Welcome back! Thank you for following along with the series of Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency. In my last blog we covered case steps/reminders (commonly called case steps) and also known as work flows – Maximize Firm Productivity with Case Steps. For this blog I will discuss the importance and benefits of using the INSZoom Foreign National Portal to help improve efficiency within your firm. This blog will also help you see why it is useful to use those case steps/reminders!
Are you wondering what the Foreign National Portal (FNP) is? If you are unsure and never heard of it then shame, shame! The FNP is a valuable tool that all clients who use Enterprise and Professional Editions have access to and you can grant access to your clients/assignees/foreign nationals/employees. For purposes of this blog we are going to refer to them as foreign nationals.
By using the Foreign National Portal you can:
- Customize the portal to show only the information that you want the foreign national to see.
- Assign tasks, also known as “To Do” to your foreign national’s.
- Questionnaires that need to be completed.
- Forms that need to be reviewed and signed.
- Documents that need to be uploaded.
- Provide access to corporation travel policies and guidelines.
- Provide access to corporation related updates, news or travel alerts.
- Allow the foreign national to upload documents so they don’t need to be sent via email. This method is much more secure for the foreign national and it saves you time because once uploaded they are in INSZoom and you don’t need to upload them.
- Provide access to cases along with the status of the case so the foreign national can check on the case status without sending you an email.
- Allow them to view the case related emails and notes.
- View documents that you are tracking so they can see the expiration dates.
- If you track their international travel they can view information that is commonly needed for visa applications such as the country, arrival date, departure date, and departure city.
- View and see if their Status Documents are valid or expired and what the validity dates are.
- Set appointments with the foreign national that will appear on a calendar in the FNP.
- Allow the foreign national to check the status and the profile of their dependents.
- Depending on whether or not your firm subscribes to the “Advanced Case Request” you can grant access and allow the foreign national to request a new case from you.
As you can see from the lengthy list above, there is a lot that can be done with the Foreign National Portal. The wonderful thing is that each firm (this would be you) can customize the FNP to meet their needs and the needs of their clients. You can hide functions and areas you don’t want the foreign national to see and you can do it per corporation.
If you are using INSZoom and populating information in the system about each foreign national then it only makes sense to grant access to the foreign national’s. There are many benefits that result from granting access to the FNP and teaching your clients to use it.
A few of the benefits that result from using the FNP are:
- Reduce the amount of emails that come from the foreign national asking for an update on their immigration case. If you built the case steps that I taught you about in my last blog and they match the immigration process then the foreign national can login to the portal, check the status of their case and easily see where they are in the immigration process.
- Assign tasks to the foreign national so they know what is expected of them. Once the items have been completed they no longer show up in the FNP as “To Do” items. This helps to keep the foreign national on track and ensures that you have the info that you need in a timely manner.
- Track the expiration dates of their many documents from passports, visas, cases, I-94, I797, EAD, Green Card, and anything else you could possibly want to track! This will greatly help to reduce the emails that the foreign national will send to you asking for this information.
- Upload documents in a secure manner! Not only is it safer but it is faster. Many email servers have limits on the size of the documents that can be sent and received. If the foreign national is uploading documents directly into INSZoom then you don’t need to worry about the email getting bounced due to size limits. This also saves you a lot of time because you don’t need to upload their documents from your email into INSZoom.
- You are empowering your foreign national’s and they will feel more in control of their immigration process and aware of the status of their immigration case. Moving to a new country, packing up their household goods, finding schools for their children, obtaining passports, visas, work permits, residence permits, taking language classes among a host of other things is very stressful and overwhelming. This window into their immigration case might seem small but it goes a long way in reducing the stress to the foreign national. They can easily see what is going on and that you have everything immigration related taken care of.
To get started using the FNP if you have not used it before is to review how you are using INSZoom. Analyze the features that you are using and what information you would like to provide to your foreign national’s. Then review the needs of your corporate clients and discuss this option with them. You will need the support and approval of your corporate clients but if you think this would help you then by all means have a discussion with them. You have access to this fantastic tool and you should use it. If you do family law you will want to review the needs of your clients and if they will have access to the internet.
Once you have figured out what the needs of your clients are and how you want to use the FNP you will then want to customize it. If you only want to grant access to view case status then you can simply hide all of the features or sections that you don’t want the foreign national to see. Before you roll this out to your clients I recommend that you detail internally how you will grant access to the FNP, inform the foreign national and have hammered out all of your internal processes. I then recommend creating a guide or cheat sheet for the foreign national’s. Not everyone is tech savvy and having something drafted and available to send out will be helpful and much appreciated by your clients.
One important item I would like to mention before I close is that the FNP and the use of it will really help you if you competing in an RFP (Request for Proposal). Every single RFP that I have ever seen from a corporate client had a lot of questions about security and access to a portal for their employees. If you want to be able to compete in an RFP you will need to understand the FNP and how you are going to use it.
This is a screen shot of the Foreign National Portal that has information populated in it and all of the features available. Remember, for items that you don’t use or don’t want the foreign national to be able to view, you can hide them.
(click image to enlarge)
If you would like more information on using the Foreign National Portal please reach out to me, Christen Gause, for more information. I am happy to help and look forward to hearing from you.
Christen Gause, MBA
Manager, Business Development & Solutions | INSZoom.com, Inc. | email@example.com
Main: 925 244-0600 Ext 285