Employers know that immigration rules and regulations are ever-changing and increasingly aggressive audits and investigations by the Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are becoming more common. Our corporate and individual clients are assured by Masuda Funai's 80-year history as comprehensive legal counsel in all aspects of immigration law. In fact, we are among the larger immigration practices in the Midwest, annually representing nearly 300 corporate employers from diverse global industries, including publicly traded companies, privately held corporations, educational institutions, not-for-profit organizations and individuals. Immigration Group attorneys file approximately 2,500 petitions and applications with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and DOL each year.

Our clients are employers and individuals located throughout the U.S. and from more than 40 countries, including Japan, China, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Russia, England, France, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia and South Africa. And our experience spans many industries, including high tech and computer consulting, electronics, machine tool manufacturing, transportation, construction and equipment, health care, banking and financial services.

Masuda Funai Immigration Group attorneys are quickly aware of changes in immigration laws and processing procedures because we work closely and regularly with government agencies, embassies, consulates and immigration offices, and we are meticulous in maintaining positive working relationships with each one. Clients are promptly informed of changes and weekly updates are easily accessible on our website.

As proactive legal counsel, our Immigration attorneys conduct periodic informative seminars and tutorials for corporate clients, educational institutions and business associations on legal issues affecting businesses operating in the U.S. – particularly of value to overseas-owned companies. Masuda Funai's Immigration practice is conveniently located in Chicago's northwest suburban area, the primary business corridor for many multinational and foreign-owned businesses. And, we staff every matter so that each case receives ‘hands on' partner attention.

Our attorneys are frequent faculty and guest speakers at law and government-sponsored seminars and trade and cultural organizations. Recent organizations include, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio State Departments of Trade, Development and Cultural Affairs, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA), Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation (JASMEC), Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago (JCCC), and French-American Chamber of Commerce.

If you have any questions or would like further information about Masuda Funai's Immigration practice, please contact the Group's chair, Kathleen M. Gaber, at 847.734.8811 or via e-mail at

The following are a few of the principal services provided by the Immigration Group.

Nonimmigrant Visas. The Immigration Group represents employers and individuals in obtaining, extending and renewing all types of nonimmigrant visas. The Immigration Group also advises clients in the myriad issues affecting foreign nationals living in the United Sates

Common visa categories include:

  • Business and Tourist, including entering the U.S. under Visa Waiver Pilot Program (B-1/B-2 visas WB/WT Classifications)
  • Treaty Traders and Investors (E-1 and E-2 visas)
  • Students and Exchange Visitors (F-1 and J-1 visas)
  • Specialty Occupation and Training Program Participants (H-1B and H-3 visas)
  • Temporary Employment for Skilled, Unskilled and Professional Positions (H-2B visas)
  • Intracompany Transferees (L-1 visas)
  • Individuals of Extraordinary Ability (O-1 visas)
  • Cultural Entertainers (P-3 visas)
  • Religious Workers (R-1 visas)
  • NAFTA Professionals (TN visas)

Immigrant Visas and Naturalization. The Immigration Group assists individuals and employers in obtaining lawful permanent resident status (commonly known as the "the green card") and helps permanent residents to become naturalized U.S. citizens, including:

  • Guiding clients through the DOL's PERM process
  • Assisting multinational executives and managers, individuals of extraordinary ability and outstanding professors and researchers in avoiding the PERM process
  • Counseling and assisting clients on a case-by-case basis in completing the permanent residence process through either the adjustment of status procedure in the U.S. or through a U.S. consular post abroad
  • Representing clients in obtaining lawful permanent resident status on the basis of family relationships and the diversity visa lottery

Corporate Record Keeping and Compliance. The Immigration Group counsels employers in record keeping and compliance matters, including:

  • Counseling on the immigration effects of corporate restructuring
  • Counseling clients and conducting internal audits of Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification system and the Labor Condition Application's Public Access File system to assure regulatory compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (formerly the enforcement part of the INS) and the DOL
  • Representing employers during DOL and ICE audits and investigations, as well as during Social Security Administration inquiries

Esther Contreras
Office: Schaumburg
Phone:  847.734.8811

Bryan Y. Funai
Office: Schaumburg
Phone:  847.734.8811

Kathleen M. Gaber
Office: Schaumburg
Phone:  847.734.8811

Colin Hara
Office: Chicago
Phone:  312.245.7500

Joji Kagei
Office: Los Angeles
Phone:  310.630.5900

Eldon H. Kakuda
Office: Schaumburg
Phone:  847.734.8811

Fazila Vaid
Office: Schaumburg
Phone:  847.734.8811

Robert S. White
Office: Schaumburg
Phone:  847.734.8811


  • H-1B STATUS. Obtained H-1B status for advanced practice nurses and non-traditional professional occupations by thoroughly documenting for the USCIS that the positions qualify as "specialty occupations."

  • H-2B STATUS. Assisted companies to overcome seasonal and peakload worker shortages for various unskilled and non-professional positions through H-2B petitions.

  • H-3 STATUS. Routinely process H-3 trainee visas in a variety of industries including transportation, production/manufacturing, distribution, financial and freight forwarding.

  • I-140 PROCESS. Advise companies about structuring their finances in order to satisfactorily document their ability to pay the offered wage as part of the employment-based immigrant visa process.

  • L-1 BLANKET. Successfully obtained L Blanket classification for both small multinational companies, with as few as five subsidiary/branch offices, as well as for large multinational companies with more than 15 subsidiaries/branch offices.

  • L-1 STATUS. Spearheaded effort by local immigration attorneys group to successfully argue for correction of several improper adjudications of L-1B petitions made by USCIS examiners.

  • LABOR CERTIFICATION PROCESS. Successfully overcame objections by the State Workforce Agencies and DOL Regional Offices about prevailing wage issues and specific minimum requirements in the labor certification process.

  • O-1 STATUS. Procured O-1 visas for individuals with extraordinary ability in a vast variety of unusual business, athletic and artistic occupations, including, but not limited to: BMX riders, chorus singer, farm manager, synchronized skating coach and performance rider.

  • P-3 STATUS. Represented corporations, as well as cultural and governmental organizations, in sponsoring P-3 entertainers for cultural performances and entertainment events.

  • TN STATUS. Provided comprehensive assistance to clients in overcoming denials in TN classification for high tech occupations, as well as for management consultants, through the drafting of employee handbooks, industry letters and a wide variety of academic and educational evaluations to overcome initial deficiencies in documentation or concerns.

  • ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS. Counseled clients to overcome grounds of inadmissibility in the adjustment of status process, so that they would not have to rely upon Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

  • CONSULAR PROCESSING. Assisted clients in completing the employment-based immigrant visa process through the U.S. consulates abroad as quickly as possible, by tracking files and timely responding to inquiries from the National Visa Center and the consulates.

  • DEFERRED INSPECTION. Prevailed in several deferred inspection proceedings in gaining admission to the United States for individuals whose admissibility had been questioned at ports of entry.

  • DOL AUDITS. Successfully defended a consulting company with more than 6,000 employees during H-1B Labor Condition Applicant audit by the DOL and assisted the company in avoiding a significant monetary civil penalty.

  • E STATUS. Qualified companies/individuals for E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader/Investor visas from Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Canada.

  • EB-1 MULTINATIONAL MANAGERS AND EXECUTIVES. Procured employment-based immigrant visas for functional managers.

  • EB-1 RESEARCHERS. Obtained employment-based immigrant visas for junior researchers by thoroughly documenting their outstanding ability in their academic field.