Erin Elliott, Managing Attorney, Elliott Immigration LawErin Elliott, Managing Attorney
In an ideal world, the right combination of skills, education, and work experience would be sufficient credentials for workers from across the globe to land an employment-based immigrant visa in the U.S. And if lucky, even live here permanently with a Green Card. Nothing could be more far from the truth! In reality, the process of immigration, be it for an employee or an employer, is as challenging as it can be.

To paint a better picture, let’s delve into the events of 2020. The former U.S. President, Donald Trump signed an executive order to freeze the distribution of green cards and temporary worker visas, namely the H-1B, H-2B, J and L, through the end of the year—citing the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment in the U.S. Witnessing quite the backlash on these rules, the newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden proposed “The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021” which “clears employment-based visa backlogs, recaptures unused visas, reduces lengthy wait times, and eliminates per-country visa caps.” The bill makes it easier for graduates of U.S. universities with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the country, improve access to green cards for workers in lower-wage sectors, and eliminate other unnecessary hurdles for employment-based green cards.

As good an initiative as this is, several issues still go unaddressed. First is the availability of work visas. At present, there are only 65,000 H1Bs available and an additional 20,000 for those with a U.S. master's degree—which is nowhere close to the number of applicants. While U.S. companies are looking to sponsor workers, the chances of them actually being selected is less than 50 percent. And sadly, there are not many alternative ways to bypass this issue. The on-going pandemic has only made things worse. Even after a year, we still have travel restrictions and hold on the issuance of most types of work visas. And if you were approved for a petition for an L1 or an H1B, you still can’t have that visa issued abroad. Needless to say, having a diverse workforce with folks from different nationalities could remain a dream for many businesses.

This is precisely where consultants like Elliott Immigration Law can do wonders.

In an interview with Manage HR Magazine, Erin Elliott, Managing Attorney, Elliott Immigration Law, sheds light on some of the most pressing issues her clients face with regards to immigration and how her company helps address them.

Could you give our readers a brief overview of Elliott Immigration Law?

Our story began when I first went through the immigration process with my husband—who was on an H1B at the time and was an applicant for the Green Card. Witnessing the entire process, I was inspired to change my practice area into immigration. Eventually, in 2012, I founded Elliott Immigration Law. Today, we act as a one-stop-shop for all-things Immigration. Our company provides business clients with a host of immigration services such as counseling regarding compliance practices, temporary employment visas, permanent residency for foreign employees, and general counseling regarding obtaining foreign national employees that are either already in the U.S. or abroad.

Could you elaborate on your company’s approach to client servicing?

My business background has enabled me to work with companies across industries—from startups to Fortune 500 companies. They typically have different issues and ways to address them. Our deep industry know-how and knowledge of organizational requirements and structures of various entities have enabled us to address some of these problems with creative solutions.

We act as a one-stop-shop for all-things Immigration

We do practice family and business immigration. On the business immigration side, what excites us the most is the learning process. We spend ample time getting to know our client’s business before delivering our services. We then do heavy lifting, allowing our clients to focus on what matters—which is running their business.

We are translating everything that the client is giving to us into a successful immigration filing. This ideally entails understanding the different types of visas applicable to them. Once that has been selected, we check the regulatory requirements for that particular visa type. This involves looking into details such as their employees’ qualifications, the years of experience they have, and their previous/current job title.

It is important to be knowledgeable about the different options and how to be successful with each one. And we do this very well.

Could you give us a client success story?

Our typical clients are tech companies or startups with entrepreneurs who have clear understanding of what they want to do in the U.S. In such cases, we help them get the initial visa and then work on providing different immigration options for future employees.

For example, we have a client who has been with us for the last seven years. When we met that company, they mostly had offices throughout Europe with no presence in the U.S. Not only did we help them navigate the initial visa process, but we have—over the years—addressed their immigration requirements for nearly 40 employees. At present, we are looking at different visa options, including OPTs, H1Bs, and then definitely the green card for these employees.

This is a perfect example of different visa options for different employees. The company is not only bringing employees from abroad but is also hiring a lot of foreign students today—which can get challenging depending on where that student is from and their educational background. We at Elliott Immigration Law pride ourselves on being able to address these issues and make the entire process as seamless as possible.

What really makes your company unique in this space?

There are lots of great immigration firms, but I think what the clients appreciate in us is the energy and creativity. We consider ourselves a startup, and this attitude is ingrained in everything we do. I love seeing my clients succeed, do what they want to do, and be passionate about that. They should never have to worry about the immigration side of it.

What does the future hold for the company?

With COVID coming under control, we are bringing on some new folks. We have also started an immigration business network which is essentially a place to share ideas and really celebrate different startups and immigrant-owned businesses here in the U.S. I’m really excited about this opportunity to meet industry peers, exchange our thoughts on all trends pertaining to immigration, and come up with ideas to build a better future.