Blog : Immigration Practice

Minami Tamaki LLP Invited to Participate in White House Call on Proposed International Entrepreneurship Rule

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White House officials invited Partner Minette Kwok from the Minami Tamaki immigration practice group to participate in an August 26 conference call announcing President Obama’s proposed International Entrepreneurship rule that would allow foreign national entrepreneurs to build their startups in the U.S.

The call was led by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Doug Rand, Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship at the White House Office of Science and Technology.

Under this proposed rule, DHS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startups who hold a significant ownership interest and have an active and central role to its operations. The startup must have been formed in the United States within the past three years, and the enterprise must have substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.

“This proposed rule is a breath of fresh air in this difficult political environment right now,” said Kwok. “It promises to give talented foreign national entrepreneurs the chance to carry out their vision, improve the economy; encourages the injection of innovative new ideas that will keep the U.S. market competitive, and promotes job creation.”

“It’s an exciting new law, and the provisions are reasonable and attainable, and overdue.”

Kallil and Rand reminded the call participants that 40 percent new businesses are generated by immigrants – businesses such as EBay, Google, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Qualcomm.

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States.  A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.

 

‘Best Lawyers’ Selects Three of Our Partners for 2017

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Dale Minami, Minette Kwok, and B. Mark Fong were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017.

Dale and Mark were selected for the list in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. It is the fourth year in a row that they received this honor.

Minette was selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s third consecutive time on the The Best Lawyers in America list.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become a guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world.

Attorneys named to The Best Lawyers in America were recognized by their peers in the legal industry for their professional excellence in 142 practice areas. For the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 7.3 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition.

Olivia Serene Lee to Chair AILA NorCal Chapter for 2016-2017

OLeeOlivia Serene Lee, an associate in our Immigration Practice Group, was selected as the 2016-2017 Chair for the Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA NorCal).

Olivia began serving as Chair on July 1. She has served on the AILA NorCal Executive Board for the past three years.

She has been actively involved in AILA NorCal since 2009, leading and organizing more than 30 Continuing Legal Education programs in all aspects of immigration law, including prosecutorial discretion, export control, PERM, waivers, asylum, and events with immigration judges, USCIS, CBP, DOL and asylum officers. She also served as faculty on local and national AILA CLE panels on topics such as O-1s and H-1Bs.

“It’s an honor to serve the AILA community,” said Olivia.  “Our Chapter is incredibly diverse, ranging from nonprofit attorneys, experts in crimmigration issues, advocates for universal representation in immigration court, to family and business immigration attorneys.  We must stay dialed-in to the current affairs at home and around the world that may impact immigration. With the presidential elections this year, immigration issues will be at the forefront of political debates, and the outcome of our presidential elections may have a lasting impact on our immigration system.”

Olivia recently participated in an immigration lobby day in Washington, DC, to advocate for immigration reform, and she served as the chapter co-liaison to the San Francisco USCIS Field Office. She also spoke on a NAPABA panel in Arizona on the topic of immigration.

AILA is the national bar for immigration attorneys, and AILA NorCal is one of its larger chapters, with over 850 members.

Legally Asian Pre-Law Conference Promotes Diversity in Legal Profession

The 7th Annual Legally Asian Conference was held on February 6 at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Downtown Campus. Minami Tamaki LLP Associate Lisa P. Mak served as one of the conference coordinators. Minami Tamaki LLP Associate Sean Tamura-Sato was a panelist.

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Minami Tamaki Associate Lisa P. Mak (right), one of the conference coordinators, and USF law student Victor Ng welcome attendees.

Started in 2010, the all-day conference encourages Bay Area high school, college, and post-college students, especially those from diverse backgrounds, to consider law school and the legal profession.

The Legally Asian conference is hosted by the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) and co-sponsored by other local minority bar associations, law firms, and law schools.

Panels and keynotes featured notable firm attorneys, public sector attorneys, judges, and in-house counsel, as well as those who have used their law degrees outside traditional law practices. A panel of Bay Area law students shared their experiences about law school, and attendees also got a taste of the law school setting through an interactive mock class. Dean John Trasviña of USF School of Law delivered opening remarks.

Minami Tamaki Associate Sean Tamura-Sato speakers with USF School of Law Dean John Trasviña.Minami Tamaki Associate Sean Tamura-Sato (right) speaks with USF School of Law Dean John Trasviña.

Sean spoke on the Law Firm and In-House Panel, providing attendees with perspectives on working at Minami Tamaki, a minority-owned law firm with a social justice background and diverse practice areas, such as Immigration, Consumer and Employee Rights, Corporate and Nonprofit, and Personal Injury.

Other panelists during the day included San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Tracie Brown; Salle Yoo, General Counsel of Uber; and Victor Hwang, Deputy Director of API Legal Outreach.

Claire Y. Choo, James J. Lee, Stephen T. Chong, and Lisa coordinated the conference. Lisa is also Co-Chair for the AABA Community Services Committee.  The Committee organizes pro bono legal clinics, community service volunteer events, and diversity-oriented events for Bay Area attorneys and law students.

The Legally Asian Conference co-sponsors included the USF School of Law, Vietnamese Bar Association of Northern California, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, and the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California.

Visit legallyasianlaw.com for more information about this annual event.

Olivia S. Lee Joins Global EIR’s Legal Advisory Committee

Olivia S. Lee Joins Global EIR’s Legal Advisory Committee

Minami Tamaki LLP Immigration Practice Associate Olivia S. Lee was recently named one of ten attorneys on the Legal Advisory Committee for the Global EIR Coalition (http://www.globaleir.org/advisors).

The Global EIR Coalition is a nonprofit that fixes the startup visa problem for founders. The organization is led and advised by some of the staunchest advocates at the intersection of startups and immigration, including Jeff Bussgang, Vivek Wadhwa, and Cyrus Mehta.

Global EIR allows universities and startups to work together to connect founders as mentors to students considering entrepreneurship, which gets the founders access to the visas they need to raise capital and build their businesses.

As the current immigration system is broken, especially when it comes to startups, Global EIR offers a bridge over visa risk. More and more cities around the country are looking to startups to create jobs and grow the local economy, and Global EIR is a useful tool to encouraging locally educated entrepreneurs to stay in the area and help build the startup community.

“I want to thank Craig Montuori, the Executive Director of Global EIR, for selecting me for the Legal Advisory Committee,” said Olivia. “Global EIR is going to help great startup founders achieve their American Dreams.”

Olivia’s expertise at Minami Tamaki LLP is on startups and emerging companies in a variety of non-immigrant and immigrant matters.

She advises clients on immigration matters related to all stages of the startup process, including pre-formation, seed funding, accelerator/incubator programs, early and late stage, acquisitions and mergers, and public offering. She has extensive experience providing guidance on E-3, H-1B, J-1, O-1, and TN non-immigrant issues, as well as EB-1 and AOS (green card) issues in relation to emerging companies.

Olivia has also been active in professional and civic affairs. Between 2009 to 2013, Olivia has served on the Advisory Council and Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association of Northern California (AILA NorCal). Olivia is currently the AILA NorCal Vice Chair and co-liaison to San Francisco USCIS.

She was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2014 and again in 2015.

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U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” List 2016 Recognizes Minami Tamaki’s Immigration and Personal Injury Practices

For the second year in a row, Minami Tamaki LLP has received a Tier 1 ranking on the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list under the “Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs” category for our metro area.

“Best Law Firms” recognized us for the first time in the “Immigration” category.

The U.S.News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

To be eligible for a U.S.News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included in Best Lawyers in that particular practice area and metro. Earlier this year, Partners Dale Minami, Minette A. Kwok, B. Mark Fong, and Seth I. Rosenberg were selected by The Best Lawyers in America, which qualified the firm to be considered for the Best Law Firms list.

The attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Practice Group fight for the rights of people who are injured or have suffered the loss of loved ones due to the carelessness of others. We use a team approach which brings all of the resources of our practice group to bear on our cases. This has allowed us to recover multi-million dollar settlements and large verdicts for our clients.

The Immigration Practice Group of Minami Tamaki LLP offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services. We routinely assist employers and employees, nation-wide, in obtaining temporary and permanent employment-based visas. And, just as often, we help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships.

British Government Agency Webinar with Suhi Koizumi

British Government Agency Webinar with Suhi Koizumi

Photo of Suhi Koizumi, Minami Tamaki LLPMinami Tamaki LLP attorney Suhi Koizumi was the featured speaker on a webinar hosted by UK Trade & Investment on “U.S. Immigration Options for Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals.” UKTI is the British government agency that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy.

The Sept. 15, 2015, webinar, “U.S. Immigration Options for Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals,” was designed to help British companies explore popular visa options for entering the U.S. market, unique challenges for startups, and immigration compliance issues when acquiring or selling companies in the U.S.

UKTI invited Suhi to be a speaker on this webinar because of her excellent representation of many high profile British and European companies entering the U.S. market and her expertise in navigating the immigration challenges for entrepreneurs.

Suhi Koizumi is a Senior Associate with Minami Tamaki LLP in our Immigration Practice Group. she partners with executives and legal and human resources personnel to address a wide spectrum of immigration issues of corporate clients.

The Immigration Practice Group of Minami Tamaki LLP offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services. We routinely assist employers and employees obtain temporary and permanent employment-based visas. And, just as often, we help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships. Our philosophy is centered around client service, with the goal of partnering with our clients to ensure their understanding of the immigration process and to assist them in achieving their immigration goals.

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Listed in The Best Lawyers of America 2016

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Listed in The Best Lawyers of America 2016

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Dale Minami, Minette Kwok, B. Mark Fong, and Seth I. Rosenberg were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016.

Dale, Mark and Seth were selected for the list in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. It is the third year in a row that Dale, Mark, and Seth received this honor.

Minette was selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s second consecutive time on the The Best Lawyers in America list.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become a guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world.

For the 2016 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 6.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

View the San Francisco edition of The Best Lawyers in America© 2016.

Visa and Passport Technical Problems May Cause Travel Delays

Visa and Passport Technical Problems May Cause Travel Delays

U.S. consulates around the world are currently experiencing technical problems with its overseas passport and visa systems. This means that if you have a foreign national employee applying for a U.S. visa abroad, she or he will most likely experience delays of several weeks.

The problem is not specific to any particular country or visa category – it is worldwide – and State department staff are working around the clock to fix it. However, they do not expect the system to be online before sometime this week or next, and the Consulates’ legal requirements to screen visa applicants before they issue visas for travel cannot be bypassed.

Even after the Dept. of State’s visa system is back online, visa applicants should expect a significantly longer than usual application processing time. This means that applications may take several weeks as opposed to several days.

Consulates are recommending visa applicants not book their flights to the U.S. until a visa has been issued. They cannot provide an estimated visa processing time at this time.

Visa applicants should check the website of the U.S. Consulate where their applications are pending for updates. Updates on the resolution of these technical problems will also be posted on the Dept. of State’s website at http://www.travel.state.gov.

We would also recommend that if your foreign national employees plan to travel over the next two months and will require a new visa to re-enter the U.S. that they postpone their trip until this global visa glitch is resolved.

~ Minette Kwok