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Business Immigration

September 12, 2012

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Kevin N. Summers

DREAM Act … Obama Order … Doesn’t matter if you fall left or right of center, immigration affects all of us, particularly businesses, with challenges and opportunities.

The world is indeed flat. Most businesses are facing the globalization of their industry, and thus have an increasing need in employing foreigners in their U.S. operations. Auto suppliers, for example, are either under pressure to expand their own operations with other countries, or they are faced with servicing customers that are becoming more global in their operations.

Designing and selling products tailored to one country’s requirements is an obsolete practice. As businesses expand across national boundaries, even closely-held companies find they increasingly need to employ foreigners to fulfill their needs. Whether the U.S. employer’s goal is to obtain the expertise of someone employed in a foreign subsidiary, or to employ a foreigner in an occupation where no U.S. workers are available, this type of need is growing. It has become increasingly important to find methods of filling these positions in an acceptable time frame, to avoid interruption in business activities.

The visa system is the technique set up by law to govern who is and is not entitled to enter, reside and work in the United States. There are basically two major categories – the permanent class and the temporary class.

The temporary class is for people that want to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis. People eligible for this class receive “nonimmigrant visas” because they are not coming to the U.S. on a permanent basis, and thus are not immigrants. Nonimmigrant visas come in a variety of types, and each one has different privileges associated with it. They may be issued for specific purposes, such as vacation, education or employment. Most foreign individuals working in the U.S. begin with a temporary non-immigrant visa.

The permanent class is officially called permanent residence. Those who become permanent residents of the U.S. are given Alien Registration Receipt Cards, most commonly known as a “green card”. A green card holder has the right to live and work permanently in the U.S., and may eventually decide to become a U.S. citizen.

Obtaining authorization for foreigners to work in the U.S. requires finding an appropriate category of visa or an exception to the requirements of having a visa. It is very much a selection process that depends on the facts of an employer’s needs, the timing involved, and the qualifications of the prospective worker.

We routinely handle all non-immigrant visa petitions, all change of status petitions from one visa category to another, all green card petitions and all applications for U.S. citizenship. We also handle issues relating to entry into the U.S. at the Detroit border.