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Real Hope and Solutions for the Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Worker in Today’s U.S. Economy

The operative phrase in today’s economy is “Have a Plan”.  And yes, that includes all our foreign national working clients on various types of work visas.

This short article will generally explore three options to consider as an immigrant or non-immigrant worker in the United States in light of current economic conditions. As we are caught in an economy which has turned upside down and continues to plunge toward uncertainty, this article focuses on ways to be proactive and reactive to job loss or job instability in order to preserve your immigration status for the long run.

Take Steps to Bridge your Status Now

If  it’s not an option for you or your family to voluntarily leave or be removed from the United States in the event of possible job loss, it is  wise to seek guidance about bridging your status.  Bridging one’s status is needed in the event of job loss and/or company insolvency.  We generally suggest the following to clients:

1. Canadian Immigration.  Beginning a process of  temporary or permanent “immigrating to Canada” has several advantages, all of which will not be discussed here.  Canada has a relatively similar and comfortable standard of living while one figures out how and if they can return or remain in the United States.  Our law firm has Canadian counsel on our staff to assist clients in this area.  There are many other firms who have Canadian counsel ready to assist as well.  Canada is next door neighboors with the United States which allows you to move back and forth while a particularU.S.  immigration solution is being explored and procesed on behalf of your family.

2. Opening your own business. Never before has there been a greater need for innovation and the creation of jobs in the United States.  If you have ever considered opening a business in the United States, don’t wait until you lose your job to get your business plan together.  There are many technical immigration issues surrounding a foreign national opening a business in the United States. Consulting an immigration attorney is essential.  However, it is possible to port for instance an H-1B visa or I-140 to your own start up business and hence maintain or bridge your status in the United States.

3. Look For a New Employer. It is important to be proactive in seeking possible new employers and opportunties.

So you hear that your company has filed for Chapter 11 or 7 Bankruptcy today.  Do you ride the sinking ship, and hope it dosen’t sink?  Well at times, that may be appropriate. However, our firm strongly recommends that you start building your personal brand with Linked In and FaceBook long before any such announcement by your company.  Also, networking in small business groups such as Business Network International (BNI), other types of creative networking, and more traditional approaches such as posting your resume on Monster is key.  Overall, a foreign national must be as creative and innovative as possible in finding a new company to sponsor their visa.  Especially considering the time and money expense involved in the immigration process, employers are thinking twice.

Seek Alternative Immigration Counsel from your Current due to Conflicts in Dual Representation

It is important to understand the concept of dual representation.  Currently if an employee and employer are being represented by one attorney, they have agreed to be “united” in their interests.  If an employee decides they now need to seek altneratives to their existing employer, there is no longer a “united” interest on all fronts.  Therefore, the employee will need to confidentially seek their own independent immigration counsel to review their situation and discuss the legal issues and complexities to be addressed in making a proactive employment plan as it relates to immigration.

As we have witnessed many of our clients placed in very difficult situations due to lay offs and company instability we hope we have provided some valuable insight for our foreign nationals.

Glendia Mondesir, Attorney-at-law from Washington D.C.


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