Immigration law firms are preparing for a massive influx of cases as the U.S. has seen a major uptick in immigration activity since the beginning of the year. If you handle immigration work, you should be prepared to see your caseloads as much as double as the year plays out.
Technology and process automation will be more important than ever in meeting the challenge of handling the increased immigration workload.
Drivers of change in immigration law
Three key developments are spurring the dramatic increase in U.S. immigration activity this year. You need to understand them and how you’ll prepare for them if you’re going to position yourself to handle an influx of new cases.
1. Immigration regulation reform
Immigration has been a hot-button issue in recent years, so it’s no surprise that with the change in administrations came changes to the immigration system. Four years of restrictions designed to slow down immigration are being rolled back, opening a potential path to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people already living in the U.S., making visa filing less complicated, lifting bans on visa issuance, increasing asylum protections, reducing deportations and more. The current backlog in the immigration courts from prior regulations is 1.3 million pending cases.
2. Economic recovery
After largely being put on hold in recent years, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is expected to start expanding again in the coming years. The same is true for education visas and employment visas for students. Additionally, the economy is already seeing recovery in 2021, with major corporations looking to hire skilled foreign workers. It’s estimated that 90% of the current immigration case backlog can be attributed to employment-related matters.
3. Remote work
The shift to remote work seems to have impacted nearly every facet of life in the past year, and immigration law is no exception. Firms were forced to move much of their work online and to the cloud, supporting hybrid workforces that had to learn to collaborate from afar. Those firms that embraced those changes will be best suited to meet the surging immigration demand because they’ll already have the necessary tools for collaboration and automation in place that will increase the accuracy and efficiency of immigration filings.
Technology is key
If you weren’t already compelled to make the switch away from manual, paper-based processes in the past year, you will be now. Those antiquated workflows are only sustainable when caseloads are light; when your immigration caseload doubles, technology is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.
A cloud-based practice management system that’s tailored for immigration law practitioners plays a critical role in your immigration matters from start to finish. With the right system, you can streamline matter intake, better support case activities and events, capture full client profiles, automate letters to immigration agencies, remotely access files and documents, accurately capture case expenses, and more. Firm process automation saves time and significantly reduces the chance of costly errors that can make or break an immigration case.
The combination of a huge immigration backlog, rapidly changing immigration regulations and the need for remote collaboration has created a perfect storm of immigration law – is your firm ready for it?
CARET Legal offers a complete practice management solution offering integrated intake, workflows, government forms, communications tools, and online payments to simplify immigration client and case management. Request a free demo to learn more!