Photo: Leonardo Freitas, founder and CEO of Hayman-Woodward | Courtesy

Work and Live Abroad: A Legal Guide For Global Mobility

Leonardo Freitas, founder and CEO of Hayman-Woodward, a global immigration and advisory firm, reveals how to maximize freedom, reduce taxes, grow wealth, and become a global citizen.

Picture yourself taking the decision to move to another country—not only for a brief visit but to work, live, or begin a new phase of your life. It is an enthralling journey. However, the corridors of immigration law that evolve so differently in each place can also be intimidating.

Let us take the United States for instance, a flag bearer of opportunities for millions. The immigration policies in the United States are forever changing, and in January of 2024, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made some huge changes to immigration rules and fees – the first major updates since 2016.

That’s why having a specialized legal expert who knows the landscape inside out is so important. They can guide you through the maze with confidence and help you start your new life on the right foot.


Global mobility challenges

The process of obtaining a visa or going through the path of becoming citizen is as difficult as trying to go through a thick jungle having hidden obstacles. Every visa kind, including work visa H-1B and investor visa EB-5 have their own requirements, timelines and costs.

For example, H-1B visas, which are in high demand by technology companies for the purpose of recruiting international talent, have a yearly cap, and so a lottery process is employed. The process includes thorough reporting and precise time management, therefore even small mistakes can cause application rejections or long delays.

Similarly, EB-5 visas, aimed at investors willing to make significant economic contributions in the U.S., demand proof of investment and job creation, which must be meticulously documented and verified.


Evolving immigration policies

Immigration laws do not stay the same; they change due to political, economic, and social pressures. Changes can be very dynamic, and thus, being up to date is vitally important. For example, recent reforms in immigration policy have altered the landscape significantly, affecting everything from visa quotas to the eligibility criteria. These frequent shifts make it challenging for applicants to remain compliant without professional guidance.


Administrative delays and processing times

The processing times for visa applications can be lengthy and unpredictable. They are influenced by factors such as application volumes, governmental staffing, and international relations. Administrative delays are frequent, and they can cause plans for employment, family reunification, or education to be canceled. Monitoring and managing these postponements need not only patience but also a strategic plan to diminish their influence.


Risk of denial and legal barriers

The risk of application denial is a significant challenge in the immigration process. Denials can be based on a myriad of reasons, including errors in application, failure to meet eligibility criteria, or insufficient documentation. The consequences of a denial can be severe, ranging from loss of application fees to bans on re-entry. Moreover, legal barriers such as previous immigration violations or misunderstandings during interviews can further complicate the process.


Economic and emotional costs

The cost of navigating the immigration process extends beyond the financial. The economic burden includes application fees, potential legal fees, and sometimes, the cost of relocation or travel for visa interviews. There is also an emotional cost, as the uncertainty and complexity of the process can lead to significant stress for individuals and their families. This emotional toll is compounded when applications are delayed or denied, impacting personal and professional lives. All in all, while moving to a new place, missteps can be costly, causing delays, denials, or worse. The right legal guide doesn’t just lead the way; they clear the path, making sure every step you take is on solid ground.


Legal experts are the ultimate global mobility guides

Just as every seasoned traveler relies on a skilled guide, those embarking on an immigration journey will find indispensable allies in legal experts. Here’s how these professionals become more than just consultants—they become essential companions, ensuring a smooth passage into new beginnings.


Navigational expertise: Chart the course

Think of legal experts as the master navigators of the immigration sea. Their deep understanding of immigration laws, which can vary as widely as the oceans, equips them to steer through the procedural nuances and legal requirements of different countries. This expertise ensures that every application is meticulously prepared, every deadline is carefully met, and every legal box is ticked with precision. With such skilled navigation at the helm, your journey toward a new life becomes clearer and more certain.


Problem solving: Overcome obstacles

The path to immigration is rarely smooth and often dotted with unexpected challenges—be it delays, additional documentation requests, or outright denials. Legal experts shine as adept problem-solvers, foreseeing potential roadblocks and devising effective strategies to navigate around them. They smooth out the bumps along your path, ensuring that each step forward is secure and steady.


Risk management: Safeguard your journey

In the high-stakes world of immigration, there is little room for error. An overlooked detail or a missed deadline could derail your entire journey. Legal experts act as vigilant sentinels, safeguarding your journey against the risks of the complex immigration landscape. Their up-to-date knowledge is your best defense against the pitfalls that could cost you time, money, and even your chances of reapplication.


Time and stress reduction: Ease the path

The labyrinth of immigration law can be time-consuming and stress-inducing. Legal experts help lighten this load, managing the hefty legal legwork so you can focus on the other important aspects of your relocation—like settling your family, finding a home, or securing employment. By reducing the bureaucratic burden, they help transform a potentially stressful journey into a more manageable adventure.


Personal advocate: Your voice in legal matters

More than just handling paperwork, immigration lawyers stand as your personal advocates. Whether it’s making a strong case in an appeal or negotiating a complex legal maze for a favorable outcome, they are your voice in the legal process. With a legal expert by your side, you have a champion fighting for your best interests, ensuring your rights are protected and your immigration goals are met.


Strategic planning: Map your future

Legal experts excel in strategic planning, considering both your immediate needs and your long-term aspirations. Whether you need the right visa for a job opportunity now or are laying the groundwork for future citizenship, their strategic guidance is pivotal. Their advice helps align your immigration path with your career and personal growth objectives, setting you on a course for success in your new homeland.

Much like seasoned captains navigating turbulent waters, legal experts guide you safely through the complex voyage of immigration. Their expertise ensures you don’t get lost in legal procedures and instead arrive confidently on the shores of your new life.


A key partner in your global journey

In essence, legal experts are both the compass and the map. As the world becomes more interconnected, their role shifts from mere advisers to essential partners in your journey. They are the seasoned travelers who have mapped the back roads and discovered the shortcuts that can make your journey not just possible but successful.

So, as you pack your dreams and prepare for your journey to new opportunities remember a skilled legal guide is your key to unlocking the gates of global mobility. With their knowledge and expertise, the path to new beginnings is clearer and far more promising.


Leonardo Freitas is a seasoned immigration expert having 28 years of experience in global mobility and immigration law. As the founder and CEO of Hayman-Woodward, he has achieved an impressive 50% success rate, securing over 52,000 Green Cards for clients worldwide. With degrees in human behavioral sciences and business administration, he served as a senior business development executive for distinguished companies like Philips Electronics, Tandberg, AT&T, and Cisco Systems.


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