FAQ: Immigration; Retained Immigration Counsel Program

Program Description

Only the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (OGC) has the authority to retain legal counsel to represent U-M and its schools, colleges, divisions, and departments. Since October 3, 2005, all immigration petitions in which U-M 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: H-1B, O-1, TN, and Permanent Residency (green card). In addition, U-M has designated the International Center as the authorized sponsor for the U-M 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 U-M and foreign national beneficiaries;
  2. To ensure consistency and accuracy in the representations made on behalf of U-M to federal agencies;
  3. To provide accountability at the highest institutional levels for petitions filed on behalf of U-M;
  4. To ensure compliance with 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 (H-1B public access files and PERM audit files) and for 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 H-1B petitions.
  2. All TN employment letters and petitions.
  3. All E-3 applications and petitions.
  4. All “Special Handling” permanent residency cases, including cases requiring re-recruitment, for teaching positions.
  5. Permanent Residency cases, based on a Labor Certification (Basic PERM), for research faculty.
  6. Advice on drafting invitation letters for B-1 visitors.

In addition, the International Center processes immigration documents for those coming to 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 (e.g., extraordinary ability, Outstanding Professor and Researcher, Basic 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 U-M campuses.

Please Note: For cases where U-M 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.

201 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
(734) 663-9813 (phone)
(734) 663-2920 (fax)Vicky Farah
Dexter Commerce Center
8005 Main Street, Suite 4
Dexter, Michigan 48130
(734) 995-4900 (phone)
(734) 995-4987 (fax)Dawn Welk Wise

In addition, U-M has retained Klasko Immigration Law Partner, LLP and K&L Gates to support the global engagement of university faculty, researchers, staff and students who require specialized immigration services, complex outbound visa advising, or employment abroad services.  The specialized legal services provided by Klasko and K&L Gates are not part of the flat fee schedules for services supervised by the Ann Arbor campus International Center’s FSIS staff and must be accessed through the OGC.

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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 website.

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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 website.

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University Resources and Links

U-M Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (OGC)

For questions regarding the retained immigration counsel program, contact David Grimm (degrimm@umich.edu) or Patricia Petrowski (ppetrows@umich.edu).

U-M Faculty and Staff Immigration Services (FSIS)

For information about the processing of an employer-sponsored immigration petitions, visit the International Center website.

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:

U-M 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 website.

U-M Procurement Services

For information regarding how to process invoices from the law firms, visit the Procurement Services website.

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