Broadcast Date: Wednesday, November 04, 2020
from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (ET)



The recent years have seen an evolving immigration law landscape in the U.S. Of notable significance is the drop of H-1B and L-1 visa approvals following the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order in April 2017. Changes may still come into view as revisions to the key features of the said visa programs are expected to take place this year.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other regulatory agencies continue to encourage practitioners to be abreast of any developments that continue transpire in the backdrop. Revisiting their existing company policies and programs is important to ensure compliance with the changing regulations. In a LIVE Webcast, immigration lawyers Ryan Helgeson (Vedder Price) and Mercedes Badia-Tavas (Barnes & Thornburg LLP) will present the audience with a comprehensive discussion of recent trends and developments in USCIS H-1B and L-1 A visa programs. Speakers will analyze implications and critical issues in light of recent updates and offer practical compliance tips in this evolving legal climate.

Key topics include:

  • The U.S. Immigration Law
  • USCIS H-1B and L-1 A: Trends and Statistics
  • Risks Issues and Legal Challenges
  • Best Compliance Practices
  • 2021 Outlook


Course Level:



Advance Preparation:

Print and review course materials


Method of Presentation:

On-demand Webcast (CLE)



General knowledge of immigration law


Course Code:



NY Category of CLE Credit:

Areas of Professional Practice


Total Credit:

1.0 CLE

Speaker Panel:

Ryan Helgeson, Associate Attorney
Vedder Price

Ryan M. Helgeson is an Associate in the Chicago office of Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Business Immigration practice group.

He counsels clients on all aspects of corporate immigration law, including E, H, L, O, P, R and TN visas, permanent residency and naturalization. Mr. Helgeson also has experience providing training and functional know-how to clients to better equip them to recognize and proceed with candidates who have immigration needs. Among other tasks, Mr. Helgeson also performs internal I-9 audits and has experience representing employers in their dealings with ICE audits. During law school, Mr. Helgeson served as a legal intern for the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission and as a student supervisor for the Domestic Violence Courthouse Pilot Project.

M. Mercedes Badia-Tavas, Partner
Barnes & Thornburg LLP

M. Mercedes Badia-Tavas is a Partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in the U.S. Immigration & Global Mobility Practice with 28 years’ experience.  She provides legal & business guidance to clients globally.  This includes I-9 compliance, audits, investigations, training, due diligence, internal policy development, and obtaining employment-based visas (B, H, L, O, P, TN, E), PERM applications, EB1 Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher/Prof., EB2 National Interest Waiver & EB5 investor residency status.  She prides herself on using legal skills with accuracy and ingenuity in this complex area to represent, advocate, lobby and litigate as needed.  She was Chair of the AILA-Chicago Chapter, recognized by Best Lawyers in America in Immigration (2016-2020), & by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Chicago’s Notable Minority Lawyers (2018).


Ryan HelgesonAssociate Attorney

Vedder Price


M. Mercedes Badia-TavasPartner

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

USCIS H-1B and L-1 A: Trends and StatisticsBAJA Focus of Buy America, Hire America of this administration.

  • Lawsuit by the coalition of National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and TechNet among others placing a temporary injunction on Presidential Proclamation barring H-1B, L-1 and J-1 visa recipients from entering the U.S.
  • New DOL Interim Final Rule on Wage Levels effective on 10/8/2020 – increase in wage levels 1 to 4 starting at 45 percentile of the wage information received effectively increasing the Level 1 to the present level 2 and 3.
  • New USCIS Interim Final Rule on definition of Specialty Occupation – delayed implementation for 60 days - narrows definition and enforces worksite visit authority.
  • L-1 restriction for functional managers and specialized knowledge.

Risks Issues and Legal Challenges

  • Unpredictable changes in policy and COVID-19 situations.  Correct advice today will be outdated tomorrow, and the speed in which must file cases to meet deadlines increases risk for all parties.
  • Unlawful regulatory changes leading to national litigation efforts.
  • Key personnel unable to enter the U.S. without a National Interest Waiver
  • Loss of necessary talent to competing countries

Best Compliance Practices

  • Human Resource personnel must be trained to handle immigration compliance issues for foreign national employees on a variety of visa types with varying requirements.
  • USCIS site visits under new DHS/USCIS rule – develop procedures.
  • I-9 Employment Verification Self-Audits – training, self-audits and plan for ICE visit.
  • Formal Employee Handbook Policy with section on Immigration requirements and sponsorship.

2021 Outlook

  • Depends upon the winner
  • Immigration Reform should be a top priority of a Biden Administration
  • Trump Administration will further current actions and lawsuits will continue. Reform, if any, will further restrict immigration to the U.S. and change to a merit based system in theory.

Date & Time:

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (ET)

Who Should Attend:

  • Immigration Lawyers
  • Immigration Officers
  • Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Human Resource Personnel
  • General Counsel
  • Compliance Officers
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Ryan HelgesonAssociate Attorney
Vedder Price
M. Mercedes Badia-TavasPartner
Barnes & Thornburg LLP



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