Immigration Shifts 2019: Prep & Resources for Startups | Summary and Q&A

January 21, 2019
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Immigration Shifts 2019: Prep & Resources for Startups


Immigration is a key aspect of retention strategy for companies, but many struggle due to lack of experience and knowledge. Trends such as the H-1B and RFE issue, shutdown, and changes in immigration policies will impact the work landscape and require companies to be prepared. Implementing solid immigration programs, considering alternative visa options, and staying updated on policy changes can help companies navigate the challenges in the immigration process.

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Key Insights

  • 🖤 Immigration is a crucial element of a retention strategy for companies, but the lack of experience and knowledge can present challenges.
  • 💦 The H-1B visa and RFE issue, government shutdown, and changes in immigration policies are current trends affecting the work landscape.
  • 😀 Alternative visa options, such as STEM OPT, O-1 visas, treaty-based visas, L-1 visas, and placing employees outside the US should be considered when facing H-1B challenges.
  • 💦 Implementing solid immigration programs, staying updated on policy changes, and working with trusted immigration firms can help companies navigate the immigration process.


all right thank you for the opportunity to speak everyone it's a pleasure to be here and before we really jump into the materials I wanted to give a little bit of an introduction about Hendrik and I so before I am a partner Hendrik and I were actually corporate immigration attorneys at a big immigration firm where we worked with hundreds of compani... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is immigration considered important for retention strategy?

Immigration allows companies to attract and retain employees by providing the opportunity for employees to start their green card process. It also allows employees to have dual intent, meaning they can be on the green card process while still on an H-1B visa.

Q: What are some alternatives to the H-1B visa?

Alternatives to the H-1B visa include STEM OPT, O-1 visas for individuals with extraordinary abilities, treaty-based visas for individuals from specific countries, L-1 intra-company transferee visas, and placing employees outside the US. Each alternative has its own requirements and benefits.

Q: How can companies navigate the H-1B and RFE issue?

To navigate the H-1B and RFE issue, companies should focus on providing detailed job descriptions that clearly demonstrate that the position is a specialty occupation. They should also consider wage levels and the need to prove the company's ability to pay the offered wages. Staying updated on policy changes and working with a trusted immigration firm can also help.

Q: What potential changes should companies be aware of in the immigration landscape?

Companies should stay updated on potential changes to immigration policies, such as the proposed rule change for pre-registration in the H-1B cap lottery and changes in the allocation of H-1B visa slots for individuals with master's degrees. Additionally, the H-4 EAD program and STEM OPT may face potential changes or elimination.


In this video, the speakers discuss various immigration trends and challenges that companies may face. They emphasize the importance of immigration as a tool for attracting and retaining employees and offer insights into the H-1B and RFE issue. They also discuss alternatives to the H-1B and the impact of the government shutdown on immigration processes. The speakers provide tips for improving immigration programs and compliance, including the need for detailed job descriptions and wage level selection. They also highlight the importance of having a trusted immigration law firm and dedicating resources to internal immigration policies.

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is immigration important for companies?

Immigration is important for companies because it can be used as a tool to attract and retain employees. By having a solid immigration program, companies can effectively recruit foreign talent and signal their commitment to supporting employees throughout the immigration process.

Q: How does the government shutdown affect immigration processes?

The government shutdown does not have a significant impact on immigration processes. USCIS and the Department of State, which handle immigration applications and fees, remain open and continue processing cases. However, some cases may experience delays if they involve programs or agencies that receive government funding and are currently shuttered.

Q: What is an RFE?

An RFE stands for Request for Evidence. It is a document that USCIS issues after reviewing an immigration application. It typically asks for additional information or documentation to support the application. Responding to an RFE is crucial to ensure the application's approval.

Q: What are the challenges related to specialty occupation and wage levels?

One challenge is proving that a position qualifies as a specialty occupation, meaning it requires at least a bachelor's degree. Detailed job descriptions are important to address this challenge. Another challenge is selecting the appropriate wage level for a position, as it affects the likelihood of approval. It is crucial to align the job duties with the selected wage level to avoid discrepancies.

Q: What alternatives exist to the H-1B visa?

There are several alternatives to the H-1B visa, depending on the individual's qualifications and circumstances. Some alternatives include STEM OPT, O-1 visa for individuals with extraordinary abilities, and E-3 visa for Australians. It is important to understand the specific requirements and restrictions of each alternative visa option.

Q: How can companies improve their immigration programs?

Companies can improve their immigration programs by developing detailed job descriptions that align with the selected wage levels. They should also establish consistent job banks to ensure continuity and increase efficiency. It is essential to have a dedicated internal resource to handle immigration policies, in addition to working with a trusted immigration law firm.

Q: What impact does compliance have on companies?

Compliance is crucial, especially under the Trump administration's increased scrutiny. Non-compliance can lead to government investigations, audits, and potential consequences for the company. Staying up-to-date with compliance requirements and maintaining accurate records can help companies avoid unnecessary difficulties and ensure the smooth running of their immigration programs.


Improving immigration programs requires attention to detail, such as crafting detailed job descriptions and selecting appropriate wage levels. Dedication of internal resources and working with a trusted immigration law firm can further enhance program efficiency. Monitoring and ensuring compliance is essential to avoid penalties and complications. By considering alternative visa options and staying informed of immigration trends and challenges, companies can better navigate the immigration landscape and attract and retain top talent.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Corporate immigration attorneys highlight the importance of immigration as a retention strategy for companies.

  • They discuss the current trends affecting the work landscape, including the H-1B and RFE issue and the government shutdown.

  • The attorneys provide insights into alternative visa options and discuss potential changes in immigration policies.

  • They emphasize the need for companies to implement strong immigration programs and provide solid to-do items to improve immigration programs.

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