Frequently Asked Questions

Retained Immigration Counsel Program

— updated January 2013

Program Description

Only the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel has the authority to retain legal counsel to represent the University of Michigan and its schools, colleges, divisions, and departments. Since October 3, 2005, all immigration petitions in which the University of Michigan is the petitioner have been prepared by either the Faculty and Staff Immigration Services (“FSIS”) Staff of the Ann Arbor International Center or one of the following law firms retained by the OGC to provide immigration services.

Examples of visa categories that are employer-sponsored are: H1-B, O-1, TN, and Permanent Residency (green card). In addition, the U-M has designated the International Center as the authorized sponsor for the U-M of Michigan J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. The hiring unit is responsible for the payment of legal fees, administrative costs, filing fees, and recruitment costs (when applicable) associated with all immigration petitions. These expenses may not be passed on to the foreign national.

The purposes of this policy are:

  1. To ensure excellence in the quality of legal services provided to the University of Michigan and foreign national beneficiaries;
  2. To ensure consistency and accuracy in the representations made on behalf of the University of Michigan to federal agencies;
  3. To provide accountability at the highest institutional levels for petitions filed on behalf of the University of Michigan;
  4. To ensure compliance with the U-M's employment policies and practices, and with federal regulations; and
  5. To provide a reliable means of collecting and storing data on our foreign national employees, as required by law (H1-B public access files and PERM audit files) and for the U-M's own data collection needs.

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Scope of Work

Faculty and Staff Immigration Services (“FSIS”) is responsible for processing the following types of employment-based immigration petitions.

  1. All H1-B petitions.
  2. Teaching Faculty special handling permanent residency cases. The special handling petition must be filed within eighteen (18) months of the date of the offer letter. Otherwise, petitions will be processed by a retained law firm under a different permanent residency category.
  3. Advice on drafting offer letters for TN visas.
  4. Advice on drafting invitation letters for B-1 visitors.

In addition, the International Center processes immigration documents for those coming to the U-M on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program as professors, research scholars, and specialists. General advising about the J-1 program is also provided.

The retained law firms are responsible for processing the following types of employment-based immigration petitions.

  1. All permanent residency petitions not processed by the FSIS staff (i.e., extraordinary ability, PERM, National Interest Waivers).
  2. All O-1 petitions.
  3. All J-waiver applications sponsored by Interested Government Agencies.

In addition, the retained law firms will process other types of non-immigrant petitions, such as P-Performing artists or athletes.

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The Retained Firms

The following firms have been retained by the OGC to provide employment-based immigration services to all campuses.

Please Note: For cases where the University of Michigan will be the Petitioner, employees should not contact the attorneys directly until the department has retained the law firm’s services, through the Ann Arbor International Center.

LAW FIRM FOREIGN LANGUAGE SKILLS
LAW OFFICES OF AFAF VICKY FARAH
201 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
(734) 663-9813 (phone)
(734) 663-2920 (fax)

Vicky Farah
avfesq@aol.com (email)

www.vickyfarah.com (website)
Spanish
French
IRANI & WISE, PLC
Atrium One Office Center
900 Victors Way, Ste. 170
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
(734) 995-4900 (phone)
(734) 995-4987 (fax)

Dawn Welk Wise
Dawn.wise@iraniwise.com (email)

www.iraniwise.com (website)
Thai
Vietnamese
BUTZEL LONG, PC
Detroit Office:
Suite 100
150 West Jefferson
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 225-7000 (phone)
(313) 225-7080 (fax)

Ann Arbor Office:
Suite 500
301 E. Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 995-3110 (phone)
(734) 995-1777 (fax)

Linda Armstrong
Armstrong@butzel.com (email)

www.butzel.com (website)
Bulgarian
French
German
Hindi
Italian
Japanese
Portuguese
Russian
Spanish
Urdu

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Fee Schedule

The OGC has negotiated rates for legal fees and services that are applicable to all three law firms. To view the fee schedule, visit the International Center web site at http://www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/immig/forms/empvisafees.pdf.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about the Retained Immigration Counsel Program can be found on the International Center web site at http://internationalcenter.umich.edu/immig/retatty/retatty_faq.html.

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University Resources and Links

Office of the Vice President and General Counsel

For questions regarding the retained immigration counsel program, contact Donica Thomas Varner, Associate General Counsel (dvarner@umich.edu).

Faculty and Staff Immigration Services (“FSIS”)

For information about the processing of an employer-sponsored immigration petitions, visit the Ann Arbor International Center’s web site at http://internationalcenter.umich.edu/about/services.html#immig.

U-M Human Resources (“UHR”)

For information regarding faculty or staff hiring and employment practices, first contact the U-M Human Resources Manager for your school, college or division. Additional centralized resources include:

Office of Research & Sponsored Projects (“ORSP”) (formerly known as “DRDA”)

For information regarding whether you may charge the legal fees and costs associated with an employer-sponsored immigration petition to a sponsored grant, visit the ORSP web site at http://orsp.umich.edu/policies/um/visas.html.

Procurement Services

For information regarding how to process invoices from the law firms, visit the Procurement Services web site at http://www.finance.umich.edu/procurement/.

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