How To Choose The Best Work Visa Lawyer

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Depending on which way the political winds blow, the process of how to get a work visa in the USA varies significantly. Immediately after 9/11, most Americans supported a near-total border closing, and that’s basically what George W. Bush did. Barack Obama eased many of these restrictions. Donald Trump reinstated them, and then some. In fact, during Trump’s tenure, work visa issuance dropped by over 80 percent. The numbers are still unclear for the Biden era, but expect a swing back to the good old days of Barack Obama, or the bad old days, depending on your perspective.

Work visa lawyers typically handle a full range of visas, starting with H-series temporary worker visas, like the H1-B. Usually, the employer starts the application process (sponsorship) and the employee applies for a visa. Most non-immigrant worker visas are valid for between one and three years.

Each year, about 140,000 permanent worker visas (green cards) are available. Most of these visas require a current employment offer from a U.S. Department of Labor-certified employer, who verifies that there are both insufficient workers with this skill set within the United States, and the hiring does not take a job away from a U.S. citizen. People with “extraordinary abilities” get first dibs, followed by degreed professionals, college graduates, and the line goes on.

Clearly, the process for getting into the United States is quite complex. Staying in the United States might be equally complex. The process has so many moving parts that at least one thing almost always goes wrong. A work visa lawyer wears two hats. S/he guides immigrants and employers through the process, and stands up for immigrants and employers if things go sideways.

How to Find the Best Work Visa Lawyer

Work visa lawyers are a curious bunch. Some are pencil-pushers who know a lot about the process but don’t even know where the courthouse is located. Others are advocacy lawyers who know how to litigate cases but barely know how to spell “visa.”

To find a good work visa lawyer who is right down the middle between these two extremes, focus on the following qualities:

  • Experience: Former government immigration lawyers are usually the best work visa lawyers. These attorneys are familiar with the complex process and also know how to win court cases.
  • Dedication: Immigration is a very specialized area. As mentioned, the rules often change pretty much once every four years. Dedicated lawyers not only stay on top of these changes. In many cases, they help shape or fight these changes.
  • Accessibility: Many immigrants and employers feel like they get lost in the shuffle. A good lawyer must be available to answer questions and give comprehensive case updates.

Do not focus on Yelp or other internet reviews. Almost anyone can say almost anything in an online review.

What Does a Work Visa Lawyer Do

A work visa lawyer analyzes your case, expedites the process, and creates firm results expectations.

As mentioned above, work visa sponsors and applicants have multiple options. The ones we listed are just the tip of the iceberg. A good lawyer doesn’t give you what you want. A good lawyer gives you what you need at a fair price.

The visa application process is not the same for everyone. Shortcuts are available here and there. However, a good lawyer also knows how to work within the system and make the system work for clients.

As for firm expectations, no one can guarantee a result. But a good work visa lawyer creates realistic expectations. Green cards are a good example. As mentioned, the government distributes about 160,000 green cards annually. So, they don’t hand them out like candy on Halloween. But a good lawyer sets the odds of obtaining a green card.

How Work Visa Attorneys Can Help

Usually, work immigration visas help clients transition to another kind of visa, overcome visa violation issues, and represent them in overstaying proceedings.

The green card is the most sought-after kind of visa. It’s much less troublesome than other kinds of visas. Additionally, green cards never need renewal, which means holders never have to pay renewal fees. However, direct application isn’t the only way, or even the easiest way, to obtain a green card. So, a temporary visa to green card approach might be better in some cases.

Cerian kinds of criminal convictions could lead to deportation proceedings. We won’t even try to list the rules here. These rules are very complex and subject to change at any time.Criminal defense lawyers should be on top of these rules, but that’s not always the case. So, if you are a noncitizen facing criminal charges, work with an immigration lawyer as well as a criminal defense lawyer.

Overstaying matters are difficult to successfully resolve. However, the government occasionally declares overstaying amnesties. Immigrants might be able to obtain relief based on such a declaration.

When to Hire a Work Visa Lawyer

It’s always a good time to hire a work visa lawyer. Did you expect us to say otherwise? Lawyers help at the beginning, middle, or end of the process.

Most immigrants and employers work with visa lawyers from the start. As mentioned, a lawyer not only knows how the system works. A lawyer knows how to make it work for people.

Most other immigrants and employers hire visa lawyers if the application process stalls. Attorneys often use their professional contacts, and skills, to jumpstart stalled proceedings. Endgame lawyers help avoid unpleasant outcomes. It’s a shame to wait so long, work so hard, and pay so much money to get a visa, only to see things fall apart just short of the finish line.

How Much Does a Work Visa Lawyer Cost

Most immigration lawyers, like most lawyers in general, charge flat fees or hourly rates. Monthly fees, which are a hybrid between flat and hourly fees, are becoming a little more common.

Don’t place too much emphasis on cost. Legal services aren’t washing machines or other items that are all basically the same, so cost is a major factor. You get what you pay for. Inexperienced lawyers are cheaper than experienced lawyers.

What Questions Should I Ask a Work Visa Lawyer

Ask questions about a lawyer’s experience and dedication, as outlined above. If the lawyer doesn’t give direct answers to pointed questions, that’s a bad sign. Knowing the nuts and bolts is not enough. Also ask a lawyer about his/her vision for your case. A lawyer should be able to see the forest as well as the trees.

Why You Need an Immigration Attorney To Help With a Work Visa

We’ve mentioned that a work visa lawyer knows the nuts and bolts of the visa and immigration process. But that may not be the best reason to work with a lawyer. An attorney gives potential immigrants and U.S. employers peace of mind. It feels very good to turn a complex problem over to a professional.

Picture of Bret Thurman

Bret Thurman

Bret is a former lawyer and full-time writer who knows how to simplify complex topics. He received his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. For over twenty years, he handled a wide variety of cases, including criminal defense, personal injury, family law, and consumer bankruptcy.

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