EB-5 program and how that could have an impact during a pandemic.
November 21, 2019
Scott Bettridge discussed the changes that have taken place regarding the EB-5 investor visa program with the Miami Herald.
November 19, 2019
Cozen O’Connor attorney Elizabeth Olivera, an associate in the firm’s national Labor & Employment practice in Chicago, has been named to the Board of Directors of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA).
November 05, 2019
The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.
August 28, 2019
Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.
June 14, 2019
The Legal 500 United States named Cozen O’Connor’s Aviation, Construction, Immigration, Insurance, and Maritime practices and Cozen O'Connor attorneys Scott Bettridge, Raymond DeLuca, Geoffrey Ferrer, Bruce Ficken, David Heffernan, Jeffrey Lawrence, Robert Magovern, Anne Mickey, and Jeffrey Mullen to its 2019 Legal Guide.
January 09, 2019
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, was quoted in Human Resource Executive discussing the proposed H-1B visa rule.
October 22, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, did a question and answer in Forbes discussing the recent impact on immigration with the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
October 21, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times discussing the recent impact on immigration with the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
October 18, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, was quoted in Politico discussing the recent impact on immigration with the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
October 16, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, spoke with USA Today about the legalization of marijuana across Canada and the widespread fear that U.S. border guards will block Canadians working in the cannabis industry from traveling south into the United States.
August 22, 2018
One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.
January 23, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discussed with Law360 performing an internal audit of your company to prepare for immigration enforcement.
January 05, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, was on KPCC (NPR) radio discussing DACA job permits that expire in March.
October 17, 2017
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration Strategy & Policy Practice, discussed with Law360 the latest immigration enforcement at workplaces.
October 05, 2017
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration Strategy & Policy practice, discusses what employers can do for DACA employees in Refinery29.
August 23, 2017
Lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition based on a rigorous peer-review that has been developed and defined for more than 30 years.
July 14, 2017
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discusses immigration policies to watch in Law360.
July 03, 2017
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discusses the biggest immigration policy developments in 2017 in Law360.
May 05, 2017
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discusses the EB-5 visa program's extension in the Daily Business Review.
February 27, 2017
Scott Bettridge, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, is named to Law360's Immigration Editorial Advisory Board.
February 07, 2017
Scott Bettridge, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discusses how the U.S. investment visa might increase in cost in Barrons.
January 09, 2017
Cozen O’Connor is pleased to welcome a team of three lawyers with extensive immigration experience to the firm’s Miami office.
September 26, 2016
Scott Bettridge, chair of the Immigration practice, discusses how tougher EB-5 rules could follow after the presidential election in Law360.
May 18, 2016
Cozen O'Connor was recognized by Corporate LiveWire in its Global Awards 2016 Winners Guide.
December 13, 2015
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, discusses what the Trump era could mean for business immigration in Law360.
December 10, 2015
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Immigration practice, discusses the latest reforms of the EB-5 Program in the Daily Business Review.