Immigrant Architects and Visa Challenges

  • Date

    Friday, September 30 2022

  • Time

    12:00pm - 1:30pm

  • Location


To be successful in the architecture profession, immigrant architects must overcome a unique combination of educational, monetary, and cultural challenges.

This candid discussion sheds light on Architecture firm owners and HR who provide job opportunities and visa support for immigrant architects. From the job post, recruiting, visa sponsorship, and other support, each of our distinguished panelists' shares these encountered challenges and their perspectives regarding immigrant architects’ support.

In this panel, we will focus on immigrant architects’ visa challenges and business owners' concerns about recruiting. HR comes from Perkins Eastman and HOK will share the details about the visa application process including application fees and timeline and other benefits or opportunities for the immigrant architects recruiting. Architecture firm owners will share their questions and thoughts from their side too. At last, we will return to the AIA platform and discuss how can the AIA support both sides and create a better working environment for immigrant architects and business owners.

Learning Objectives:

  • Summarize the steps, timeline and fees in applying for a working visa
  • Explain employer’s responsible for the expenses of applying to and processing a work visa
  • Understand the employers’ perspective about recruiting and job offer consideration, communicate with the HR and immigrant architects for their better job apply preparation.
  • Collect the suggestions and thoughts for AIA|DC visa support work, providing a better platform for the immigrant architects and architecture business owners.

Presented by:

Image of Melody Fahie

Melody Fahie

HR Generalist - Immigration Specialist, Perkins Eastman Architects DPC

With over 20 years of experience, Melody is recognized as an Associate within the firm. Her passion in the workplace is to ensure employees' current and prospective hires feel engaged and welcomed. In addition, she has gained substantial experience working in areas of recruiting to onboarding of new employees, procuring visa applications and renewals while ensuring continuity of eligibility for US employment.


Image of Bree Pirkhezranian

Bree Pirkhezranian

Sr. Human Resources Manager, HOK

Bree provides HR support and strategic HR management for HOK’s Washington, DC, Atlanta, Tampa and Miami offices. Prior to joining HOK in 2012, Bree gained valuable HR experience at Tektronix Service Solutions, an Engineering Testing Service firm; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage; and InfoPro, a government contractor. Throughout her 20 years working in all aspects of HR, helping others has been her top priority.


Photo of Ronald Schneck

Ronald Schneck, AIA

Founding Principal, Square 134 Architects

Ron is the founding principal of Square 134 Architects, a full-service architectural design firm in Washington, D.C. specializing in design for multi-family residential, custom single-family residential, commercial and adaptive reuse. Mr. Schneck established Square 134 Architects in 2006. Since then, in addition to focusing on academic responsibilities as adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, he has designed numerous projects, most of which have been in response to the unprecedented growth of the multi-family residential market in DC.


Photo of Will Teass

Will Teass

Co-founder and Managing Principal, Teass\Warren Architects

Will is an experienced Architect with a demonstrated history of working in the architecture & planning industry with a focus in high-end single family residential, multi-family infill housing, mixed-use, and commercial design. Will has extensive experience with local zoning and historic preservation review boards, as well as a hands-on approach for working with local building departments to guide projects through the design and approvals. He dedicated to developing long-term relationships with clients, consultants and contractors to ensure successful project outcomes. Constantly seeking to improve the built environment, as well as our design and documentation process.

Organized by:


AIA|DC Equity Committee by WIELD

AIA|DC Latin American Interior Designers, Engineers, and Architects Committee (LA.IDEA)

Asian American Designers Union (AADU)

Sponsored by:

Square 134 Architects

Square 134 Architects logo