5 Ways to Help Clients Prepare for Immigration Reform CIR

These days, it’s hard to cull through so many articles on immigration reform and determine what’s speculative, what’s sensational, and what’s actually helpful to the immigration practitioner.  By now, your clients might already be feeling a bit antsy and nervous depending on which aspects of the Senate’s CIR bill they may be preoccupied. Our longtime Guru readers will know that this blog strives to provide practical advice, in additional to timely updates.  In that vein, I’ve compiled some helpful tips that can get you ahead of the curve when it comes specifically to immigration reform.  The more you know, the more proactive you can be for your client’s sake.  Your clients will thank you for your timeliness and attentiveness:

1. Access the Bill in Bite-Size:  Your individual clients may be confused about the Registered Provisional Immigrant Visas and its eligibility criteria.  Or, your clients may be curious how the H-1B reforms will affect their business model.  Rather than forward them a link to the entire 844-page bill, you can send them relevant portions (or quote relevant portions) by accessing the XML pre-markup version here.  [Update: you can also read the latest amendments by various Senators here.]

2. Stay Alert.  Rather than scouring the web for articles that may be relevant to comprehensive immigration reform, create alerts based on key words and have those alerts be sent directly to your in-box.  We’re also creating a multi-part CIR Webinar Series beginning May 8th focusing on various provisions of the Senate’s bill (S.744).  Click here to register and/or get more details.

3. Subscribe.  If you’re a member of a professional organization, like the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), you probably already receive daily updates on what’s going on in immigration.  You can also subscribe to other organizations that provide instant updates specific to immigration reform.  These include the American Immigration Council (AIC) and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).  You can even subscribe to immigration blogs (like this one).

4. Be Regular.  If you’ve taken the approach of sending out a news update/alert to your client-base on a monthly, weekly or daily basis, be sure to maintain that same frequency.  The same applies if you are updating your company’s Facebook page or news page on your homepage. Developing a consistent and timely message is part of creating a reliable brand for your clients.

5. Have an Action Plan.  At some point, clients will want to know what they can or should do to prepare.  While the timeline for a CIR bill to be passed is still fuzzy at the moment, it never hurts to have a tentative action plan for certain key clients.  You’ll want to factor in what your clients’ timelines may be. Some clients may want to wait and see if the backlog will be eliminated before taking any steps.  Others may want you to draft a plan even if the plans will be changing in the near future.  If your client base is largely comprised of individuals and families, then it’s even more important to ensure they are well-informed about the provisions that will affect them.

Your clients will turn to you for guidance on immigration reform.  By ensuring you are up-to-date on the current trends and news, you’ll be well prepared to respond to frantic client queries.