Immigration and Nationality Law

Immigration and Nationality Law

The Hunton & Williams LLP Immigration practice, part of the firm’s Labor and Employment Team, is concentrated in two major areas. First, our work involves advising American and foreign businesses about obtaining the most appropriate temporary and permanent work visas for executives, professionals, and other skilled foreign workers. Careful planning and documentation are necessary to ensure the greatest chance of success. Firm lawyers advise clients on the structure and support necessary for successful applications to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the US Department of State, and other agencies that may be involved in a particular immigration matter. We also represent our clients in any negotiations or administrative proceedings before these agencies that are necessary to achieve the client's objectives. Our advice covers the prevailing wage issues associated with labor condition applications, as well as the advertising and recruiting requirements imposed by state employment agencies and the US Department of Labor for issuance of labor certifications. We also assist employers who wish to obtain permanent immigrant visas for key foreign executives or skilled employees.

We advise our corporate clients on foreign recruiting issues, including developing an educational profile for recruiting purposes to ensure maximum success at the visa stage, advising on educational equivalencies for foreign credentials, and advising on, and troubleshooting issues regarding, visa application procedures at various US consular posts abroad. In addition, we have worked with clients in reviewing and revising contracts with recruiters of foreign workers to ensure maximum visa success while protecting the interests of the clients. We have also advised on, and assisted in obtaining foreign visas for outbound placements.

The firm's immigration practice provides advice to foreign businesses and investors on the requirements for obtaining treaty investor or treaty trader status, and handles visa applications for treaty traders and investors. This status is highly valuable to foreign concerns wishing to place executives and essential personnel in the United States to carry on trade or to manage US investments. Our advice involves such considerations as the size and form of the investment required, the degree to which American firms or investors may also be involved in the operation and the proper ways of utilizing foreign executives in the preliminary stages before the investment reaches qualifying levels.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), businesses located in the three participating countries frequently seek to deploy workers in the other two countries. We have advised businesses throughout North America on immigration procedures necessary to send Canadian and Mexican workers to the United States.

The second major area of our immigration practice is compliance-oriented. Since the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, almost all US employers are obligated to verify the employment authorization of their workforce and generate and retain documentation on the verification process. The firm’s immigration practice provides extensive training and advice for human resource professionals and others on recommended verification procedures. The immigration practice also assists companies faced with Department of Homeland Security investigations related to these verification obligations. In addition, we advise employers on structuring their hiring practices so as to avoid claims of immigration-related unfair employment practices. We follow current litigation and agency policy in the areas of employer sanctions and anti-discrimination and keep clients informed of significant developments in these areas.

The firm’s immigration practice has assisted clients in the following other immigration-related matters:

  • long-term and short-term corporate planning and structure of international personnel transfers, including use of blanket transfer programs
  • representation of clients before legislative and administrative bodies
  • litigation before administrative boards and in the federal courts
  • design of J-1 cultural exchange and training programs and H-3 training programs
  • advice concerning withholding of social security and taxation of foreign nationals in the United States
  • expatriation of US citizens and other loss of nationality issues
  • documentation of acquisition of US citizenship by birth
  • naturalization and advice concerning dual nationality.