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What a high number of H-1B petitions means for employers [Video]

posted by: INSZoom date: May 13, 2015 News comments: Comments Off on What a high number of H-1B petitions means for employers [Video]

For the third year in a row, the H-1B cap was reached within days of the season opening. 

What should employers expect now that H-1B season is already closed? U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has a federally mandated cap of 85,000 H-1B visas per year, including the advanced degree exemption. The number of applications varies each year based on economic factors. For example, during the recession the cap often did not fill up for months after the annual H-1B season opened in April. This year, USCIS only accepted petitions for five days before closing the season. 

This means employers that hire H-1B employees only have a one in three chance of getting their petitions approved. Unless the cap increases, next year’s H-1B season will likely see a high number of applications because those who don’t qualify this year may try to reapply during the next season. 

Thanks for watching and keep up with INSZoom for more immigration news. 

date:  May 13, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on What a high number of H-1B petitions means for employers [Video]
by:  INSZoom category:  News Read More

Make the move to digital intake forms [VIDEO]

posted by: INSZoom date: May 11, 2015 Immigration case management comments: Comments Off on Make the move to digital intake forms [VIDEO]

Transcript

Standard practice for years has included paper intake forms for new or prospective clients. However, the rise of the digital age is making your paper forms obsolete.

Instead of a piece of paper that can get pushed to the back of a filing cabinet, you should use digital client intake forms. Digital forms are stored in and easily accessed from your cloud-based immigration case management program.

Potential clients can be sent to the client portal, where they can create a login and fill in your template or customized questionnaire. Your case management platform can then be set to create reminders to check back in with these newcomers to solidify a relationship and gain new work.

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

date:  May 11, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Make the move to digital intake forms [VIDEO]
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration case management Read More

Are you taking advantage of email marketing? Part 2

posted by: INSZoom date: May 01, 2015 News comments: Comments Off on Are you taking advantage of email marketing? Part 2
Email marketing can make a big difference for law firms.

Email marketing is an excellent promotional strategy for law firms, but they need to have a strong understanding of the current best practices. The first part of this series covered email return on investment, the importance of subscriptions and segmentation and targeting. However, there is a lot more to know about successful email campaigns to drive results. Here are some tips to craft compelling email messages:

Be concise
Keep messages shorter for higher levels of engagement with clients. In addition, every email should have a single purpose. It may be tempting for firms to include a large amount of information in one message with the thought that it's better to convey everything at once. However, prospects may immediately delete the message after opening it and seeing a huge block of text. Sticking with one takeaway and a clear call to action in each email gives clients a way to interact with law firms, according to the National Law Review. Newsletter formats can still work for a law firm's audience, but it may be better to link to articles rather than include the full text. 

The rule of being concise applies to creating a subject line section and a body section with unique headings. Shorter phrases grab prospects' attention, but they do not need to be overly creative. Headlines that get to the point lead to a higher open rate. It's important not to write in all caps or use multiple exclamations because this can cause emails to be sent to the spam folder. With INSZoom, firms can generate bulletins and relevant messages to avoid overloading one message with too much content. 

As mobile email becomes more popular, it's important to consider the formatting of the CTA button. Links are hard to click with a fingertip, so buttons may be a better choice.Call to action
Calls to action inform readers of the next step they should take. For example, if firms want them to fill out a form on the website or contact an attorney for more information, this needs to be made explicit. Use a contrasting button or bold link to draw readers' attention.

Mobile emails
A firm's best hope of reaching a busy individual may be through clients' mobile devices. In fact, a study from Yesmail found 40 percent of all email opens come from smartphones and tablets, which was a 10 percent year-over-year increase. Mobile clicks have grown every year, so this trend will be important for all email marketers. 

If a law firm's clients spend a great deal of time on the go, emails need to be optimized for mobile. Recipients shouldn't have to zoom in or scroll sideways to read the message. Additionally, too many images can slow down the loading speed on a mobile device.

Mobile email is taking off.Mobile email is taking off.

Use INSZoom to connect with clients
Email is a valuable tool to continue client relationships, even during the slow parts of immigration cases. INSZoom makes it easy to communicate with clients. Lawyers can send predetermined alerts and reminders for case milestones, meetings and compliance requirements. These alerts make it simpler to keep clients in the loop and prevent missed deadlines. Attorneys can send manual or automated emails for expiration dates, compliance requirements and meeting reminders. 

In addition, immigration law firms can use the broadcast message feature to send mass communications to clients about major news, changes in immigration regulations or changes at the firm. When the list is segmented between prospective and current clients, it's easy to target each group with the right content. 

date:  May 01, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Are you taking advantage of email marketing? Part 2
by:  INSZoom category:  News Read More

Change your end-of-the-day routine for greater productivity

posted by: INSZoom date: May 01, 2015 Money and time saving tips comments: Comments Off on Change your end-of-the-day routine for greater productivity
Changing your routine and prioritizing tasks helps you manage your workload.

Immigration lawyers frequently have more responsibilities than they have time in the day. Allowing work to pile up leads to many late nights and poor work-life balance. Leaving at 5 or 6 p.m. may seem like an impossible dream for many attorneys, but legal professionals can accomplish everything they need to and leave the office at a reasonable time if they change their routine at the end of the day. 

The nature of work has undeniably changed since the recession. Although technology has given people ways to work more efficiently, many organizations still try to do more with fewer workers to reduce costs. Employees may end up multitasking even though this isn't always the most efficient way to approach certain tasks. In these situations, attorneys often find themselves sitting at their desks at 5 p.m. with a long list of responsibilities to do the next day. 

In addition to staffing concerns, job responsibilities and organizational structures constantly change, adding to the productivity challenges people already face on a daily basis.

While it's easy to feel burned out, especially during busier periods of the year, ending the day in a certain way sets the stage for greater productivity the next day. However, it can be hard to set time aside to take stock of which tasks were completed and what still needs to be accomplished when there is already so much to do. 

Changing your routine at the end of the day can reduce stress.Changing your routine at the end of the day can reduce stress.

Track time and get organized for improved productivity
Ultimately, there may be a disconnect between what employees think they are doing and how they are really spending their time, according to Forbes. Additionally, law firms need to realize that excessive internal meetings can harm productivity. 

Many problems with productivity don't stem from having too much to do, but rather a lack of visibility into your workflow. Attorneys typically know how they spend billable time, but what about the rest of the day? Multitasking or other parts of the day that waste time may take up hours. Prioritizing your to-do list can help you ensure the most important tasks are finished first. Focusing on time-sensitive items that need to be handled by a lawyer can help you delegate or eliminate unnecessary work. It also may be helpful to plan your to-do list for the next day before leaving the office. This helps you have a better idea of what to do in the morning to avoid a slump in productivity.

Handle nonessential tasks at the end of the day
Certain paperwork, phone calls and emails can fall to the wayside during a busy day. Wrapping the day up with these tasks allows you to get started on the next set of time-sensitive responsibilities the next morning. During peak hours, lawyers should be meeting with clients and completing tasks with deadlines to avoid staying late. Correspondence and some paperwork can wait until the last hour of the workday. However, it's important not to get sucked into last-minute email responses that take up a significant amount of time.

Taking a little time at the end of the day to organize paperwork can improve the start of the next day as well. It prevents you from having to find files first thing in the morning.

Tracking time with INSZoom gives law firms better visibility into how each day is spent, which improves productivity. A comprehensive case management program helps attorneys work more efficiently and adhere to all deadlines from the beginning of a case to the end. Without a robust system in place, lawyers may find themselves spending many late nights at the office and still feeling overwhelmed. Accomplishing tasks correctly the first time can help a firm achieve a better work-life balance. 

date:  May 01, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Change your end-of-the-day routine for greater productivity
by:  INSZoom category:  Money and time saving tips Read More

Stress management tips for your next H-1B season

posted by: INSZoom date: Apr 27, 2015 Compliance, Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips comments: Comments Off on Stress management tips for your next H-1B season
Use technology and start early to reduce the stress of your next H-1B season.

Was the stress of the most recent H-1B season too much to handle? If you came into work early, stayed late, felt like you had too much on your plate – or worse – if you didn't get some of your applications in on April 1, you need to better prepare to manage your stress next year. 

"Case management software is the biggest favor you can do for yourself."

Follow these tips to look forward to a more manageable H-1B season:

  • Start as early as possible. The end of any year is a great time to get organized and connect with your clients and potential hires. December may be too early to know who will need an H-1B application, but it's not too soon to start figuring it out. By the end of the January, you should have your H-1B application needs solidified.
  • Touch base with other stakeholders. You may be responsible for completing H-1B applications, but others in the company may know eligible candidates or have other information. Check in with human resources, recruiters and employees to ensure you know whose applications to move forward with.
  • Invest in necessary technology. Manually tracking numerous H-1B applications is tedious and stress-inducing. Investing in immigration case management software is the biggest favor you can do for yourself, as it allows you to set up new case files, easily gather client information, establish the most efficient workflow and track deadlines.
  • Set a clear schedule for your clients. Initial hold up can come from your clients not providing the documents you need right away. Use your CMS to set due dates and send reminders to your clients.
  • Prepare for delays. Start early and expect something to hold you back. If you submit your Labor Condition Applications and other pre-H-1B forms as early as possible, your entire schedule isn't delayed if something unexpected comes up.
  • Take stock of your work at the end of each day. Starting in January, you should check in with your H-1B applications regularly. It's best to spare 10 minutes at the end of each day to check your calendar, see what you're waiting on and what you need get going on the next day.
  • Leave work behind. It can be tempting to check your work email during the evening or bring files home, but it's best to give yourself a work-free zone. It's easiest to do this after work each day. Make yourself a nice dinner, catch up on your favorite show and get a good night's sleep.
date:  Apr 27, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Stress management tips for your next H-1B season
by:  INSZoom category:  Compliance, Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips Read More
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