The accelerating pace of economic globalization demands and fosters a borderless labor market. Businesses of every size retain employees in locations around the world and need employees who are internationally mobile. A company based in the United States may have engineers in India, marketers in Paris and sales staff in Canada. This ability to operate transnationally is fundamental to the growth of businesses and to the career advancement of individual workers.
But in this era of heightened security risks and geopolitical turmoil, cross-border movement is not simple. Immigration is a heavily regulated activity and subject to time-consuming evaluation by federal and international officials. Cozen O’Connor’s immigration attorneys are focused on identifying strategies that protect clients and enable the timely pursuit of business opportunities wherever they arise.
Cozen O’Connor advises multinational corporations, domestic companies, nonprofit institutions, investors, and individuals about visas, permanent residency, work permits, intra-company transfers, hiring of foreign nationals, citizenship requirements, regulatory compliance and other immigration matters. Whether arranging a green card for a senior executive, obtaining visas for the families of foreign nationals stationed in the U.S., or assessing a company’s I-9 compliance program, Cozen O’Connor’s immigration attorneys are known for their efficiency and practicality. Our immigration team works closely with our colleagues in corporate law, labor and employment, family law, tax, and litigation to provide truly comprehensive advice and workable solutions.
Our immigration lawyers understand the frustration businesses and individuals often experience when dealing with immigration matters. The laws are opaque, the bureaucracy is unwieldy, and there is an element of arbitrariness that can be unsettling. We cut through the confusion by communicating clearly and frequently with clients, explaining the relevant laws and regulations in plain terms, and providing translation resources to foreign nationals. Cozen O’Connor’s immigration team also leverages its professional relationships with officials in key government agencies to achieve positive outcomes as quickly as possible.
Arrange for nonimmigrant visas:
TN-1 Canadian Worker Visa; H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa; H-1B Computer Related Occupations Visa; H-2 Temporary Worker Visa; H-3 Trainee Visa; J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa; L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa; O-1 Extraordinary Ability in the Arts Visa; E-1/E-2 Treaty Traders and Investors
Arrange for immigrant visas:
Employment Based First Preference (EB-1-1) (Aliens of Extraordinary Ability); Employment Based First Preference (EB-1-2) (Outstanding Researchers and Professors); Multinational Executives and Managers (EB-1-2-3); Employment Based Second Preference (EB-2); Employment Based Third Preference (EB-3); Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5)
Represent clients in immigration matters before the Department of Labor, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration Board of Appeals, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review
Advocate for immigration clients in federal and state courts
File discrimination claims under the Immigration Reform and Control Act
Invoke clients’ employment rights under Treaties of Friendship Commerce and Navigation
Counsel clients on employment verification compliance, including I-9 audits
Design and implement remedial programs to ensure immigration regulation compliance
Analyze the immigration aspects of corporate decisions, including mergers and acquisitions
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.
November 06, 2013
It would be almost impossible to purchase or start a company in the United States from abroad without being able to visit or bring from abroad key personnel. U.S. immigration laws are among the most complex in the world. Acquiring or investing firms should address immigration issues early in the process, and remain vigilant about immigration concerns throughout the transaction. Changes in an employee’s personal or professional circumstances often will require a change in visa status. U.S. laws place a heavy burden on employers who can be vulnerable to severe penalties, including hefty fines and imprisonment, should they find themselves on the wrong side of the immigration laws.
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.
February 25, 2011
The Wonder Widget Company, or WW as it likes to be called, is the largest exporter in the United States. As part of its sales promotion, WW often invites its foreign customers to visit its facility in York, Pennsylvania, to view its production process. WW also likes to invite foreign university faculty and post-graduate engineering students to work at its facility temporarily to assist in the creation of new product lines. While WW considers itself to be a responsible exporter that follows all export laws and regulations, it is not aware of the “deemed export” rule which states that an export of technology is “deemed” to take place when it is released to a foreign national within the United States. §734.2(b)(2)(ii) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). This covers all technology produced by WW which requires an export license under the EARs. For example, certain materials, chemicals, electronics, computers, telecommunications and information security equipment, among other categories, require export licenses under the EAR.
February 25, 2011
Revisions to the Form I-129 - Immigration Alert! - The USCIS recently made significant revisions to the Form I-129, which is used in employer-based petitions, such as H-1B and L-1 petitions. The form now includes a “Certification Regarding the Release of Controlled Technology or Technical Data to Foreign Persons in the United States.”
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.
July 22, 2009
Immigration Compliance Complexities - Human Resources Executive Online - Never an easy problem to begin with, immigration compliance continues to be ever more
complex and difficult.
Just this month, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would rescind its
No-Match rule, which required the Social Security Administration to notify employers
when employee Social Security numbers do not match data in the SSA database.
February 09, 2009
Rule Requiring E-Verify for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Delayed Once More to May 21, 2009 - Labor and Employment Alert! -
February 02, 2009
Update on New I-9 Form: Implementation Delayed to April 3, 2009 - Labor and Employment Alert! - The United States Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS) announced on January 30th that
the implementation of the revised I-9 form has been delayed 60 days to April 3, 2009. The revised form (with edition date 02/02/09) was scheduled to go into effect today, February 2nd. The extension gives the public an additional 30 days—to March 4, 2009— to comment on the rule that revises the new form. The USCIS states that the delay will also provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
January 30, 2009
New I-9 Form Required Starting February 2nd, 2009 - Labor and Employment Alert! - On January 12, 2009, the United States Citizenship
and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a statement
that the effective date of the rule requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify has been delayed to February 20th, 2009. After that date, most federal contractors and subcontractors doing work in the United States
will have to start using E-Verify to confirm the employment authorization of employees working in the country. Currently,
January 20, 2009
How Will Obama Administration Impact Immigration? - Law.com - There has been much speculation over the new administration's impact in 2009, but the immigration debate seems to have taken a backseat. With the economic crises and the Iraq war to contend with, many say that President Barack
Obama will have his hands full, and immigration reform will just have to wait. But, it cannot. An outdated system causing business and individuals undue financial, legal and emotional hardship needs repair.
January 13, 2009
Rule Requiring E-Verify for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Delayed to February 20, 2009 - Labor and Employment Alert! - On January 12, 2009, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a statement that the effective date of the rule requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify has been delayed to February 20th, 2009. After that date, most federal contractors and subcontractors doing work in the United States will have to start using E-Verify to confirm the employment
authorization of employees working in the
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.
January 01, 2008
Foreign Nationals And the Unfair Employment Practices Claims - The Corporate Counselor - Today, a great number of U.S. companies will hire foreign national workers, scrupulously check work authorization, and maintain heightened
awareness about the potential for race/nationality claims. Gone are the days when only a limited number of multinational corporations had to deal with foreign labor issues. Far from being a remote consideration for
organizations, complying with the nation’s immigration laws and avoiding liabilty are of growing concern.
November 26, 2007
Thirty-Day Deadline For Implementing New I-9 Form - Labor and Employment Alert! - The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in a Federal Register notice today that employers have exactly 30 days to transition to the new I-9 Employment Verification form. By Wednesday, December 26, 2007,employers must use the revised I-9 form and instructions for new hires. There is no requirement that existing I-9 forms for current employees be replaced with the new version of the form. However, employers must be sure to use
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 26, 2007
Law On Hiring of Illegals Is Merely A Band-Aid Fix - philly.com -
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.
July 20, 2007
Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Numbers Available Again Until August 17, 2007 - Labor and Employment Alert - 7/19/2007 - On July 17, 2007, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated that
it would be accepting I-485 adjustment applications for employment-based categories
according to the original July 2007 Visa Bulletin (dated June 12, 2007). Likewise, the Department of State announced that the June 12, 2007 Visa Bulletin would be reinstated. See
May 30, 2007
Workplace Enforcement Raids - Is Your Business Next? - Workforce Management - Work-site raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been steadily increasing nationwide. Employers must learn what the immigration laws expect of them so as to avoid being the next target.
May 29, 2007
Immigration Reform Bill - No Grand Bargain At All - The National Law Journal -