Overview

Whether you are relocating a single manager to London or hiring a team to set up in Hong Kong, we have the agility, experience and resources to help you manage your mobile workforce. Mayer Brown’s Global Mobility & Migration team manages not just visa and work permit authorizations, but the full gamut of global mobility issues that our clients face on a daily basis. We provide our clients with the oversight they require to run an efficient business and the confidence that comes of knowing that their compliance needs are covered.

To thrive in today’s economy, the most enterprising and successful businesses depend on a global—and increasingly mobile—workforce. In a given year, a company may transfer dozens or even hundreds of personnel to new work venues, both domestic and international. To coordinate such moves, companies must contend with a web of local, national or international regulatory requirements, visa and work permit bureaucracies, complex tax regimes, and a host of other legal and compliance challenges.

We have the agility, on-the-ground experience and dedicated resources, including state-of-the art technology, to help clients anticipate, monitor and manage the movement of their people. With offices in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and a worldwide network of relationships with highly qualified local counsel, we are able to offer our full suite of services around the world.

Our Clients

Our clients include small and mid-size companies or start-ups that are dipping their toe into international waters for the first time, as well as Fortune 500 companies with upwards of 10,000 employees who regularly travel and work internationally. For large organizations, overseas assignments can require hiring or relocating employees to and from a dozen or more countries.

In addition to serving businesses of all sizes, we have substantial experience advising celebrities and high-net-worth individuals on their immigration needs, including individuals contending with complex relocation challenges, such as potential exclusion from a destination country.

Clients of all types turn to our Global Mobility & Migration team because of our long list of achievements in this area and because of our reputation for world-class counsel on legal and regulatory matters that are of paramount importance to their success.

Our Global Network

We capitalize on both our own lawyers practicing in the world’s principal financial centers—in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East—and a carefully nurtured network of internationally experienced lawyers in other countries with whom we have worked closely for a number of years. This network allows us to draw on the experience of lawyers we know well and to reduce cost by utilizing our existing experience of local laws around the world. In every instance, the lawyers dedicated to the practice are fully immersed in the mobility area and therefore can provide the immediacy and accuracy of specialized advice in this critical area, which is essential to our clients.

Technology Designed for Global Business

Staying on top of the regulatory requirements for business travelers and international expatriates is a complex process. Mayer Brown uses advanced technology to help clients get the job done and to provide them with customized reporting employing traffic light coding to simplify tracking of key deadlines. We also develop key compliance training tools online, for high-risk issues such as management of global traveler programs or certification of third-party supplier compliance with governing visa laws.

With the benefit of Mayer Brown’s world-class IT and administrative support, we are able to give each client a clear view of their global team via a secure extranet accessible on desktops, laptops and mobile computing platforms.

MBMobility Portal
US Travel Restrictions and Major Immigration Developments
The Mobile Workforce Blog

Expérience

Visa Filings

We develop visa filings for the full enterprise of our clients across their worldwide locations. Working with a best-in-class network of attorneys around the world, our Global Mobility & Migration partners drive the strategy and optimize quality of service across worldwide locations. Our team uses sophisticated software to ensure that every visa filing occurs on time, with milestones tracked in real time on the system. In complex cases, and in jurisdictions in which quotas or other local restrictions may apply, we provide customized counsel and identify the appropriate strategy for maximizing the chance of a successful submission. In some cases, this includes advising on the nature of the employment agreement or the company’s authorization to sponsor foreign workers in the host country. We are similarly accustomed to addressing complex personal challenges that may impact eligibility (e.g., prior visa denials, arrest records, serious medical issues and divorce or custody issues).

Audits

We are regularly asked by our clients to audit their internal processes for immigration compliance and to develop remediation plans for both regulatory compliance and cost optimization. We also prepare our clients for government audits, and our shared IT portal includes a repository of the documents that officials typically require. 

M&A, Restructuring and Outsourcing Transactions

Mergers, acquisitions and other transactions resulting in a change to a company’s structure can impact the visa status of company personnel. We know this landscape well and provide such clients with a thorough analysis of the steps to be taken on a country-by-country basis and an implementation timeline. 

Entering New Markets

We advise companies entering new markets on their strategy to launch operations and deploy personnel in a country, recommending specific implementation steps and timelines for the new locale. 

Government Relations and Legislation

In the United States and other key jurisdictions, our services also include influencing legislative reform pertinent to national immigration laws or treaty agreements governing immigration. 

Tailored Global Mobility Program Management

Sending staff overseas or across borders without the proper work and residency authorizations is just one of the myriad global mobility pitfalls that can disrupt business. Yet we find that many companies still manage personnel transfers and relocations without true global oversight, resulting in redundancies and compliance failures that can hamper profitability and increase the risk of fines, penalties or government audits.

For clients with complex global workforce needs, Mayer Brown creates a managed mobility program that helps them avoid those pitfalls. We create a global coordinating team for the individual client that becomes the day-to-day contact for the client’s general counsel or for the head of the client’s global mobility function. The team includes Mayer Brown’s client relationship partner, as well as designated managers with responsibility for each region in which our client operates. We then work with the client to review and solidify the company’s mobility practices and policies, decision structures for domestic or global relocations and processes for visa and work permit requests, and use technology to create a global process that can be monitored and managed online.

Mayer Brown has the ability to develop and manage a tailored global mobility program that encompasses the following: 

  • Optimizing company policies to reflect industry and regulatory best practices
  • Bringing clarity and standardization to vast HR caseloads involving international travel and relocation
  • Training HR and other client teams and liaising regularly with them on process enhancements
  • Handling applications and filings for visas and other work authorizations in jurisdictions worldwide
  • Providing customized approaches and counsel for particularly unique or complex cases
  • Guarding clients’ reputations to ensure their regulatory compliance and protect their bottom line

Distinctions

2020

  • Mayer Brown partner, Elizabeth Espín Stern was named a 2020 “Crisis Leadership Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal. Liz was selected for her innovative approach to mobilizing the firm’s COVID-19 Global Response Team and spearheading the launch of the firm’s COVID-19 support platform, which includes a number of cutting-edge tools to help clients navigate the changing legal landscape.
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been named to Legal 500’s “Hall of Fame” for Immigration. The list highlights individuals who have received constant praise from their clients for continued excellence.
  • Paul Virtue is ranked Band 1 for Immigration in Chambers USA (Nationwide and District of Columbia).

2019

  • Mayer Brown achieved first-tier rankings for Immigration in US News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list (National and Washington DC).
  • Mayer Brown earned the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition’s 2019 “Detained Adult Champion Award” for the firm’s dedication to representing detained immigrants fleeing persecution from Central America, West Africa, Central Asia and many other parts of the world.
  • Mayer Brown partner, Grace Shie was named to Human Resource Executive’s list of 40 “Up-and-Comers” in its annual ranking of “The Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys.” The list honors lawyers with 10 – 20 years of experience who have achieved remarkable accomplishments in labor and employment law.
  • Mayer Brown partner, Paul Virtue was named a 2019 “Immigration Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal, which recognizes individuals in the legal industry who have made an impact in shaping immigration legislation through new types of strategies or innovative court cases.
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in Immigration by Legal 500 US.
  • Our award winning Global Mobility & Migration practice won the “Immigration Provider of the Year” at this year’s Forum for Expatriate Management’s Americas: Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMAs). The award recognizes organizations or companies that have demonstrated best-in-class immigration support and compliance for their clients and their internal assignee population during the past year.
  • Mayer Brown earned the New York State Bar Association’s 2019 President’s Pro Bono Service Award in the Large Law Firm category for the firm’s pro bono service, including taking on seven cases that helped unaccompanied immigrant children in the New York area apply for asylum and special immigrant juvenile status.
  • Paul Virtue is ranked Band 1 for Immigration in Chambers USA (Nationwide and District of Columbia).
  • Mayer Brown was awarded “Asian Pro Bono Initiative of the Year” at the Asia Legal Awards in recognition of its pro bono initiative to help substantiated refugees obtain employment permission in Hong Kong.

2018

  • Liz Stern, Grace Shie and Paul Virtue recognized among 11 Mayer Brown lawyers in Washingtonian magazine’s “Top Lawyers” list.
  • Mayer Brown achieved first-tier rankings for Immigration in US News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list (National and Washington DC).
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been named to The National Law Journal’s list of “Immigration Trailblazers,” which recognizes those who “have truly moved the needle in facilitating the ever-changing immigration policies.”
  • The Hispanic National Bar Foundation (HNBF) has honored Washington DC-based Employment & Benefits partner Elizabeth Espín Stern with the Latina Legal Leadership Award. Ms. Stern received the award, which recognizes her excellence as a legal practitioner, at HNBF’s annual award dinner.
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in Immigration by Legal 500 US.
  • Paul Virtue is ranked Band 1 for Immigration in Chambers USA (Nationwide and District of Columbia). 

2017

  • Elizabeth Espín Stern, Paul Virtue and Grace Shie named by Washingtonian magazine as the “Top Lawyers” in the field of Immigration in the Washington DC area. The list is published every two years and is based on research, reporting and lawyer interview conducted by the publication’s editorial staff.
  • Mayer Brown achieved first-tier rankings for Immigration in US News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list (National and Washington DC).
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in Immigration by Legal 500 US.
  • Grace Shie has been named a “Rising Star” in Immigration by Law360.
  • Mayer Brown earned the “Pro Bono Star” award from Human Rights First at its annual World Refugee Day. The award recognizes lawyers who “demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the cases for asylum or related forms of immigration protection that they take on a pro bono bases” through its program.
  • Paul Virtue is ranked Band 1 for Immigration in Chambers USA (Nationwide and District of Columbia).
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern was named “Global Mobility Professional of the Year” by the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) at the 8th Annual Americas Expatriate Management & Mobility Awards.

2016

  • The Financial Times recognized Mayer Brown in its annual report “North America Innovative Lawyers” for Integrated Solutions. This award recognized Elizabeth Espín Stern’s establishment of the Mobility-based Global People Solution™.
  • Mayer Brown achieved first-tier rankings for Immigration in US News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list (National and Washington DC).
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been recognized in the Washington Business Journal’s 2016 Women Who Mean Business Awards. The award recognizes the most influential trail-blazing women in Washington DC and surrounding areas who have made differences in their communities.
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in Immigration by Legal 500 US.
  • Paul Virtue is ranked Band 1 for Immigration in Chambers USA (Nationwide and District of Columbia).

2015

  • Elizabeth Espín Stern and Paul Virtue have been named to Washingtonian magazine’s 2015 “Top Lawyers” list, published every two years.
  • Mayer Brown achieved first-tier rankings for Immigration in US News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list (National and Washington DC).
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been named to the national board of advisors for the New American Leaders Project (NALP), a nonpartisan national non-profit whose mission is to prepare first- and second-generation immigrants for civic leadership.
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in Immigration by Legal 500 US.
  • Paul Virtue is ranked Band 1 for Immigration in Chambers USA (Nationwide and District of Columbia).
  • Elizabeth Espín Stern has been named one of 75 “Outstanding Women Lawyers” by The National Law Journal; she is the only immigration practitioner to be ranked as such.