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What Does An Immigration Paralegal Do?

Working alongside immigration lawyers, an immigration paralegal is in charge of liaising and assisting clients through the progress of their visa petitions or other cases. Their responsibilities revolve around gathering and securing foreign documents, coordinating with immigration managers, managing and filing documentation, preparing applications, and handling case systems and other databases. Furthermore, as an immigration paralegal, it is essential to update clients with the progress of their cases, answering their inquiries and helping them navigate through the procedures as needed.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real immigration paralegal resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage caseload utilizing INSZoom software.
  • Manage attorney calendar, schedule depositions, hearings using online scheduling system and coordinate same with opposing counsel.
  • Prepare training materials for H-1B visas and permanent labor certification.
  • Write and prepare all arguments in re: to RFE's.
  • Provide notary services to clients.
  • Prepare responses to DOL audit requests.
  • Liaise with stakeholders to ensure a clear channel of communication.
  • Specialize in EB-1 cases for aliens of extraordinary ability and outstanding researchers.
  • Prepare all H-1B visa petitions and family base visa petitions
  • Streamline and execute the administrative procedures and documentation require for all USCIS submissions.
Immigration Paralegal Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Computer skills involves understanding how to operate a computer, as well as computer programs and applications.
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.

Immigration Paralegal Overview

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as an immigration paralegal is "should I become an immigration paralegal?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, immigration paralegal careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 12% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a immigration paralegal by 2028 is 39,000.

Immigration paralegals average about $26.38 an hour, which makes the immigration paralegal annual salary $54,877. Additionally, immigration paralegals are known to earn anywhere from $37,000 to $80,000 a year. This means that the top-earning immigration paralegals make $43,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

It's hard work to become an immigration paralegal, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a law internship, legal administrator, legal assistant, and legal clerk.

Immigration Paralegal Jobs You Might Like

Immigration Paralegal Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 21% of Immigration Paralegals are proficient in Immigration Law, High Volume, and Federal Agencies. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Computer skills, and Interpersonal skills.

We break down the percentage of Immigration Paralegals that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Immigration Law, 21%

    Maintained regular contact with clients, immigration officers and conducted Internet research pertaining to immigration matters.

  • High Volume, 9%

    On-boarded a high volume client and used reports to enable all relevant data was captured for over 200 cases.

  • Federal Agencies, 7%

    Assessed and managed client expectations against critical filing deadlines with various federal agencies.

  • Uscis, 7%

    Maintained extensive oral and written communication with corporate and individual clients and USCIS officials.

  • HR, 5%

    Prepared and co-presented HR immigration training with supervising partner.

  • Attorney Review, 4%

    Prepare appropriate job description and minimum regulatory requirements, for attorney review.

"immigration law," "high volume," and "federal agencies" aren't the only skills we found immigration paralegals list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of immigration paralegal responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for an immigration paralegal to have happens to be communication skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "paralegals must be able to document and present their research and related information to their supervising attorney." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that immigration paralegals can use communication skills to "customized templates that were used firm wide including correspondences to clients and government agencies thereby centralizing communication among staff. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform immigration paralegal duties is the following: computer skills. According to a immigration paralegal resume, "paralegals need to be familiar with using computers for legal research and litigation support." Check out this example of how immigration paralegals use computer skills: "specialized computer knowledge: immigration software inszoom, immigration aide, immigration tracker"
  • Another skill that is quite popular among immigration paralegals is interpersonal skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a immigration paralegal resume: "paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "secured interpersonal relationships with other firms/counsels to guarantee documents are executed prior to confirmed foreclosure sale dates. "
  • In order for certain immigration paralegal responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "organizational skills." According to an immigration paralegal resume, "paralegals may be responsible for many cases at one time" As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "key accountabilities included regulatory applications, organizational documents, document review, disclosure schedules, summarization of contracts and ucc filings. "
  • Another common skill for an immigration paralegal to be able to utilize is "research skills." Paralegals gather facts of the case and research information on relevant laws and regulations to prepare drafts of legal documents for attorneys and help them prepare for a case. An immigration paralegal demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "coordinated with client hr staff to transition international employees, including research of pre-arrival requirements. "
  • See the full list of immigration paralegal skills.

    We've found that 52.5% of immigration paralegals have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 10.7% earned their master's degrees before becoming an immigration paralegal. While it's true that most immigration paralegals have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every seven immigration paralegals did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    The immigration paralegals who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied legal support services and political science, while a small population of immigration paralegals studied law and business.

    When you're ready to become an immigration paralegal, you might wonder which companies hire immigration paralegals. According to our research through immigration paralegal resumes, immigration paralegals are mostly hired by Berry Co, Berry Appleman & Leiden, and Robert Half International. Now is a good time to apply as Berry Co has 13 immigration paralegals job openings, and there are 7 at Berry Appleman & Leiden and 5 at Robert Half International.

    If you're interested in companies where immigration paralegals make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Sidley Austin, Baker McKenzie, and Fisher & Phillips. We found that at Sidley Austin, the average immigration paralegal salary is $112,515. Whereas at Baker McKenzie, immigration paralegals earn roughly $81,634. And at Fisher & Phillips, they make an average salary of $72,827.

    View more details on immigration paralegal salaries across the United States.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious immigration paralegals are:

      What Law Internships Do

      A law internship is a program that is designed for law students to give them valuable insight into the professional lives of attorneys and judges. Law interns need to understand and observe what being a lawyer involves. They are required to conduct research and present it to their superiors for case preparations. They must assist their senior lawyers in organizing all of their legal paperwork that includes case files, evidence records, and legal documents. Law interns are also required to be present in the courtroom to assist lawyers and experience actual courtroom proceedings.

      In this section, we compare the average immigration paralegal annual salary with that of a law internship. Typically, law interns earn a $13,288 lower salary than immigration paralegals earn annually.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both immigration paralegals and law interns positions are skilled in immigration law, attorney review, and legal advice.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because an immigration paralegal responsibility requires skills such as "high volume," "federal agencies," "uscis," and "hr." Whereas a law internship is skilled in "court proceedings," "trial preparation," "discovery responses," and "law firm." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      The education levels that law interns earn is a bit different than that of immigration paralegals. In particular, law interns are 14.7% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than an immigration paralegal. Additionally, they're 37.7% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Legal Administrator?

      The job of legal administrative assistants is to provide support to lawyers and paralegals. They typically perform legal research, manage schedules, and draft legal-related documents. Other duties include interpreting laws, regulations, and rulings in legal documents, obtaining information from other agencies or organizations, and preparing management and legal reports. In addition, legal administrative assistants are responsible for updating and maintaining databases and ensuring to provide effective administrative assistance. They are also expected to schedule client meetings and court hearings.

      Next up, we have the legal administrator profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to an immigration paralegal annual salary. In fact, legal administrators salary difference is $5,893 lower than the salary of immigration paralegals per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Immigration paralegals and legal administrators both include similar skills like "high volume," "legal advice," and "legal documents" on their resumes.

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real immigration paralegal resumes. While immigration paralegal responsibilities can utilize skills like "immigration law," "federal agencies," "uscis," and "hr," some legal administrators use skills like "veterans," "law firm," "powerpoint," and "office procedures."

      In general, legal administrators study at similar levels of education than immigration paralegals. They're 4.6% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 37.7% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Legal Assistant Compares

      Legal assistants are responsible for doing most of the administrative or clerical needs of a lawyer. They support lawyers by preparing documents for hearings or trials, conducting research for legal cases, organizing files and records, managing schedules, manning phone lines, communicating with legal clients, documenting meeting minutes, and setting up appointments. It is important for legal assistants to have a basic knowledge of laws and the judiciary system so that they can provide better support to lawyers. They should also be detail-oriented, organized, and excellent communicators.

      The third profession we take a look at is legal assistant. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than immigration paralegals. In fact, they make a $10,728 lower salary per year.

      By looking over several immigration paralegals and legal assistants resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "high volume," "attorney review," and "legal advice." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from immigration paralegals resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "immigration law," "federal agencies," "uscis," and "hr." But a legal assistant might have skills like "law firm," "discovery responses," "court proceedings," and "medical records."

      Legal assistants are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to immigration paralegals. Additionally, they're 13.8% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 1.5% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Legal Clerk

      A legal clerk is responsible for performing administrative and clerical duties to legal offices and organizations to ensure smooth legal business operations. Legal clerks sort and distribute documents to the appropriate personnel, update information on the database, schedule appointments, respond to clients' inquiries and concerns, and document meeting objectives. They may also coordinate with other offices and institutions to acquire files and research data according to the needs of the managing department. A legal clerk must have excellent communication and organizational skills, especially in monitoring business transactions and submitting reports timely and accurately.

      Legal clerks tend to earn a lower pay than immigration paralegals by about $17,388 per year.

      According to resumes from both immigration paralegals and legal clerks, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "high volume," "legal advice," and "legal documents. "

      Each job requires different skills like "immigration law," "federal agencies," "uscis," and "hr," which might show up on an immigration paralegal resume. Whereas legal clerk might include skills like "court proceedings," "law firm," "discovery responses," and "trial preparation."

      Legal clerks earn a higher salary in the professional industry with an average of $47,359. Whereas, immigration paralegals earn the highest salary in the professional industry.

      The average resume of legal clerks showed that they earn lower levels of education to immigration paralegals. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 15.8% less. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 20.4%.