Immigration case management software takes the pain out of applying for grants

Organizations and nonprofits should invest in an immigration case management program to ease the burden of grant reporting requirements.

Many organizations and nonprofits rely on immigration-related grants to provide necessary services to their clients. Without these grants, many organizations wouldn't be able to pay their attorneys and staff or even keep the lights on. However, winning these funds is a complex process and there's stiff competition, whether the money is awarded by a federal, state or local government, or even a private entity.

In most cases, the organizations need to report detailed information regarding their processes and clients, unfortunately, this information can be spread not only across different computers within one office, but through many offices around the globe. Gathering all of this data can be a tedious and painful process if the organization doesn't have an efficient system in place.  

Technology is here to help

"Immigration services organizations and nonprofits can utilize state-of-the-art technology to ensure every piece of datum is at their fingertips whenever they need it."

Luckily, immigration services organizations and nonprofits can utilize state-of-the-art technology to ensure every piece of datum is at their fingertips whenever they need it. By investing in an immigration case management program, the organization can retain all of its client files and business information in one place – the cloud.

No waiting
Through cloud technology, the case management system is available to everyone in the organization at once, so there's no need for information to be put in another system first or wait to be uploaded. All relevant information gets added to the program in real time, whether the staff member is in the U.S., India or anywhere else they can find an Internet connection.

Full integration
A strong immigration case management system fully integrates with the organization's website, email, calendar and if necessary, billing system. This makes it even easier to ensure all information makes it into the cloud. Information added to the calendar can quickly be synced over to the cloud and vice versa. Additionally, important dates and alerts can be sent to staff members through their email, ensuring they get the message whether or not they're signed into the program.

Immigration case management systems provide the reporting capabilities organizations need to meet grant application requirements.

Full reporting capabilities
While cloud-based case management software provides numerous benefits to any institution, immigration services organizations and nonprofits get the most advantage from the reporting options within the platform. Not only does the system provide ready-made built-in reports, but it also has customizable options so an organization can meet every specific reporting requirement created by the grant-awarding body.

Many community and nonprofit institutions have to watch their budget – running out of money isn't an option if they want to help as many people as possible. A comprehensive immigration case management system may appear to be a significant upfront investment, but in the long run, will save any organization money by improving efficiency and reducing the man hours needed to gather information for grant reporting. 

Are you letting filing cabinets hold you back?

Attorneys can clean up their desks by using a cloud-based case management program.

Imagine this scenario: The partner walks out of his office and instructs his paralegal to bring him certain client files. The paralegal stops working on the form currently gracing her monitor and heads to the file room. After a few minutes, she's retrieved most of the files she needs but one. Not wanting to go back to the partner without all the paperwork he needed, she heads to the file's next most likely location… then the next…and then the next.

On some days, this scenario goes smoother than others and every file is pulled quickly. But, on days like the one imagined above, the partner would have to wait until the file became available from another attorney, which could be the next day if that person is traveling. 

Partners should ask themselves: Should the office really work this way?

"Keeping an outdated and inefficient filing system will put immigration law firms behind."

The simple answer is no. It's 2014, and keeping an outdated and inefficient filing system will put immigration law firms behind in how many clients they can handle at once, and therefore, how much revenue they can bring in each quarter. Not to mention, the chance of success in every matter is reduced when attorneys' and paralegals' attention is divided and there's a risk critical information isn't available right when they need it.

The only tool needed to get rid of filing cabinets
Getting rid of paper files may seem daunting, but it only takes one tool to reduce the paper floating around the office: an immigration case management system. Firms should purchase a cloud-based case management program that smoothly integrates with its website, email and calendar. This way, the firm has a cohesive platform off which it can build a more efficient and successful practice.

Benefits of a cloud-based system
An immigration case management platform that uses the cloud will allow attorneys and paralegals to dramatically speed up their processes. In fact, they may not realize how much time they spent looking for files until they don't have to. With a cloud-based program, every form, pleading and petition is at each staff members' fingertips. Plus, no one will step on each other's toes when they need to work on one file at the same time – multiple attorneys can view the same document from their own devices.

The cloud-based system also improves business continuity. Firms that rely solely on paper run the risk of that paper one day not being there. While there's always a chance one file gets lost, there's the bigger risk that a fire or natural disaster will wipe out the entire file room. This danger is mitigated by storing all client and firm data in the cloud, which is continuously backed up and protected with state-of-the-art security.

Cloud-based immigration case management systems speed up law firms' processes so attorneys can devote more time to their clients.

Imagine a new scenario
The partner needs to review a particular client's file before heading into a meeting. Instead of asking his paralegal to leave her current work and bring him the file, he opens up the case management program on his laptop. With a few clicks he brings up the client's entire file and sets to work.

Wasn't that faster?

Once a comprehensive case management system has been installed and the firm has moved toward using fewer paper documents, every member of a firm can put more energy into doing substantive client work and spend less time tracking down immigration forms and files. Now that all staff members can review and add to files in real time through the cloud-based platform, no one has to worry another person will have the file when they need it. 

Integrate website and case management system for more efficient client onboarding [VIDEO]

An integrated website and immigration case management system makes taking on new clients easy.

Transcript

Law firms can ease the anxiety many potential clients feel when beginning to work with an attorney by integrating the firm’s immigration case management program and website. Combining these two systems reduces the number of steps prospective clients have to take to start getting help.

With a more comprehensive system, people can contact an attorney directly through the attorney’s website, and when they decide to start a relationship, clients can access retainer documents to confirm the arrangement. They can also fill out intake sheets and customizable questionnaires. The ability for clients to easily access the initial paperwork takes the hassle out of the process and improves client satisfaction.

For law firms, it means all initial client intake information is securely stored in one place.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

Cloud-based software cuts down on IT costs and liability [VIDEO]

Law firms and businesses can reduce their IT costs by using a cloud-based immigration case management system.

Transcript

Using a cloud-based immigration case management software program is beneficial to attorneys in many ways. First, it allows lawyers to work anytime anywhere as long as they have the Internet. Second, cloud storage reduces their reliance on paper files, which can be lost or destroyed and hurt the continuity of the practice.

Taking advantage of the cloud for document storage also reduces a firm’s IT costs and liabilities.

When using in-house servers, firms must have their own IT department or work with a third-party provider. Securing the servers and performing updates and maintenance are the firm’s responsibility. Without the proper protections or attention, practices can leave their and their clients’ information vulnerable to cyberattacks.

By using a cloud-based immigration case management program, the servers and cybersecurity are maintained by the cloud provider. Reduced IT responsibilities in-house mean firms can keep fewer technology experts on staff or lower their monthly bill from a third party.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

Businesses gain access to necessary forms through immigration case management software [VIDEO]

HR professionals need access to forms from various countries to be able to hire non-U.S. citizens.

Transcript

Businesses want the best and brightest workers in their fields, which means they often hire professionals from around the globe.

U.S. companies hiring non-U.S. citizens face layers of red tape, including U.S. and foreign government forms. To ensure human resources can get through these layers quickly, businesses should invest in an immigration case management system with access to almost any form they could need.

Strong immigration case management programs will have all the necessary work-related visa forms for the U.S., Canada, India, Singapore, the U.K. and more.

Additionally, these forms are updated within 48 hours of a country’s government revising them to ensure businesses don’t inadvertently use outdated documents.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

Businesses need immigration case management software that integrates with their human resources management system [VIDEO]

HR departments need their software platforms to work together smoothly.

Transcript

To maintain effective and cost-efficient human resources departments, businesses need their immigration case management and human resources management systems to interact smoothly.

Large U.S. businesses hiring numerous non-U.S. citizens particularly need their two systems to work together to quickly get through the labor-intensive process of hiring these professionals. These platforms are necessary to gain pertinent information from the prospective employee, fill out applicable documents and apply for the proper visas with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Companies’ immigration case management systems should be able to integrate with whatever human resources platforms they use. This way, information doesn’t have to be added to both systems separately but can be shared cohesively between them.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

Avoid the aspirin this H-1B season

Immigration case management systems ensure firms and businesses can get through the tough H-1B season painlessly.

With the holidays comes preparation for the H-1B Cap Season. While attorneys and human resources professionals may be ready to take a vacation and break bread with their families, they have to ensure they start H-1B season prep strong – a disorganized or inefficient effort only brings headaches during what should be a time of cheer.

"To reduce the number of aspirin professionals need to take to get through the H-1B preseason, they should invest in or learn to fully utilize their immigration case management platform."

To reduce the number of aspirin professionals need to take to get through the H-1B preseason, they should invest in or learn to fully utilize their immigration case management platform. H-1B visas require multiple documents and steps to stand a chance of being submitted the day U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services begins accepting applications, which is generally April 1. Anything submitted later than this date has less of a chance of winning one of the only 65,000 visas given each year. In fact, for the past two years, visa limits were hit within the first week of the filing periods.

Identify potential employees and create accounts
An immigration case management with a secure client portal is essential to starting the H-1B cap season off with a bang. Employers should be identifying their potential employees no later than December. Once a candidate is chosen, he or she should be given login credentials to the client portal. This provides a way to streamline communication and the information-gathering process between attorneys, HR professionals and the candidate.

Clarify the application pipeline and set calendar reminders
The many parts of the H-1B application process can create a tangled web of confusion, or, can be laid out in a neat workflow through your immigration case management system. Applicants can submit their petitions for the fiscal year 2016 on April 1, 2015, which means by then, the employers must have their Labor Condition Applications certified and have gathered all necessary information from the potential employee.

The U.S. Department of Labor can also take up to 10 days to certify an LCA – another timeline issue applicants must take into account.

Attorneys and HR professionals merely need to follow the H-1B petition workflow and create calendar deadlines with reminders within the case management system to ensure the proper documents, like the LCA, are submitted as soon as possible and any necessary information is requested. Alerts sent to the professionals' email will ensure they never miss a beat when going with the flow.

Immigration case management systems can ensure HR professionals stick to a strict H-1B season schedule.

Figure out if wage determination data is needed
The LCA states employers ensure the wage offered to the candidate matches or exceeds the prevailing wage for that position in that geographic area. To be able to make this determination and promise, businesses must have a large amount of salary data. If a company needs federal wage information, it should request it as soon as possible because it can take up to two months to receive.

Do you have the software you need?
Firms and businesses that lack immigration case software platforms to move them swiftly and painless through the H-1B preseason and cap season are in for a rude awakening – they may not get the visas they need. While applications can be submitted anytime after April 1, immigration professionals recommend petitions are are mailed to be delivered to the USCIS on exactly April 1 to have the greatest chance of winning a visa.

Companies without the help of a strong software program risk not getting their H-1B petitions in on time, or even if they do, they risk taking more aspirin than is healthy to get through the process.

Counsel your clients on their tax obligations [VIDEO]

It's important for clients to understand their tax obligations while their cases are pending.

Transcript

Some of your clients may not understand their tax reporting obligations. You should inform them that they need to file a tax return each year, even if they believe they won’t owe any taxes.

Failing to file taxes or withholding income information can affect their immigration cases. For instance, permanent residents seeking U.S. citizenship will be required to show proof of their tax filings.

What they need to report, according to the IRS, is any income effectively connected to a trade or business in the U.S. or income derived from a U.S. source.

When informing your clients of their tax obligations, it may be best go further and recommend them to a local tax professional experienced in working with non-citizens.

Additionally, if any of your clients are leaving the U.S. and don’t fit into one of the exceptions, they must complete a sailing or departure permit, which certifies they’ve complied with the country’s tax laws.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

Automatic email alerts improve client communication and satisfaction [VIDEO]

Automatic email alerts can keep clients from becoming frustrated.

Transcript

Clients can become frustrated with your services if they feel they aren’t kept in the loop regarding their immigration cases.

You can solve this problem by using a case management program with email alert options. Through the program, you can have automatic emails sent to clients regarding updates in their case or upcoming deadlines. You can also have informational emails sent to clients if there are changes in immigration laws.

These automatic emails increase the efficiency of your workflow while improving client communications.

Keeping your clients 100 percent up-to-date on their cases will only increase their satisfaction.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases

Form AR-11 & the importance of tracking your clients' addresses [VIDEO]

It's crucial your clients' addresses are up to date with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Transcript

Your client’s case can be harmed if they don’t keep their address up to date with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Not only must their address be accurate at all times, but your clients only have 10 days from the date they move to inform the government of the change.

Counsel your clients to tell you their new addresses prior to their move so you can ensure Form AR-11 is properly filled out and ready to be submitted within the proper time frame.

You can save yourself time and energy by using an immigration case management system with an address tracking system. Once your clients input their new addresses into the system, you’ll be notified¬† of the need for an AR-11.

A strong case management program will also offer digital documents, so you can fill out and send the form to immigration services electronically.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

           
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