2018 Workshops

The 2018 CFGI Symposium includes workshops focused toward intermediate, advanced, academic and global tracks. Whether you are new to the immigration field or an experienced veteran, the Symposium has something for you.


7:00 - 8:40 PM
I-9 Update - ICE Is Coming
The Trump Administration has recently announced its intention to substantially increase the number of I-9 compliance inspections. During this presentation, our panelists will discuss the latest statistics on I-9 enforcement and target industries; the most important focus for your program; and an update on E-verify, how it has progressed and a decision tree of when or when not to sign up electronic tools.
Speakers: Cynthia Lange (Fragomen), Michael Turansick (Fragomen)

7:00 - 7:45 PM
Dynamic Times for Business Immigration: How to Keep Diversity Relevant
Today’s immigration environment illuminates a need, more than ever, to preserve diversity in the workplace through engagement of business leaders in the acquisition of top talent worldwide. Immigration, as a disruptor, may trigger necessary changes to create a better global working world. Facilitators will draw on personal experiences where diversity & inclusiveness have served as a catalyst for productivity to encourage active discussion among panelists on analyzing difficult scenarios as relevant in the workplace environment.
Speakers: Gia Marchesani (Ernst & Young LLP), Jennifer Splinter (Grant Thornton, LLP), Krithika McPherson (Ernst & Young LLP), Sameer Khedekar (Pearl Law Group)

Career Development in Immigration
Whether immigration is part of your job, or all of it, where do you go from here? A panel of seasoned and early career professionals, will examine the broad opportunities that exist for paralegals, inhouse immigration specialists, global mobility professionals, and university international HR professionals.
Speakers: Drew Webster (Georgia State University), Justin Storch (Council for Global Immigration), Olga Kolodina (Council for Global Immigration), Olivia Sawyer (Intuit, Inc)

7:55 - 8:40 PM
Retaining Talent: Strategic Planning, Communication and Global Rotation Program Case Study
This session will cover discussions around creating or establishing global rotation programs to support foreign nationals who are unable to continue employment in the US due to visa challenges. This session will cover the goal and strategy behind these types programs, business continuity planning and other factors that would determine the sustainability of the program. Facilitators will address potential risks, costs, workforce planning, lessons learned so far and how the coaching conversations should be for persons potentially impacted as this is generally a time of anxiety, frustration and uncertainty for many of these individuals.
Speakers: Aliza Goldstein (Amazon), Shakeria Collie-Charlton (Ernst & Young LLP)

"We’ve Seen It All”: Lessons from Experienced In-House Professionals
How have immigration processes changed for inhouse professionals in the last 20+ years? Join this session for a casual conversation about how the job of the in-house immigration professional has evolved and where the profession is headed next.
Speakers: Laura Prince (University of Iowa), Denise Rahmani (Oracle)


1:45 - 2:45 PM
RFEs: The New Norm and The Path Forward
USCIS is issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) at an unprecedented rate. During this presentation, our panelists will discuss: an overview of RFE rate increases by category and the most prevalent issues presented, when to utilize expert opinion letters, the latest developments regarding computer programmer and “Level 1” cases and the pros and cons of “front loading” petitions.
Speakers: Justin Storch (Council for Global Immigration), Scott FitzGerald (Fragomen), Denise Rahmani (Oracle)

Green Card Strategy
As scrutiny increases for nonimmigrant visas, more and more employers are beginning to ask the question of whether they should start the green card process earlier. This session will explore considerations and best practices for creating a good green card policy for your organization, as well as how to navigate the PERM and other green card processes efficiently. The session will also provide tips and best practices for AC21 portability.
Speakers: William Coffman (Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC), Derry Velardi (Qiagin), Zarina Godhrawala (Deloitte LLP)

Canada - Here We Come. Is It The Real Alternative?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced a more liberal approach to business immigration into Canada. With the very opposite approach of the Trump Administration, Canada presents an attractive alternative for employment immigration sponsorship. During this presentation, our panelists will discuss recent program changes that have made immigration into Canada easier and potential changes should the US withdrawal from NAFTA.
Speaker: Chaitali Shah (Marriott International, Inc.), David Crawford (Fragomen)

Ensuring Compliance in an Era of Interagency Cooperation: Navigating the Intersection of Immigration & Employment Law
The federal agencies are no longer operating in silos–increased cooperation, data sharing and referral of issues to other branches of government means that employers need to take a holistic approach to employment-based immigration. Increasingly, the operative word here is ‘employment’, as the agencies shift their focus to the various terms and conditions governing a foreign national’s employment. By reviewing actual situations, this interactive workshop will address the intersection of immigration and employment law, including employer obligations throughout the immigration process, internal sponsorship policies, requests by foreign nationals that trigger employment law concerns, state-specific laws, and more.
Speakers: Jennifer Shapiro (JPMorgan Chase & Co.), Marifrances Morrison (Ogletree Deakins), Silke Dundon (Dell), Thomas Deer (Ogletree Deakins), Tina Ho (Ogletree Deakins)

3:15 - 4:15 PM
Multinational Executives, Managers and Specialists – No Longer Favored Categories?
The transfer from abroad of executives, managers and persons with specialized knowledge working at related entities used to be a breeze. Increasingly, however, the winds have turned nasty. This interactive workshop will take a deep dive into recent trends and new obstacles imposed by USCIS adjudicators and American consular officers when deciding whether to approve or refuse immigration benefits under the L-1 (individual and blanket) nonimmigrant worker category and the analogous EB-1(3) immigrant visa category for multinational executives and managers. Panelists will also address winning strategies for initial case preparation, responses to RFEs, and consular visa interviews. Keep the C-Suite happy and attend this not-to-be-missed session.
Speakers: Angelo Paparelli (Seyfarth Shaw LLP), Becca Bluem (Accenture), Mareza Estevez (Infosys), Robert Loughgran (Foster LLP), Vic Goel (Goel and Anderson, LLC)

The Changing Landscape of Immigration: Focus on Data Security
Tightening borders, increased complexity, and global policy changes are becoming the new normal in global immigration. Data security is becoming increasingly important, especially with a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). How can companies prepare? Dive into enforcement and policy changes and how employers are leveraging new technology and solutions to manage global immigration compliantly and efficiently. Receive guidance on how to keep immigration data secure and comply with GDPR.
Speakers: Allison Kranz (Envoy Global), Mahi Inampudi (Envoy Global), Tabitha Juarez (Rockwell Collins)

Business Immigration in the Trump Administration: Strategies for Success in Uncertain Times
Under the Trump Administration, employers have struggled to forecast access to talent from abroad, as the Administration's "America First" themes take shape.  During this presentation panelists will discuss the latest changes taking place, to immigration policy overall and to business immigration policy in particular. These changes are taking place at many levels, from Executive Orders and other Presidential-level policy pronouncements to less formal but far-reaching policy shifts at USCIS and the other immigration agencies. The panel will focus on strategies to maximize access to foreign talent in these times of narrowed adjudications and increased enforcement. 
Speakers: Andrew Greenfield (Fragomen), Bo Cooper (Fragomen), Leslie New Kowalski (IBM Corporation)

University Challenges in the Trump Era
The last year has brought a unique set of challenges for universities and their foreign national students and scholars. The H-1B program has received more scrutiny than ever before for universities, and visa categories at risk (including OPT, DACA and TPS) have many wondering what will happen next. Join this discussion for the latest developments.
Speakers: Dan Berger (Curran and Berger LLP), David Muusz (University of Michigan), Kelli Deuhning (Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP)

4:30 - 5:30 PM
Back on Track- Former Government Officials Lift The Veil On How To Fix Broken Cases
Join us for practice tips and practical advice on resolving issues at USCIS and/or US Consulates. Learn how and when you can bring in additional resources and support to put problem cases back on the right track. From Motions to Reopen/Reconsider to LegalNET, speakers will explain and discuss which tools work.
Speakers: Lynden Melmed (Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP), Jeff Gorsky (Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP), Leon Rodriguez (Seyfarth Shaw LLP), Alison Posner (Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman), Chandler Morse (Office of Senator Jeff Flake)

Anti-discrimination Considerations in The Hiring Process
This session will cover the structuring of pre- and post-hire protocols to provide employers with the information needed to make hiring decisions, including whether to sponsor a new hire for an H-1B or PERM, without risking liability under the antidiscrimination rules. This includes an exploration of the boundaries of the types of questions that can be asked during the interview process and upon hiring a foreign national; whether an employer can maintain databases of employees based on nationality and ability to travel; and whether an employer can make hiring/promotion/assignment decisions based on visa and nationality related issues.
Speaker: Marketa Lindt (Sidley Austin LLP)

EB-1 and NIW as H-1B Cap Alternatives
Each year, hundreds (if not thousands) of foreign nationals in F-1 OPT status are forced to depart the US because they are unable to win the H-1B lottery. Are they extraordinary? During this presentation, our panelists will discuss EB-1 eligibility criteria, USCIS’ current EB-1 adjudicatory standard and proactive steps to take to support future eligibility.
Speaker: Liz Basile (Columbia University), Rod Malpert (Fragomen), Sheila Heider (Intel Corporation)

Harnessing Big Data in Immigration - Where’s The Beef?
Corporate senior leadership has never been more interested in data with regards to global mobility and immigration, and never have we had such effective tools to address that interest. Topics covered include: why is data important for global mobility and immigration programs; what data is useful; how can you analyze such data to minimize risk and address frequent and potentially disruptive changes in government policy; strategies for translating volume, timing and spend data into proactive strategic mobility planning; and the impacts of GDPR and other data privacy regulations on your immigration program.
Speaker: Robert Horsley (Fragomen), Rico Fontana (Fluor Enterprises Inc.), Scott FitzGerald (Fragomen)


2:15 - 3:15 PM
Navigating the Current Enforcement Landscape
Under the Trump Administration, immigration enforcement is on the rise. During this presentation, our panelists will discuss the latest updates on DOL inspections and investigations of H-1B LCA compliance; how to prepare for increased site visits by FDNS; how to respond to USCIS Notices of Intent to Revoke; and the importance of I-9s.
Speaker: Blake Chisam (Fragomen), Edward Raleigh (Fragomen)

Pushing Back Safely: Preemptive Strategies in an Era of Contention
Forget about slam-dunks. In this challenging era of turbo-charged RFEs and denials, what are some strategies employers can use to get fair results? When is it appropriate to consider escalation, and how do you engage leadership in such action? Get an insider’s view (former DOJ/USCIS defense counsel) on the pros and cons of going to Federal Court; hear how companies are coping with the new realities of systemic adversity; and learn how to engage your C-suite.
Speaker: Hendrik Pretorius (Pearl Law Group), Jonathan Wasden (Economic Immigration Support Services), Justin Storch (Council for Global Immigration), Sameer Khedekar (Pearl Law Group) 

Immobilizing Global Mobility: Difficulties Facing Business Travelers, and How to Overcome Them
This panel will address those issues that often fly under the radar, but have the potential to severely restrict workforce mobility on an international level. Looking at recent events and trends in the US, Europe, and Asia, we will discuss where increased scrutiny of travelers is causing incremental delays that often go unnoticed, and where programs like Global Entry and APEC Travel Card can be a boon to executives and other frequent travelers.
Speakers: Eric Halverson (eBay Inc.), Jerry Erickson (Erickson Immigration Group), Lieselot Whitbeck (Erickson Immigration Group), Stephanie Alisuag-Schreiber (Booz Allen Hamilton), Sadaf Sarwari (Booz Allen Hamilton)

Challenges in Managing an In-House J-1 Program

Academic scholar, employment-based immigration offices, and in-house immigration teams may have been effectively running a J-1 Exchange Visitor program for years, but it does not make us exempt from the headaches caused by some of the subtler nuances of the J-1 program, especially in light of continuing regulatory changes and enhanced program requirements. This round-table discussion format will give intermediate and advanced practitioners an opportunity to discuss and share best practices, ideas, and limitations in dealing with issues that arise with managing an academic or private sector J-1 program, including: determining English language proficiency, navigating the J-1 Student Intern category, maintaining insurance requirements, coordinating J-1 transfers, monitoring J-1 participants, and reporting program successes and problems to the U.S. Department of State.
Speakers: Larissa Drayer (Northeastern University), Shakeria Collie-Charlton (Ernst & Young LLP), Vanessa Paulman (University of Massachussetts Medical School)

3:45 - 4:45 PM
Assisting and Hiring OPT Students: Best Practices for DSO’s and Employers
Join us as we discuss, in the context of changing and uncertain regulatory and policy environments, how to best support and employ students approved for post-completion OPT and STEM OPT. Our panel will present the academic, legal and employer perspectives, including a brief overview of OPT and STEM criteria; student and employer expectations; regulatory background; policy updates from SEVIS and USCIS; the employer/university relationship and the look ahead.
Speaker: Robin Catmur-Smith (University of Georgia), Tracy Schauff (Fakhoury Law Group)

Engaging with U.S. Consular Posts
Learn how to navigate challenging issues at U.S. Consular posts abroad, including best practices to prepare employees for interviews, strategic planning for group moves, and resolving time sensitive matters and incorrect legal decisions.
Speakers: David Strashnoy (Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP), Geraldine Moralez (Intel Corporation), Sandra Sheridan Reguerin (Fragomen), Ed Ramotowski (Department of State)
Brexit: What you need to know. What you need to do.

The United Kingdom is scheduled to formally withdraw from the European Union on March 29, 2019, requiring a whole host of immigration changes for both EU citizens remaining in the UK, as well as UK citizens living in the EU. The presentation will cover: how UK based organizations are approaching the change vs. other multinationals; the immigration requirements for EU nationals planning to remain in the UK post Brexit; he immigration requirements for UK nationals planning to remain in the EU post Brexit;
and strategies for facilitating the transfer of both affected groups after withdrawal.
Speaker: Brendan Ryan (Fragomen)

Tax 101 for Immigration Professionals
This session will outline some of the key US and Global tax consideration that every immigration professional should be aware of. Focusing on the expanding cross over between these two disciplines, look at how Government authorities are increasingly sharing data and the impact this has on immigration compliance. Presenters will also share practical tips on how to identify any potential red flags in this area and their impact on immigration compliance as well as guidance on how immigration professional can remain up to date with these.
Speakers: Julie Baron (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), Lindsey Barras (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP)