Hawaiian coffee farmers have alleged that Kroger has breached a settlement agreement to stop selling falsely labeled “Kona” coffee and urged a Washington federal judge to order the grocery chain to turn over sales records so the farmers can calculate the damages.
In an era of unprecedented immigration enforcement actions, chronic visa backlogs and increased global competition for talent, immigration law has become more crucial than ever to corporate success. Visa status is also critical to those seeking to migrate to and work in the United States, particularly for those who also seek to relocate family.
As Seattle business immigration attorneys, we represent individuals and U.S. and foreign businesses and their workers in all aspects of immigration. We are particularly experienced in the intricacies associated with securing work authorization for critical non-U.S. employees and executives. We help businesses understand the various visa options that may be available for workers so that the best and most expeditious path can be taken.
The lawyers on our Immigration Team are experts in various areas of Immigration law. Nationally recognized for our work in this area, our team also brings a vast diversity of knowledge based on our lived experiences in various countries. With the majority of our Immigration team members being immigrants, we bring an innate understanding of the journey to the US and its myriad trials and tribulations.
In addition to a plethora of languages spoken by other attorneys at the firm, our team of Seattle immigration lawyers speak a combined 6 languages, including: Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Nepali, Spanish, and Urdu.
We also help businesses comply with I-9 regulations, and provide representation in visa challenges, worksite enforcement, I-9 audits, federal hearings, and other complex issues. When mergers and acquisitions are contemplated involving a company with non-US citizen employees on various visas, we assist business clients in identifying and resolving related business immigration matters affecting employees and management. We also assist investors seeking to make an investment in the US, helping them understand the associated visa paths and conditions related to their investment and immigration, as well as the immigration of family members.
Our family-based immigration practice is focused on helping clients secure immigrant and non-immigrant visas for family members. In addition, we also represent clients seeking to Naturalize and acquire US Citizenship, as well as those seeking to renounce their current US Citizenship.
We invite you to contact our immigration attorneys with your visa and immigration needs.
Why Choose Karr Tuttle Campbell?
- Experience. With all immigration matters, it’s critical to identify the best visa path based upon the desired objectives, and thereafter to ensure the presentation of the required documentation associated with that path. Choosing the wrong visa path, failing to provide the required documentation, or failing to comply with other necessary requirements can lead to significant delays (especially in an overly burdened immigration system). With decades of cumulative experience, we’ve successfully helped clients navigate the intricacies of all aspects of immigration law matters.
- Comprehensive Services. From business-related visa processes, to foreign investment considerations, to personal immigration concerns, our clients’ needs are fully covered. Whether it’s the impacts of business transitions like mergers and acquisitions or nuances of the immigration reform and control act, we’re here to guide you.
- Client-Centric Approach. Your needs come first. We work diligently to secure the right documentation for you or your business, and to assist you throughout the immigration process.
As experienced employment visa lawyers and attorneys, we assist employers and their employees through the intricate processes of obtaining employment-based immigration in the U.S.
The employment-based immigration process is complex, with a number of different visa possibilities depending upon matters such as the occupation of the worker, whether the worker is already working for the company in a location outside of the U.S., and whether there is a present U.S. need for the type of worker that a company may wish to bring to the U.S. Additionally, there are often additional documentation that must be secured, such as information about prevailing U.S. wages for certain categories of workers.
We help employers understand the best visa path for their need and assist both employers and employees in all aspects of seeking to secure visas.
The Types of Employment-Based Visas
The type of employment-based visas include:
- B-1: Temporary Visitor for Business
- E-3: Visas for Australian Citizens
- NAFTA Treaty Occupations
- H-1B Visas/H-1B1
- J-1 Waivers
- L-1A /L-1B Visas
- O-1 Visas
- P-1 Visas
Determining Which Visa Will Be the Best for a Given Situation
There is not necessarily only one path for employment-based immigration. In addition to the factors noted above, other factors should be considered, such as whether an employee coming to the U.S. already has family members in the U.S., whether the person may wish to bring a spouse or children, and whether the person may be interested in eventually becoming a U.S. citizen.
We discuss these and other matters with business clients so that we can tailor an immigration strategy to the needs of both employers and workers. It is critical that all such matters be considered at the outset of an immigration case so that potential future problems can be avoided to the extent possible.
Which Professions Qualify for Employment-Based Immigration?
U.S. immigration laws allow individuals to apply for their green cards through various “preference immigrant” categories based on their profession or specific skills. There are primarily four categories. EB-1 petitions can be self-filed, all others MUST complete a multi-step Labor Certification/PERM process.
- First Preference (EB-1). This is designed for priority workers demonstrating exceptional ability in areas like sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. It also caters to outstanding professors or researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.
- Second Preference (EB-2). EB-2 visas target professionals with advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional abilities, including those applying for a national interest waiver.
- Third Preference (EB-3). It includes skilled workers or professionals seeking citizenship or a visa.
- Fourth Preference (EB-4). This is meant for special immigrants such as religious workers, certain retired officers, certain broadcasters, members of the U.S. armed forces, and Afghan or Iraqi translators or interpreters.
If your job title or position doesn’t directly align with these qualifications, contact our experienced immigration attorneys to learn about the best path towards employment-based immigration. In the interim, please click here for more information regarding these matters and other aspects of employ-based immigration.
E-1 and E-2 Visa Attorneys for Investor Visas
Obtaining treaty trader and investor visas requires a deep understanding of both U.S. immigration policy and international trade dynamics. We help foreign investors understand the requirements of investor-based visas and assist them in all aspects of the application process.
The primary investor-based visas consist of:
- E-1 Treaty Trader Visas. The E-1 visa is designated for nationals of treaty countries who engage in substantial international trade with the U.S. Whether you’re importing goods, services, or technology, our team can ensure that your E-1 visa application showcases the depth and breadth of your trade activities.
- E-2 Treaty Investor Visas. For those looking to invest significantly in a U.S. enterprise, the E-2 visa offers a pathway. As E-2 visa attorneys, we help investor clients present compelling investment plans highlighting the required matters (such as the investment significance, source of funds, and proposed operating matters).
How We Can Support Your E-1 and E-2 Visa Needs:
- Comprehensive Application Assistance. From gathering the necessary documentation to drafting persuasive narratives concerning investment matters, we develop compelling and comprehensive immigration applications.
- Renewal and Extension Guidance. E-visas, while renewable, require meticulous upkeep of records and timely renewals. Our team advises clients on these matters and assists in renewals.
- Representation in Complex Scenarios: Whether it’s a change in investment, business restructuring, or other significant event, we help clients in seeking to minimize or avoid the ancillary impacts on visa statuses.
With decades of collective practice, our investment visa attorneys provide experienced counsel in treaty trader and investor visa matters. From initial consultation through visa prosecution, we seek to ensure that client U.S. investment business objectives can be realized.
EB-5 Investor Visas
The EB-5 visa pathway is designed for individuals committed to making significant investments in new, for-profit U.S. enterprises. In addition to the primary investor, accompanying spouses and unmarried children under 21 can also secure residency in association with this visa.
Key Aspects of the EB-5 Visa include:
- Investment Amount. A capital investment of at least $1.05 million is required, which can be reduced to $800,000 if the project is situated in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or approved regional centers.
- Investment Forms. Capital can encompass cash, equipment, inventory, and other tangible assets.
- Job Creation. The investment must lead to the direct creation of a minimum of 10 new jobs for U.S. workers within two years. If channeled through a regional center, indirect job creation is also considered.
- Conditional Residency. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants a two-year conditional permanent residence. Past this period, investors must validate that all criteria have been met to transition to permanent residence.
An EB-5 visa can be advantageous for a number of reasons, including:
- Global Prestige. Attain residency in the United States.
- Unrestricted Employment. No sponsorship is required, and the visa holder will have the freedom to work anywhere in the U.S. for any employer.
- Family Benefits. Immediate family members can also work in the U.S. in their chosen field.
- Return on Investment. Beyond residency, there is the potential for a monetary return on the holder’s investment.
- Pathway to Citizenship. After 5 years, an individual may be eligible for U.S. citizenship.
For comprehensive assistance and inquiries regarding the EB-5 program, contact our experienced EB-5 attorneys to learn more about pursuing this citizenship pathway.
EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY (EB-1A)
The Extraordinary Ability category is one of the fastest methods for obtaining an employment-based visa because there is no requirement for a PERM Labor Certification, or a job offer from a U.S.-based employer. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have won a Nobel prize in order to qualify for this visa. The criteria though can be daunting, especially for someone early in their professional career.
Preparing an EB-1 petition is an intensive process. It is crucial that you have a knowledgeable team to assist to help put together a strong petition for the best chance of success.
OUTSTANDING PROFESSOR OR RESEARCHER (EB-1B)
This category also does not require the PERM Labor Certification, but applicants must be sponsored by a qualifying U.S. employer offering them permanent employment. The criteria can also be very difficult to meet as it takes years to build the experience (3 years minimum) and evidence.
MULTINATIONAL EXECUTIVES AND MANAGERS (EB-1C)
This category also requires a sponsoring U.S. employer but has different criteria than EB-1A and EB-1B. Beneficiaries are either an executive or manager and must have been employed in an overseas company in this capacity for at least one of the preceding three years of employment. The U.S. company must be related to the overseas company; typically, as a branch or subsidiary.
EB-2 NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER (NIW)
National Interest Waiver:
Individuals eligible for national interest waiver (NIW) classification may enjoy substantial advantages in the green card process. While they may skip the labor certification process normally required of their employers, they must have an offer of employment from a U.S. organization and must meet the broadly worded, but strictly enforced, NIW criteria.
NIW applicants must demonstrate threshold EB-2 eligibility either by holding an advanced degree or possessing exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Evidence of exceptional ability includes appropriate lesser degrees, employment verification letters, favorable salary history, licenses, associational memberships, professional recognitions, and/or awards.
The more challenging set of NIW criteria is the extensive evidence required to show that the individual’s work will be in the “national interest” of the U.S. Specifically, the individual’s work: (a) must have substantial intrinsic merit; (b) must be national in scope; and (c) must be such that the national interest would be adversely affected by testing the labor market, through labor certification, to find a U.S. worker with the minimum qualifications for the position.
Factors vital to the success of a NIW case include evidence the individual’s personal work will accomplish any of the following: improve the U.S. economy, wages, and/or working conditions; improve educational and training programs for U.S. children and/or under-qualified workers; provide more affordable housing for young, aged, or poor U.S. residents; improve the U.S. environment and lead to more productive use of the national resources; and/or directly benefit an interested U.S. government agency.
Available to persons with an advanced degree, or of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business and requiring neither a job offer nor labor certification, this avenue to permanent resident status does require establishing that that applicant will engage in work which is in the “national interest” of the United States as documented by extensive and strong evidence. An immigrant visa petition and a request for a waiver of the labor certification requirement under this category must include at least three of the following:
- Evidence that the applicant has an advanced degree from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability.
- Evidence in the form of letters from current or former employers showing that the applicant has at least ten years of full-time experience in the field for which he or she is being sought.
- A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession.
- Evidence that the applicant has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services which demonstrate exceptional ability.
- Evidence of membership in professional associations.
- Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to industry or the applicant’s field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.
Revised Guidelines for STEM Graduates
USCIS on January 21, 2022, announced a revision of the applicable standard of review for National Interest Waiver applications by graduates with a US degree in Science Technology Engineering or Math (STEM).
Per the revised guidelines, Individuals seeking a national interest waiver must show evidence of an advanced degree or exceptional ability and must also meet three factors that USCIS uses to determine, in its discretion, whether it is in the national interest that USCIS waive the requirement of a job offer, and thus the labor certification. The three factors USCIS considers for a national interest waiver are whether:
- The person’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
- The person is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
- It would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and thus the permanent labor certification requirements.
The O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means it is a temporary visa and does not lead to a green card. The criteria can be daunting as it requires successful applicants to meet a minimum of three out of ten listed criteria. Working with a team with a history of success in securing O-1 will be hugely beneficial to your application.
I-9 Compliance and Audits
I-9 and Immigration Compliance Representation:
I-9 compliance can be a daunting task for many businesses. We recognize the importance of ensuring that employers adhere to U.S. employment eligibility verification processes.
Every U.S. employer must have a completed Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on file for every person hired. This form verifies the identity and employment authorization of individuals, both citizens and non-citizens. Non-compliance can result in significant penalties, ranging from financial fines to criminal charges in severe cases.
We help employers design and maintain a system of Immigration compliance which includes helping employers prepare for immigration-related worksite visits by developing and implementing vigorous compliance policies, auditing their I-9s and H-1B public access files, and planning how to respond when immigration agents visit. More specifically, we can support your I-9 and Immigration Compliance needs through:
- Proactive Compliance. Avoiding potential pitfalls starts with a proactive approach. We help businesses understand their I-9 obligations and develop compliance programs.
- Training and Workshops. We offer customized training sessions for HR teams and managers to understand, manage, and stay updated with I-9 requirements.
- Audits and Reviews. Our team conducts meticulous I-9 audits, ensuring that all forms are correctly filled, updated, and stored as per legal requirements.
- Representation in Enforcement Actions. Should your business face scrutiny from government agencies, as experienced Seattle I-9 lawyers we can represent and defend your interests in audits, hearings, and enforcement actions.
- .Social Security No Match Letters. The Social Security Administration (SSA) often issues so-called “no-match letters” to employers, advising that certain Social Security Numbers (SSN) provided by employees do not match the names of the individuals that SSA has on file for such numbers. We advise clients on how to respond when No Match letters are received.
- Fraud Detection and National Security (FNDS) Site Inspections. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) FDNS unit regularly conducts UNANNOUNCED site inspections to the location of the employer where the employer(S) indicated a foreign national would be working. Companies should have a plan of action in place concerning how to respond in the event of an unannounced inspection.
KTC attorneys on their own and through partnership with other law firms have filed multiple Mandamus cases challenging lengthy delays in adjudication of various petitions pending at USCIS. We have also been integral parties to major class action lawsuits against USCIS.
Mandamus Delay Litigation: KTC has experience in successfully challenging undue delays in processing various Immigration based petitions. Most of our Mandamus work has been related to I-526 (EB-5 Investor visa delay cases), but the firm has the experience you need to assist with reviewing and creating a successful strategy to win litigation against USCIS or the Department of State on various Immigration matters.
Shergill v. Mayorkas. Kripa Upadhyay acted as counsel on this major class action lawsuit.
Which provides structural changes for nonimmigrant H-4 and L-2 spouses suffering from long delayed processing times for the processing of applications for employment authorization.
The litigation successfully achieved the reversal of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy that prohibited H-4 spouses from benefiting from automatic extension of their employment authorization during the pendency of standalone employment authorization document (EAD) applications. Although this is a giant achievement, the parties’ agreement will further result in a massive change in position for USCIS, which now recognizes that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorization incident to status, meaning these spouses of executive and managers will no longer have to apply for employment authorization prior to working in the United States.
Bajaj v. Blinken: Kripa Upadhyay assisted as counsel on this major class litigation that was filed at the US Federal Court for the Western District of Washington in February 2022. This lawsuit challenged the US Department of State with failure to process EB-5 applications. In 2019, the US Congress failed to reauthorize the EB-5 program. That lapse meant no Regional Center could accept new investors until the program was reauthorized. The Department of State wrongly chose to misapply the law and stopped all previously approved I-526 petitions from being able to move ahead with their consular processing/visa process.
This lawsuit was filed challenging the Department of State’s application of the law. Eventually this was withdrawn as Congress reauthorized the EB-5 program via its passage of the Reform and Integrity Act Bill of 2022.
Our Global Resources in Complex Immigration Matters
In today’s rapidly globalizing business landscape powered by technological advancements, companies are increasingly looking beyond their borders to expand and tap into international markets and talent. Yet diving into global waters requires more than just ambition; it demands a nuanced understanding of diverse cultural and legal landscapes.
Based in Seattle with a global footprint, we bridge this gap. Our extensive network of affiliations across the world equips us to navigate intricate immigration matters seamlessly, ensuring your business thrives wherever it ventures. Drawing from our rich legacy in immigration law and our collaborations with global immigration and corporate law experts, we’re positioned uniquely to guide both corporations and individuals in their global aspirations. Trust Karr Tuttle Campbell to be your compass in the complex world of international business and immigration.
Law Firm Alliance
Through KTC’s affiliation and involvement in the Law Firm Alliance, our Immigration team has the unique ability to work closely with immigration experts at law firms across the globe to achieve swift and expert advise and services for our clients.
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