Many say that ultimate happiness is when you master something you love, then find a way to make a living from it. This is the impression we received after attending the Employer Legal Workshop at Fahoury Global Immigration, founded by Mr. Rami Fakhoury. These individuals exuded dedication, hospitality, and unparalleled instruction when addressing employers’ concerns and elaborating on our country’s immigration dynamics. Likewise, it was enlightening to witness so many employers that truly value their international talent and wish to preserve workforce diversity within their respective organizations. This event provided an overview of current immigration laws, explored pathways through which one can still hire international professionals, and prepared employers for future legislations.
I had the pleasure of discussing a variety of contemporary immigration topics with two of Fakhoury’s most experienced attorneys, Tracy Schauff and Melissa Winkler. Their analysis of present policies and their ability to put many rumors to rest created a useful picture that both international students and employers can benefit from. In terms of functionality, the current administration’s Executive Orders have actually had a minimal effect on Fakhoury’s daily operations. Their workload remains strong with the exception of intermittent phone calls from concerned clients. Aside from a slight increase in individuals filing for permanent residency and the need for a degree of preemptive legal action, Fakhoury is visibly capable of handling today’s morphing legal environment.
Keeping all of these issues in mind, Schauff encourages students to still apply for the existing F-1 Visa program as long as a “long-term” plan is devised; while the legal rules are relatively simple, individuals must understand that their admission/denial of entry into the U.S. is entirely up to the discretion of a given agency. Therefore, prepare to show commitment, foresight, and positive qualifications; this is the best course of action for a potential international student/employee and will maximize your chances of clearing the vetting process. As for employers, Winkler acknowledges that while concerns have arisen about the stability of STEM-OPT hires, realistically the process has not become any more difficult and businesses wishing to bring aboard international talent may still certainly do so, but proper care and attention must be given to the process.
Surprisingly, much of the necessary information for a successful visa application/hiring process can be found online, but one must only trust state-sponsored websites, because blogs with unprofessional advice can severely mislead an applicant. Fakhoury still recognizes that some legal situations may require a bit of external support, whether this is from professional counsel or even intermediaries such as GTRI/Global Detroit which can direct one towards the help they need. At times, attorneys can even provide free answers to small questions, but are required to charge compensation if it evolves into a more time-consuming project.
If all legal, credential, and personal aspects of an applicant are favorable, there is still a fiscal element to consider before committing to a long-term migration. With international hires, the entire financial burden falls on the employer. On the other hand, it is sometimes possible to receive university scholarships or state aid specifically for tuition. Generally, none of these funds come from the federal government unless a refugee status is claimed upon entry.
Overall, Fakhoury Global Immigration has long been a friend of the international community. This group has played a significant role in Detroit’s development as a tolerant metropolis by educating employers on how to hire foreign professionals. Businesses are regularly equipped with the knowledge and network required, but also made aware of the economic benefit of international migrants to the community and the area’s organizations. In this way, Fakhoury Law and GTRI/Global Detroit are actually quite similar and have intersecting goals; both are heavily involved in the dissemination of knowledge and bridge the informational gap between employers and international scholars, but achieving the American dream ultimately depends on the perseverance of the immigrant.
GTRI is a Program of Global Detroit
Director of Corporate and Economic Development Strategy