Episode 19: It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right: Fraudulent Marriages, Workplace Relationships, and the H-1B Visa in The Proposal

In this episode, Shai and Roderick conclude the Hasta La Visa, Baby Rom-Com Fraudulent Marriage Extravaganza Series by discussing The Proposal staring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Most importantly, they dive deep into what happens when a boss forces her subordinate colleague to marry her solely for the purpose of attaining a U.S. Green Card. They also bring in a special guest to talk about labor and employment law considerations of such behavior in the corporate workplace.

The Immigration concepts they will explore include the marriage based Green Card sponsorship process and the H-1B visa. Plus, did Betty White save this movie?

Listen to the episode:

Show Notes

Welcome to this episode of Hasta La Visa, Baby – a podcast that takes a deep dive into US immigration law and its relation to fictitious characters in television and film!  Host Shai Dion is an immigration attorney with Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, and he is based in Los Angeles, CA.  He is joined for this episode – as for all other episodes! – by his New York-based friend and colleague, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty immigration attorney Roderick Potts.  Together, Shay and Roderick demystify immigration law by focusing each episode on a particular work featuring a foreign national living in the US.  They discuss the show or movie, zeroing in on this character to speculate on his/her visa status and possible problems associated with living in the US, and to summarize a hypothetical law consultation with the character.  The only rule?  Each episode assumes the character lives in a modern-day US!

Today, Shai and Roderick discuss The Proposal, a 2009 romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Margaret, the main character and Canadian national, lives and works in New York but has been told that her visa application was denied and she would be deported. In order to stay in the U.S., she lies to her bosses and to the immigration office about being engaged to her American colleague Andrew. Eventually, the two actually fall in love and decide to get married for real, implying that Margaret will be allowed to remain in the country.

We know that Margaret is in the U.S. working as an editor in chief of a publishing company and pursuing a visa, but we don’t know what kind of visa she could have actually had. Some visas for professional working people include the TN visa classification, O1 visa, L1 visa and H1B specialty occupation visa. The H1B visa is the most likely one for her situation and it is also one of the most popular and talked about visas in the country.

The H1B visa is filed by an employer for a candidate they want to hire. A person can qualify for the visa if they are coming to work in the U.S. for a specialty occupation. It requires at least a Bachelor’s Degree, and the specific work field has to be directly related to the candidate’s area of study. The initial visa is valid for 3 years, then the employer can file an extension petition requesting an additional 3 years. It would be reasonable to assume that Margaret’s high up position would require her to hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in something like English or communications.

Next, Robert Tracy, Labor and Employment Partner at Gibney, joins the podcast for a special crossover segment to discuss the potential blackmailing initiated by Margaret towards Andrew. Then, Roderick and Shai unpack the accuracy of the immigration issues presented in the movie. The episode wraps up with final takeaways about the movie


Learn more about the H-1 B visa.
Learn more about the movie featured in this episode: The Proposal.
Learn more about Shai Dayan, Roderick Potts, and Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, LLP.
Connect with us at hastalavisa@gibney.com.
Please subscribe, rate, share with friends, and make sure to tune in for our next episode!

© Copyright 2000- 2023, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, LLP. All Rights Reserved. Attorney Advertising.