Document Procurement, Legalization and Apostille
Immigration processes frequently require companies and their employees to provide a dizzying array of vital records and other personal and corporate documents, many of which must be authenticated via legalization or apostille before they will be accepted as legally valid by foreign governments. This can include birth certificates, marriage certificates, university diplomas and transcripts, criminal records, corporate certificates of good standing and much more. We help clients procure these documents, and we can also facilitate apostille or legalization so that they will be recognized and accepted in foreign countries. We can handle local, state and federal level authentications in the United States, as well as authentications in many other countries, and can process matters on an expedited basis. We also assist with correction of vital records, most often for use in the Italian Citizenship process. This includes working with vital records authorities to document and correct inaccuracies that often exist in documents that are 50+ years old. Note that the correction process can be very difficult and slow, and sometimes involves bringing suit against vital records agencies that are unwilling to make necessary corrections.
Are you assigning employees to work in a foreign country either on a temporary or long-term basis? Or planning to hire foreign nationals? These employees may need work visas, work permits and/or residence permits before they can begin work or even travel to the destination country. It can take many weeks or even months to obtain the necessary visas and permits. Advance planning is crucial in order to ensure the assignment or new hire goes smoothly and is not delayed by immigration requirements and bureaucratic red tape. We can pre-assess candidates to ensure that they qualify for the necessary visas and permits. And once eligibility is confirmed, we walk the company and the employee through each step of the immigration process, providing detailed process overviews so that everyone knows what to expect from the start. We offer a simple solution for global immigration matters as we have a US-based legal team capable of handling immigration matters worldwide. We partner with our clients to help them get key talent where they need it when they need it.
Do your employees travel internationally for business meetings or other short-term activities? Do you know whether they need visas to do so? US citizens require visas to travel to China, India, Russia, and Vietnam, amongst other destinations, and citizens of other countries require visas for many more jurisdictions. We help to make the often confusing and bureaucratic process of obtaining business visas easy for you and your employee by walking you through each step in the process, and can often eliminate the need for the employee to have to go to the consulate themselves. Unlike travel agents and visa agencies, as a law firm we can also minimize risk to the employer by ensuring that the employee is obtaining the correct visa type for the activities they will engage in while traveling.
Strategy and Compliance
Are you opening an office or acquiring an entity in a foreign country? Or perhaps you need to increase staffing due to a particular project or client demand and are considering hiring foreign nationals to meet the need? In any of these scenarios, having a simple, effective immigration strategy is key to avoid either delays in on-boarding employees or accidental unauthorized employment scenarios. Key considerations may include:
Opening a new office – We work closely with the corporate team charged with incorporating the legal entity, as in most countries it is crucial that a legal entity be fully established (often with a physical office and local staff) before foreign employees may be brought in. Where this is not possible, we can explore a variety of alternatives, including sole representative and investor options.
Acquiring an entity in a foreign country – We work closely with the legal and business teams charged with carrying out the acquisition to ensure that the company being acquired has the proper visas and permits for key staff, as well as to identify and mitigate any negative impact a change in ownership may have on existing visas and permits.
Increase in staffing – Many countries limit the number or percentage of employees that can be foreign nationals, while others require companies to apply for advance permission for quotas or slots before being able to file individual visa applications. Some countries also require companies to comply with very specific labor market testing requirements (including posting adverts on certain websites for a specified number of days) to demonstrate that they have first attempted to recruit qualified local workers before offering the position to a foreign national. It is crucial that any such requirements are followed exactly or the immigration process may need to be restarted, delaying a new employee’s start date by weeks or even months.
Over the past ten years countries around the world have increased both the complexity of their immigration rules and their focus on compliance and enforcement mechanisms. Coupled with a rise in the use of portals and other technology systems, companies are increasingly finding that there is very little room for error when it comes to immigration compliance. Where companies once were able to gamble with immigration compliance by hoping that they would not be the target of an (uncommon) immigration site inspection, countries are now increasingly automating compliance checks such that detection of non-compliance is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
In this environment, having a system in place to ensure that the company is compliant with immigration rules is essential. But often HR professionals are burdened with the task of ensuring compliance, in addition to their myriad other duties. We partner with our clients to help them implement and streamline immigration compliance systems and procedures so that they no longer have to worry about fines or business disruptions that can result from coming out on the wrong side of the immigration rules.
US Immigration Law Firm Collaboration
As we do not practice US immigration law but instead specialize exclusively in global/non-US immigration law, we are frequently called on to partner with US immigration law firms to provide global services to their clients. We are able to work closely with US attorneys to provide a seamless service to their clients by sharing information, process overviews and checklists. Because we are a boutique firm with a single point of contact model for all global cases, we are able to accommodate protocols and processes that a client may already have in place with their trusted US counsel. We are happy to provide centralized billing for all global matters either to the US law firm, or directly to the end client. If you are a US attorney whose corporate clients have asked you about immigration assistance outside the US, or if you are interested in being able to offer global services to your clients, please feel free to reach out to us to discuss.