Outstanding Immigration Law Jobs in 2023
Passionate about immigration issues or simply helping people relocate to another country? Check out available immigration law jobs on LegalJobs!
Found 1.638 jobs
Children's Attorney - Now Hiring
New York, NY, US
2 months ago
Business Immigration Attorney
Miami, FL, US
2 months ago
Director of Immigration Programs
Baltimore, MD, US
2 months ago
Senior Paralegal Immigration
Omaha, NE, US
2 months ago
Arlington, VA, US
2 months ago
When prosperous western countries started welcoming immigrants, hundreds of thousands of people left their homeland in search of a better life. As the US immigration laws are rather complicated, it’s not surprising that immigration law jobs are in such great demand.
Becoming a resident of a country requires following strict guidelines established by immigration laws. Hopefully, immigration lawyers are here to assist immigrants in taking the necessary steps to settle in their target country legally.
About Immigration Law Career
Before settling in the US (or any other desired country), non-citizens have to apply for a permanent visa. The temporary one, typically given to students and workers, expires after a specific period. The permanent visa, or so-called green card, enables an individual to reside in a country for good unless they commit an offense.
As even the slightest error may delay the process of obtaining a visa, the help of an expert is desperately needed. Immigration lawyers lead future residents through each stage of the immigration process. They are here to recognize the type of visa required for legally settling in the US and assist in preparing the obligatory paperwork.
A United States immigration lawyer also represents clients who are encountering deportation. They are trying to find the best possible solution, prepare immigrants for court hearings and proceedings, appeal, and argue the law in their name. In addition, they may help immigrants’ families with intercountry adoption.
Some immigration attorneys work for the federal government. Their primary duty is to help legislators create and revise policies and legislation regarding immigration. They might also help with visa application processes or stand for the government in court hearings concerning deportation.
What Do Immigration Lawyers Do?
The United States immigration attorneys are professionals who specialize in handling cases related to immigration. Their job involves assisting people in obtaining residency, defending their rights, and monitoring other matters regarding immigration. They also advise clients on their immigration-related rights and obligations. Furthermore, they recommend courses of action according to their knowledge of immigration legislation.
Though gratifying, immigration law careers are rather challenging and demand excellent knowledge and expertise. In general, immigration lawyers handle the following issues:
- Obtaining an employment visa.
- Obtaining a permanent resident visa (green card).
- Obtaining US citizenship.
- Filing for refugee status or political asylum.
- Helping foreign businesses establish themselves in the US.
The immigrant law professional guides residential visa applicants through the entire process of obtaining the green card, which may last for years. They make sure that the employer meets the recruiting requirements issued by the Department of Labor. They complete the obligatory due diligence and organize the immigration paperwork.
Business immigration attorney jobs kick in when investors, entrepreneurs, or eminent employees want to get a visa to live and work in the US. Similarly, businesses may hire immigration attorneys to help them obtain working visas for foreign employees. They need to complete the paperwork, fill in the application form, and organize the petition. They also counsel businesses according to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services legislation.
Like all positions, immigration attorney jobs have their advantages and disadvantages.
The significant advantages are:
- A higher-than-average salary.
- Personal satisfaction and fulfillment.
- The enthusiasm from working in the ever-evolving field.
- Excellent alternative for entrepreneurs.
- Possibility to work in different environments.
The main disadvantages of immigration lawyer jobs include:
- Extensive knowledge, training, and experience.
- High competition.
- Obligatory license which must be maintained.
- Long working hours.
- Judicial stress.
All things considered, the benefits of holding this position are considerably overpowering the drawbacks.
Duties and Responsibilities
Immigration lawyer duties and responsibilities include a range of different tasks:
- Helping immigrants with a residential visa application.
- Assisting immigrants with visas and work permits.
- Offering immigration and residential advice, help, and representation to current and potential clients following the guidelines of the Immigration Legal Services program.
- Offering representation to clients facing deportation.
- Helping lawmakers draft, develop, and revise immigration legislation.
- Processing visa applications.
- Representing the government in court.
- Assisting families with intercountry adoption.
- Offering help in trafficking cases.
Necessary skills and qualifications for careers in immigration law are:
- A four-year bachelor’s degree.
- A Juris Doctor degree.
- Exquisite people and communication skills.
- Great attention to detail.
- Exquisite negotiation and persuasion skills.
- Complex problem-solving skills.
Jobs in immigration law are primarily office-related. Attorneys may work in a law office, state agency, or open a private practice. Plus, they can work for non-profit and non-governmental organizations devoted to helping immigrants obtain citizenship. Though immigration lawyers meet current and prospective clients in their offices, they also go to courtrooms for proceedings.
Injuries and Illnesses
One of the most common problems immigration lawyers face is burnout. Since they are working with immigrants who decided to leave their homelands for various reasons, immigration law professionals may be under a lot of pressure. When they are working on deportation cases, they might be worried about the outcome. All this can lead to compassion fatigue, stress, and burning out.
Immigration law employment implies a standardized working schedule of 40 hours a week. Thus, immigration law professionals generally work from 9 to 5. However, they may work longer hours, particularly when they have to prepare or analyze deportation cases.
How to Become an Immigration Lawyer
Immigration law careers are undoubtedly rewarding but quite challenging. They require not only extensive education but also a range of specific skills and competencies.
Immigration legal jobs, just like all other occupations from the legal area, demand a particular set of skills. Eminent immigration attorneys must have high-level reading and writing capacities. They must grasp complicated concepts and convey them to their clients who don’t know immigration law whatsoever. They must know how to defend their clients in court or any adversarial occurrence.
Additionally, candidates applying for immigration attorney positions must have exquisite interpersonal skills. Immigration legal professionals may be required to work with individuals who suffered some traumas or distressing experiences such as trafficking, persecution, or torture. The capacity to talk to them with empathy and compassion might be crucial for handling immigrants or their families, particularly when they need reassurance and help regarding immigration legal issues and complexities.
When browsing through job advertisements, you may notice that each immigration lawyer job description mentions higher education as compulsory.
To pursue a legal career in immigration, you have to obtain a four-year bachelor’s degree from a college or university. Before the bachelor’s program is completed, you have to sit the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) that evaluates your reading comprehension and logical and verbal reasoning proficiency. This is one of the decisive factors concerning admission to law schools.
If you pass the LSAT, you will enroll in the law school; after finishing it, you will receive a Juris Doctorate diploma. Lastly, you need to pass the bar exam in your place of residence to obtain the compulsory license.
Some law students decide to take their internships or clerkships to obtain some legal experience before they finish law school. This can increase their job opportunities, as many immigration law firms’ jobs require experience.
Those who aren’t eager to work yet have one more option. Namely, when they finish the bachelor’s studies, students may opt to continue with their higher education. Such a choice will allow them to obtain a master’s in immigration law. These two-year studies are recognized globally and offer lawyers an opportunity to work in all countries worldwide.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Immigration legal jobs, just like all others from the legal area, require specific licenses and certifications. Immigration attorneys must satisfy licensure requirements defined by the state. Every state has its criteria that future lawyers have to meet. The majority of them require attorneys to enroll in Continuing Education Courses. They enable attorneys to stay up to date with brand new legislation and case precedents. The state determines the length of each course.
Immigration law professionals aren’t limited strictly to the immigration lawyer career. They may opt to carve out an academic career and work as law teachers at law schools, colleges, and universities. Law professors are responsible for delivering lectures to law students and researching legal topics.
If teaching is not their cup of tea, immigration legal attorneys might pursue an immigration judge’s vocation. This position involves presiding quasi-judicial hearings regarding deportation, removal, cancellation, bond, and exclusion.
An immigration judge makes decisions that are regarded as conclusive unless appealed. Professionals holding this position may also exercise unrestricted powers given by law. They are required to deliver independent judgment while coming to definitive decisions. An immigration judge might also be required to perform hearings in penal institutions or other locations outside the courtroom.
Not all immigration law jobs are paid in the same way. How they get paid might depend on what kind of cases they are dealing with. For instance, legal services regarding green card application assistance are charged at a flat-rate fee. Those fees may amount to $800–$1500. More complex cases like deportation defense might be charged per hour and cost up to $10,000.
Immigrational attorneys may require $100–$400 for the first consultation. The reason for such a fee is that many immigrants don’t have a regular income and therefore are unable to pay for an attorney.
According to the BLS, lawyers have been making an average of $122,960 annually as of May 2019. However, immigration law salary is somewhat lower and may amount to $30,000–$100,000 per year. As for PayScale, immigration attorneys earn an average of $67,680 per year. Their salary varies depending on their location and level of expertise. Entry-level immigration attorney jobs are always paid less than senior positions.
It could be concluded that immigration law practice is well-paid. Some professionals give their services pro bono or at a lower rate. Oddly enough, immigration courts don’t offer immigration attorneys to the defendants. They have to find a legal representative on their own.
The BLS expects an employment growth rate of 4% for the period of 2019–2029, which is the average for all other occupations. Even though 32,300 job positions are expected by 2029, the competitions will be intense as many students will finish law schools.
Immigration law jobs’ prospects are the same as for all other legal opportunities. A growth rate of 4% and an increase in employment opportunities are expected here as well.
The Bottom Line: Why Immigration Law
Following the 9/11 tragedy that hit the US 19 years ago, immigration became a rather dubious area of concern. Despite this tragic event, the US enables 1 million foreigners to become Legal Permanent Residents every year. It even gives more visas to tourists than any other country.
The immigration attorney’s vocation is a narrowly specialized area. A profound understanding of the legislation, together with a comprehension of the immigration field, employment, and residency, set immigration attorneys apart in their area of expertise. The immigration lawyers’ jobs are immensely fulfilling and gratifying, as it’s they who help individuals realize their dreams of gaining US citizenship. With more and more people striving to obtain the green card, it’s no doubt that immigration attorneys are in for a great deal of work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the best immigration law jobs?
An immigration attorney is by far the most rewarding and gratifying profession among immigration law careers. It involves helping others achieve their dream of obtaining a green card and thus become legal residents of the US. Additionally, immigration attorneys may deal with deportation defense cases and save their clients from the threat of deportation to the country they emigrated from.
What is the major for immigration law?
You don’t actually need a major for this legal area, but you have to fulfill some educational requirements. First, you must have a four-year bachelor’s diploma. You also have to take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) that assesses your reading comprehension and logical and verbal reasoning proficiency. Then, you have to enroll in a law school and obtain a Juris Doctorate diploma. Eventually, you need to take the bar exam in your state to get the mandatory license.
Do immigration attorneys make good money?
Immigration lawyers make decent money. However, the role of an immigrational attorney isn’t as lucrative as that of a criminal attorney. Namely, immigrational lawyers earn somewhat less than other attorneys employed by larger law firms or corporations. The average pay that immigration attorneys make amounts to $67,680, as opposed to $122,960 that other attorneys make.
How much do immigration attorneys get paid?
Immigration law professionals aren’t equally paid. In fact, their fee depends on the cases they are working on. Thus, legal services concerning green card application assistance are charged according to a flat-rate fee. More complex cases such as deportation defense may be charged per hour.
One thing is certain — immigration law jobs aren’t as lucrative as that of corporate attorneys. The annual average pay of immigration attorneys is $67,680 — significantly less than $122,960 their corporate counterparts make.