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Immigration Compliance for U.S. Employers: How to Ensure a Legal Workforce & Avoid Charges of Discrimination

(1641 Ratings)

Produced on: April 23, 2014

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 90 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Under U.S. Immigration Law, there is a lengthy list of visa categories, from A to V, that resemble alphabet soup; it can be confusing to the petitioner as to which category is appropriate for which situation. In recent years, the federal government has been particularly aggressive in scrutinizing employers’ choice of visas used to hire foreign talent or to transfer existing employees into the United States. The consequences of noncompliance are significant, and can result in loss of productivity, civil penalties, and even criminal prosecution.


In this first session of a four part series, Fragomen partners Partick Shen and Amy Cococcia, along with associate Daniel Schwarz, explain the basic requirements of several visa categories commonly used for business purposes, the most appropriate situations in which to use each category, and how to ensure compliance with the terms of each category. The presenters also discuss how employers may defend effectively against government audits and investigations.


Learning Objectives:

I.    Understand the various visa options

II.   Comprehend the duration and nature of assignment

III.  Know the do’s and don’ts when traveling on a business visitor visa (B-1)

IV.  Recognize considerations and pitfalls when making an intra-company transfer into the U.S. 

V.   Analyze dependent issues



Patrick Shen


Patrick is a partner in Fragomen's Government Strategies and Corporate Compliance Group. In this capacity, he works with U.S. and multinational clients to maintain compliant immigration programs.

Prior to rejoining Fragomen, Patrick was appointed by the President and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate as Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. He also served as Policy and Planning Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security, and Chief Immigration Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Earlier in his career, Patrick spent several years as an immigration litigator for the Justice Department, having served as Assistant District Counsel of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and a trial lawyer in the United States Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY and the Justice Department in Washington, DC, representing INS and other agencies in federal courts. He also had a stint in private practice as Director of Government Relations for Fragomen prior to his presidential appointment.

Patrick is an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, and is a volunteer emergency medical technician with his local fire department in Maryland. He was a sports reporter in Taiwan before returning to the United States to attend law school.


  • Represented employers across all sectors in immigration compliance audits by the U.S. government, and assisted them with self-audits
  • Defended employers against charges of immigration-related employment discrimination before administrative law judges
  • Advocated before Congress and federal agencies on behalf of the country’s leading employers and trade associations for more efficient immigration and employment eligibility verification laws
  • Handled numerous pro bono refugee and humanitarian parole cases
  • Represented the United States government in hundreds of immigration-related cases before the federal district courts, courts of appeals, and administration tribunals between 1996 and 2003



  • American Immigration Lawyers’ Association
  • Asian-Pacific American Bar Association
  • Asian-American Government Executives Network


  • Co-Author, “Using Technology to Improve I-9 Compliance.” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Vol. 21, No. 9 (September 2013): 40. Print
  • Speaker, “I-9 & E-Verify Compliance for Multi-state Employers.” American Immigration Lawyers Association, web seminar, September 10, 2013
  • Speaker, “Breaking News on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” PLI Defending Immigration Removal Proceedings 2013, web seminar, August 26, 2013
  • Speaker, “E-Verify in the House and Senate: Employers React to Legislation Mandating New Worksite Enforcement.” Lecture, ImmigrationWorks USA Capitol Hill Briefing, Washington, D.C., May 22, 2013
  • Moderator, “Protecting the Employer in a New Age of Immigration Enforcement: How to Ensure Compliance and Prepare for Government Inspections.” ABA International Law Section Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 23, 2013
  • Author, “Employer Obligations under State Immigration Laws in the US.” Practical Law Company Practice Notes, April 15, 2013: n. pag. Web
  • Speaker, “The Long Arm of the Law: How Employers Can Ensure Compliance with Federal and State Immigration Enforcement?”, web seminar, April 7, 2013
  • Co-Author, “Retaining Homegrown Talent Serves Our National Interest.” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Vol. 20, No. 7 (July/August 2012): 33. Print
  • Speaker, "How to Prepare for Changes to the Form I-9," American Council on International Personnel, webinar, May 17, 2012
  • Co-Author, Enforcement of Immigration Laws Against Employers in the Obama Administration - Legal Briefs on Immigration Reform from 25 of the Top Legal Minds in the Country, Vol. 1, edited by Deborah Robinson and Mona Parsa, Esq. United States: Robinson Omnimedia Publishing and Studios, 2011. 101-113. Print
  • Co-Author, “Employment Eligibility Compliance: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls.” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Vol. 19, No. 8 (August 2011): 11. Print
  • Co-Author, “Enforcement of Immigration Laws in the Obama Administration.” Texas State Bar Section Newsletter: Corporate Counsel, Vol 6. Nol. 2 (Spring 2011): 10-12. Print
  • Speaker, “Book’em Danno – Fortifying Your Vulnerabilities Against ICE Enforcement.” Lecture, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2011
  • Speaker, “Worried About Our Self-IMAGE? Weighing the Pros and Cons of Enrolling in IMAGE and E-Verify.” Lecture, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2010
  • Speaker, Lecture, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2010
  • Speaker, “Employer Compliance For Experts,”, phone seminar, December 2, 2009.
  • Speaker, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2009
  • Author, “The History and Functions of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination.” In Navigating Government Immigration Issues: Leading Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Experts on Addressing Employment, Education, and Health Care Issues for Immigrants (Inside the Minds), edited by Aspatore Books Staff. United States: Thompson-Reuters, December 2008. 21-32. Print
  • Speaker, 41st Annual Immigration and Naturalization Institute, New York, NY, October 15, 2008
  • Speaker, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2008
  • Speaker, “Interagency Plenary Session.” Lecture, Annual Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Vancouver, BC (Canada), June 25, 2008
  • Speaker, "How to Avoid Hitting an 'ICE'berg.” Lecture, Spring Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Washington, DC, April 4, 2008
  • Speaker, “Employment Law and Legislative Conference.” Lecture, Society for Human Resource Management, Washington, DC, Mar. 11, 2008
  • Speaker, "Anti-discrimination Provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act," American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, podcast audio, Jan. 31, 2008
  • Speaker, “Conquering the Tsunami: Employer Enforcement Hot Topics,” seminar series for Immigration Law Weekly, webcast audio, Dec. 20, 2007, Jan. 24, 2008, and Feb. 7, 2008
  • Speaker, Worksite Enforcement Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Phoenix, AZ, Dec. 1, 2007
  • Speaker, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2007
  • Speaker, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2006
  • Co-Author, “Let Our National Interest Guide Our Immigration Policy.” Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society Practice Groups, Vol. 6, No..2 (Oct. 2005): 104-106. Print
  • Speaker, Annual Symposium of the American Council on International Personnel, Arlington, VA, 2005


  • Special Act Award, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice, 2003
  • Meritorious Award for Exemplary Service, Office of Immigration Litigation, U.S. Department of Justice, 2002
  • Director’s Award for Superior Performance, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001
  • Sustained Superior Accomplishment Award, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice, 1997


District of Columbia



U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit


 Brigham Young University , J.D. , 1994

 Brigham Young University , B.A. , 1990


Mandarin Chinese

Amy C. Cococcia


Amy has been with the firm since graduating from law school in 1998, and is a leading member of the firm’s practice group dedicated to compliance. She was elected to partnership in 2008. Her clients span a wide range of industries, including multinational companies in financial services and accounting; architectural; entertainment retail; manufacturing; scientific; and staffing services; and technology development, marketing and publishing industries. She also utilizes her specialized experience in immigration and compliance to counsel a worldwide conglomerate organization, helping them to ensure that their workforce meets U.S. requirements for employment authorization and verification.

Having practiced immigration law for more than 14 years, Amy has extensive experience representing both corporate and individual clients regarding professional work visas, extraordinary ability petitions, family-based permanent residency, and complex citizenship and naturalization matters. Amy regularly counsels clients regarding employer sanctions and I-9 compliance issues. She is a member of the firm’s Compliance Committee, dedicated to benchmarking compliance trends, compiling successful compliance strategies, creating corporate compliance policies and representing corporations before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


  • Represented employers before U.S. government agencies regarding compliance with I-9 audits
  • Provided counsel to a major multinational financial information technology company on I-9 policy development and program implementation for compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act
  • Offered guidance to clients on integration of recent reforms to I-9 compliance and related issues into their recruitment and hiring processes
  • Advised clients under Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation on I-9 compliance, Social Security Administration "No-Match" regulations, and the U.S. Government's E-Verify program.



  • Fellow, Foreign Policy Association
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Member, American Foreign Law Association
  • Member, New York City Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Council
  • Board Member, Tufts Lawyers Association
  • Former Member, International Human Rights Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (2001-2004)
  • Former Member, First Decade Committee of the Federal Bar Council


  • Faculty Presenter, "The Long Arm of the Law: How Employers Can Ensure Compliance with Federal and State Immigration Enforcement.” Web seminar,, New York, NY, April 2013
  • Faculty Presenter, “How to Represent Your Client During a Government Audit or Investigation by ICE.” Presentation, New York City Bar Center for CLE, New York, NY, January 2011
  • Panelist, “Advising the Small or Medium Sized Business on Employer Compliance.” Panel discussion, 13th Annual AILA New York Chapter Immigration Symposium, New York, NY, December 2010
  • Panelist, “Long Arm of the Law: How Can Employers Comply with DHS’ New Enforcement Priorities?” Panel discussion, American Council on International Personnel Annual Symposium, Washington, DC, June 2010
  • Panelist, “Global Mobility in Employment.” Panel discussion, New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting, Albany, NY, January 2010
  • Faculty Presenter, “Immigration Compliance in the Age of Enforcement.” Web seminar,, New York, NY, November 2009
  • Speaker, “Business Immigration – What Employers Need to Know.” Lecture on I-9 completion, electronic storage and re-verification, Bloomberg Business Law Seminar, The CLE Institute, New York, NY, November 2008
  • Speaker, “Hired! Work Authorized? Completing the I-9 Form.” Lecture panel, Immigration Law and Employer Compliance Seminar, Lorman Education Services, New York, NY, March 2008
  • Speaker, “Conquering The Tsunami: Employer Enforcement Hot Topics.” Teleconference on developing company policy in light of the new I-9, No Match Letter controversy, OCS and ICE investigations, and workers’ rights,, New York, NY, February 2008


  • Super Lawyers, 2013 & 2014


Amy has assisted individuals with complex U.S. naturalization matters, as well as individual labor certification and other employment-based cases. Amy also provided guidance to natives of Haiti on applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and work authorization following the earthquake in Haiti. Previously, Amy was involved with The Door, a New York City-based organization that provides comprehensive youth development services. Amy counseled children at a monthly clinic on varying immigration issues that ranged from work authorization to green cards and naturalization.


New York

New Jersey


U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

U.S. Supreme Court


 Brooklyn Law School , J.D. , 1998

 Tufts University , B.A. , 1993



Daniel Schwarz


Dan joined Fragomen in 2005 and became an Associate in 2006. He handles all types of U.S. immigration, including complex matters associated with criminal issues and prior immigration violations. Dan practices in the fields of corporate, investor (E-2 and EB-5) and family immigration law, representing large and small corporate clients within a variety of industries, ranging from finance to technology, sports, fashion, academic institutions and the arts. This includes temporary and short-term work visas, business visas, permanent residence (employment-based and family-based) and naturalization.

Dan is the attorney responsible for a dedicated sports practice within the firm, which involves advising major and minor league sports teams, coaches, and athletes with a wide variety of immigration matters, including temporary work visas and permanent residence through the labor certification process and extraordinary ability classification.

He also serves on the firm’s Corporate Compliance Committee, which focuses on the representation of employers during government investigations, I-9 audits and a variety of IRCA issues.


  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Sports Lawyers Association



  • Selected as Equal Justice America Fellowship recipient
  • Pro Bono Service Award from St. John’s University School of Law


  • St. John's University, School of Law  
    • J.D., 2006
  • Fordham University
    • B.A., 2003


Richard B.


Ronald H.

Excellent piece. Helpful.

Michael Z.

Excellent panel, and this course is very informative. Thank you.

Sharon A.

Very helpful

Corey E.

Thank you

Randi M.


Christine F.


Stephen P.

Excellent presenters

thomas t.

good team effort

Edward K.

One of the best yet! Great compliance information and practical advice!!!

Katherine F.

Good for attorneys and HR.

Patricia B.

Another great, informative, and practical session.

Joseph Z.


Loren G.


Fiona B.

very informative!

Teresa G.

Enjoyed all three speakers.

Richard C.

very timely, well presented

Roya M.

Excellent program and excellent execution. Thank you.

Richard G.

Substance of course excellent.

Holly R.

Excellent and concise information. Thank you!

Lisa B.

Excellent presentation - great handle on the materials!

Eric L.

Excellent presentation by knowledgeable speakers

Elizabeth R.

Very informative.

John H.

Relevant to all employers' counselors.

Sue Carol H.

needed an overview for my practice. This was enough to give me that without going down into the weeds.

Joseph B.

Very informative

Marty C.

One of the best of the CLE courses I have taken; raised issues I did not expect, but that were very important.

Joselito H.

very timely and informative

Jeffrey M.

Great to see a tricky topic like this discussed as part of a CLE course!

Amanda H.

clear, concise, constructive

Irina K.

Informative. Loved the question/answer format.

Jamie H.

Great presentation.

Kipp L.

The format of having three presenters who interact was quite well done.

John G.

Excellent ! The speakers had professional demeanor (in appearance and bearing); they spoke with confidence and understandably (with good diction and audibly and in correct English); and they gave information of substance (citing both law and experience).

bahram m.

filled with good and useful information. good course.

William P.

Great seminar. Well presented by very interesting and personable speakers.

Thomas B.

Very good

Darice C.

Very interesting and relevant subject/topic. Good scope and breadth.

Edward M.

wonderful knowledge

Caroline A.

Good information

Tara H.

Very useful primer on immigration compliance.

Robert W.

very good presenters

Steve H.

Important Topic

Stephen S.

I feel much better prepared to advise clients with employees.

Elizabeth F.

speakers were outstanding

Christopher B.

Very practical course on assisting clients (employers) with these types of issues.

Joseph D.

Excellent presenters, well organized and coordinated. Good slides also.

Gaston W.

Excellent addition to my CLE efforts.

Michael B.

knowledgeable well paced and well prepared. Lots of useful information and great handouts

Ed K.

Nicely done. Glad you included Q & A on independent contractors too. Good job.

Barbara J C.

Very informative and well presented

Mary M.

Very informative. Good materials.

Folasade A.

Great panel! Effective mode of presentation!

Jeffrey D.

Very good! Thanks!

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