What everyone at a startup needs to know about immigration

The immigration process in the U.S. has become a high-stakes undertaking for employers, workers, and entrepreneurs. Predictability has eroded. Processing times have soared. And any mistake or misstep now has dire consequences.

Over the past three years, immigration policies and procedures have been in a state of flux and the process has become more unforgiving for even the smallest mistakes. Putting your best foot forward is crucial. Employers and individuals need to formulate a long-term strategy and backup options to stay protected.

The increase in Requests for Evidence and the backlog for many visa and green card categories has meant longer waiting times. What’s more, the Trump administration’s recent decision to close all USCIS’s international offices—and shift that workload back to the U.S.—is expected to compound the backlogs and delays.

We are seeing these issues affect startups every day. My law firm works with hundreds of startups every year to help them and their employers figure out their immigration paperwork. The overall piece of advice we give is to decide on a specific goal based on a deep understanding of the company and the individual and by examining the options strategically.

Then, you can figure out the right approach for a visa, green card, or citizenship application. Regardless of my personal interest in the matter, now more than ever, I recommend consulting with an experienced immigration attorney who can handle the process with integrity, creativity, compassion, and rigor.

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What employers should know

The new normal for immigration means increased employee recruiting and retention costs for employers. However, hiring immigrants remains possible.