By Anayat Durrani
Having served over two decades as the one responsible for the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin, Charlie Oppenheim is the go-to guy when it comes to understanding the numerical control visa process. In his newest role he serves as Director of Visa Consulting and head of the Government Relations Group at WR Immigration.
He says he chose WR Immigration because he knew the firm would be a good fit that would allow him to optimize his ability to share his knowledge.
“I plan to continue to provide critical information to the public and to companies and executives to facilitate immigration planning programs,” says Oppenheim. “I will also be providing consulting services as to the impact of proposed legislation such as the newly proposed EAGLE Act.”
Journey from EB-5 visa control division to private consulting
For more than 43 years, Oppenheim worked for the U.S. Department of State as a consular officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs since 1979. He was the Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division in the Office of Domestic Operations from January 1998 through December 3, 2021, before retiring.
During his time at the DOS, he took part in a monthly YouTube feature called “Chats with Charlie” that was hosted by the Consular Affairs Press Office. At WR, he will be participating in a new monthly webinar called “Chatting with Charlie.”
“Everyone in the U.S. immigration industry acknowledges that Charlie is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to understanding the Visa Bulletin,” says Bernard Wolfsdorf, past national president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and managing partner of the WR Immigration. “He is uniquely qualified to answer questions and provide examples so that HR professionals and visa applicants will know what to expect regarding the immigrant or green card process.”
The first webinar will debut on December 15, 2022, and cover topics such as understanding retrogression and visa backlogs with a focus on predictions and trends to facilitate planning.
Oppenheim says these topics will be examined more in depth in later webinars, including commenting on developments in the monthly Visa Bulletin.
“The December webinar will answer many of the critical questions raised by the latest Visa Bulletin, including retrogression in some categories that has perplexed many,” says Oppenheim. “Thereafter, WR Immigration will be providing specific subject matter webinars including one on EB-5, that will help attendees understand reserved visas and the new set-aside allocation framework.”
The webinar will be held every month after the Visa Bulletin is published and will provide guidance and commentary.
“Most importantly, it will also focus on projections, predictions and guidance for strategic visa planning that will be invaluable to human resource managers, in addition to visa applicants,” says Wolfsdorf. “As Charlie says, no prediction is going to be perfect, but for most people understanding the waiting lines is close to impossible, even for experienced immigration lawyers.”
Experience to advise on legislation and visa numbers
Apart from the monthly webinar series, Oppenheim and WR immigration will schedule specific subject matter webinars.
“For example, dealing with the Chinese and Indian Visa waiting lines, where he will explain the new reserved visa set-asides that enable investors and regional centers to engage in strategic planning,” says Wolfsdorf.
Wolfsdorf says Oppenheim’s experience advising the White House and Congress on the impact of proposed legislation and regulation has enabled him to provide important advice to trade associations, Chambers of Commerce and multi-national corporations. In the EB-5 arena, Wolfsdorf says Oppenheim is among very few people who can decisively advise Regional Centers, investors, visa agents, and others raising capital on projected immigrant visa waiting lines.
“After 23 years of directing all numerically controlled visas in an extremely complicated system, Charlie is uniquely qualified in his understanding of how the process works,” says Wolfsdorf.
Oppenheim was recently recognized by AILA with their Founders Award, which is awarded to a person or entity having the most substantial impact on the field of immigration law or policy.
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