Immigration - Related Due Diligence in Mergers and Acquisitions: Impact on Work Visas and Permanent Immigration Processes – United States

Julie Lessard, Partner, BCF LLP, Canada
Olga Prygoda, Solicitor, BCF LLP, Canada
Mark Girgis, Chief Legal Officer, Hypertec Group, Canada

As global mergers and acquisitions are forecasted to continue strong in 2023, albeit more frequent and smaller in size, an informed in-house counsel must understand how these transactions and resulting reorganizations will impact their foreign workforce in the United States and include immigration in the due diligence process. The authors of this article will discuss best practices in managing and maintaining foreign national workforce status during mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, restructurings, and other significant events that may occur in the business operations. The subjects covered include the concept of “successor in interest” and absorbing the obligations of acquired companies; amending existing immigration documents for compliance; work permit compliance in the M&A context, including L-1 Intracompany Transferees, H-1B Specialty Occupations, and E-1 Treaty Investor and E-2 Treaty Trader visas; understanding immigration related risks in M&A ; and conducting immigration due diligence prior to closing to avoid penalties and disruptions, including the effect on pending permanent residence (“Green Card”) applications.

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Employment IT January 2023 Vol.16, No. 62, Winter 2023

Julie Lessard


Partner and Head of the Business Immigration team, Julie Lessard heads one of the largest teams of business immigration professionals in Canada. She has over 20 years of experience in this complex field. She advises both multinationals and small- and medium-sized businesses on how to attract top global talent be it to innovate, to benefit from a global knowledge or to meet specialized workforce needs. Julie develops immigration and/or global mobility strategies for several Fortune 500 companies. She has the skills, the expertise and the experience needed to implement immigration strategies that facilitate the global hiring of senior executives, skilled workers and professionals from all jurisdictions around the world. She frequently speaks at conferences in Quebec and internationally, particularly in the areas of immigration law and workforce mobility. She is also regularly invited by the media to provide expert commentary on these matters. Julie was named one of Lexpert’s Leading Lawyers Under 40 in 2010. Her peers selected her as one of the best immigration lawyers in Canada in the Best Lawyers rankings, in which she has appeared since 2014. She generously donates her time to several social and humanitarian causes. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Quebec Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce of Canada (AmCham) and a member of the Government Relations Committee of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC).

Olga Prygoda


Olga Prygoda is a U.S. licensed attorney, member of the Washington State Bar specializing in business immigration law with specific focus on work permits and employment-based permanent residence in the United States and immigration practice under USMCA (formerly NAFTA), investor and trader visas, intracompany transfers and extraordinary ability cases. Olga graduated with an LLM in U.S. Law from the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University and an LLB (Common Law) from the University of London, England. Before joining BCF, Olga worked at a prominent think tank in Washington, D.C., where she focused on U.S. immigration policy research and U.S.-Russian bilateral relations. She is also the recipient of a number of prestigious international scholarships, including the U.S. Department of State’s Edmund E. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program (2001-2003); and has interned with The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. Olga is fluent in English, French, and Russian.

Mark Girgis


Mark P. Girgis is Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of the Hypertec Group, a global provider of information technology solutions that includes the production and distribution of servers, workstations and personal computers, business resiliency services, home health monitoring support services and value-added services. Mr. Girgis manages all legal affairs of the corporation including negotiating and structuring complex domestic and international transactions, mergers and acquisitions, human resources and employment law including international mobility, contracts, overseeing corporate governance, and managing legal disputes.

Employment IT January 2023 Vol.16, No. 62, Winter 2023