Practice and Industry Groups

Curtis Y. Chow

Associate Columbia

Curtis Y. Chow is a member of the Immigration, International, and Employment Practice Groups of Ogletree Deakins, representing employers in all aspects of U.S. immigration law and compliance, as well as international employment matters.  Based in the Columbia, South Carolina office, Curtis represents clients across the United States and internationally in a broad range of industries, including technology, retail, manufacturing, automotive, air transportation, biotechnology/biopharmaceuticals, education, entertainment, and professional services.

Curtis’ practice focuses on global workforce mobility matters, including work permit, visa, residency, and compliance issues.  He regularly assists employers in planning and executing strategies to employ foreign nationals in the United States, as well as to transfer employees between multinational operations abroad. In relation to U.S. immigration matters, Curtis frequently handles temporary work visa matters (including H-1B, L-1, E-2, O-1, and TN visas amongst others), as well as employment-based permanent residence matters (including permanent residence based upon Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher, Multinational Manager/Executive, National Interest Waiver, and PERM-based permanent resident categories).  With regard to global mobility matters, Curtis frequently assists multinational companies with assigning employees to various international jurisdictions, and advises clients on a broad range of legal issues, including work permits, compliance with foreign labor and employment laws, and other related issues faced by companies with operations overseas.

In addition to his mobility and immigration practice, Curtis possesses a broad range of experience in immigration compliance matters, regularly counseling employers in I-9 and E-Verify issues, including internal audits, government investigation, general compliance issues, and immigration related discrimination issues.  In addition to assisting employers with proactive compliance measures, Curtis also defends companies in federal employment discrimination claims, including actions alleging discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.


Business Immigration:

Provide comprehensive business immigration legal services – from initial consultation, to long-term strategic planning, to execution. Represent broad range of companies, from family businesses to Fortune 500 in obtaining temporary work visas and employment-based permanent residence for employees. Provide expertise in temporary visas (H-1B, L-1, E-2, E-3, O-1, TN, and B-1 visa), as well as employment-based permanent residence (all EB-1 categories, PERM-based categories, and National Interest Waivers). Extensive experience with obtaining “Outstanding Researcher” designation for employees in the biosciences and technology fields. 

  • Developed a comprehensive immigration strategy and counseled a multinational energy firm about relocating its entire research and development operating division to the United States from abroad.
  • Obtained numerous O-1 visas and green cards on the basis of Extraordinary Ability or Outstanding Researcher designation on behalf of:  professors, microbiologists, semiconductor engineers, biostatisticians, physicians, epidemiologists, computer architecture engineers, materials scientists, environmental scientists, performing artists, business persons, and in one instance, a barista.
  • Regularly handles H-1B and L-1 visa matters, and counsels employers on strategic and practical considerations of the same.  Experienced identifying government adjudication patterns and proactively preparing filings to conform to government expectations, as well as overcoming challenging requests for additional evidence.

Immigration Compliance:

Counsel employers in I-9 and E-Verify employment eligibility issues, including internal audits, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice investigations, general compliance issues, and immigration-related discrimination matters. Manage national-scale audits, provide risk assessments, and targeted advice for corrective action in connection with the same.

  • Developed policy and training materials for multiple Fortune 500 companies, including comprehensive I-9 E-Verify compliance protocols, audit and correction procedures, and training presentations.  Curtis has also conducted several large multi-state/national internal I-9 audits on behalf of employers.
  • Achieved a zero-fine “Warning Notice” on behalf of an employer in connection with an I-9 investigation initiated by the Department of Homeland Security, involving a workforce of more than 60% unauthorized workers.


Advise multinational companies regarding a broad range of international legal issues, including global workforce mobility, compliance with foreign labor and employment laws, extraterritorial application of U.S. employment laws, and other ancillary issues faced by companies with operations overseas. Manage international projects involving local counsel from all over the world, synthesizing complex, multi-jurisdictional information into simple, concise, and practical guidance for clients. Advise clients regarding international workforce mobility projects, and oversee execution of work permit/visa strategies in various international jurisdictions.

  • Prepared comprehensive legal overviews addressing employment, immigration, and payroll laws for jurisdictions all over the world, including:  Brunei, East Timor, Gabon, Greenland, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, and Vietnam.
  • Managed outbound immigration matters and work permit matters to jurisdictions outside of the United States, including Australia, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Turkey.


Defend clients in federal employment discrimination claims, including actions alleging discrimination, retaliation, and harassment (Title VII, ADEA, ADAAA, EPA, and IRCA). Prepare and advise concerning sufficiency of employment and severance contracts.  Provide clients with risk assessments and guidance concerning policy implementation and enforcement, disciplinary action, termination, and potential employment-related torts.

  • Obtained multiple “no cause” findings from the EEOC and Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Unfair-Immigration Related Employment Practices in connection with employment and immigration discrimination claims.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • South Carolina Bar Association
  • Richland County Bar Association
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • American Bar Association
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (Immigration Committee and Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • Columbia Opportunity Resource


  • Certificate in Employee Relations Law Series - ''Business Immigration: Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Categories, I-9 Recordkeeping Requirements, and Recent Developments in Business Immigration Issues'' - Columbia - June 12, 2014
  • Certificate in Employee Relations Law Series - ''Business Immigration: Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Categories and Recent Developments in Business Immigration Issues'' - Columbia - October 10, 2013
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association - Eastern Super Regional Conference (Moderator) - ''Tips, Trips and Traps of Doing Business Abroad'' - Atlantic City - June 02, 2012
  • Dorchester County Industrial Council Meeting - ''SCIIRA as Amended - SC Immigration Compliance in 2012'' - Summerville - February 04, 2012
  • Employment Law Update: Contemporary Challenges in a Changing Workplace Seminar - ''Employment Law Update: Immigration Compliance in 2012'' - Columbia - January 24, 2012
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association - ''Carolinas Chapter Meeting: SC Immigration Update'' - Columbia - August 12, 2011
  • Certificate in Employee Relations Law Series - ''Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Categories'' - Columbia - April 14, 2011
  • Certificate in Employee Relations Law Series - ''Recent Developments in Business Immigration Issues'' - Columbia - April 14, 2011
  • SCHI 2011 Trade Show & Seminars - ''Immigration and Employment Laws in South Carolina'' - Myrtle Beach - February 03, 2011
  • Dorchester County Industrial Council Meeting - ''SC Immigration Law & I-9 Compliance'' - Summerville - August 11, 2010
  • Certificate in Employee Relations Law Series - ''Overview of Business Immigration” and “H-1B temporary Work Visas for Specialty Occupation Workers'' - Columbia - April 07, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - ''Immigration Update: Recent Developments in LLR Enforcement Activities'' - Columbia - October 13, 2009

Published Works


Our Insights


Media Quotes

July 05, 2017 - MH&L News - "What an Employer Should Do When Immigration Officers Raid Your Business"
2011 - Lawyers as Employers: A Guide to South Carolina Employment Law for Small Firms and Solo Practitioners - "Federal and South Carolina Immigration Requirements (Co-Author)"