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In this segment, attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq., addresses common E visa myths and the facts surrounding the E visa program.


Here are the common myths and misconceptions that clients have about the E visa program:

The first myth is that you need to invest more than $100,000 to be able to obtain the E visa. This is not true. According to the law, in order to qualify for an E visa, the investment amount must be reasonable. The amount you will invest will depend on the type of business you trying to set up. For example, if you are interested in starting a consulting company, a reasonable amount would be $50,000 or higher depending on your expenses. If you are looking to start a restaurant, $50,000 would likely not be enough to cover your expenses. When considering how much money to invest, you must first determine the kind of business you want to invest in, and how much money you will need to properly set up the business and cover your expenses. We recommend that investors develop a 5-year business plan to explain how the investment funds will be allocated to cover the company’s expenses over an extended period of time. The business plan will also project the company’s growth and other important factors.

Keep in mind that the lower the amount is that you have invested in the business, the more you are going to have to spend from that money, before the case is filed with USCIS. Before a case is submitted to USCIS, most of the money must be invested in the new company, to show USCIS that your investment is committed and at risk.

The second myth is that investment in real estate qualifies for the E visa program. Unfortunately, investing in real estate is not sufficient for E visa purposes. To qualify for the E visa program, the new business must be active. Additionally, you must demonstrate to USCIS that new jobs will be created for Americans and that the company will generate revenues in the future.

Another question that typically comes up is whether E visa holders can work from home. In some cases, yes E visa holders may be able to work from home. We strongly advise against this. The more documented evidence the E visa holder can provide USCIS to prove that their investment is at risk, the higher the likelihood that the E visa will be approved. If you are running your business from home, there may be a presumption that you are minimizing your investment, and that your investment is not at risk. It is typically discouraged to set up the business from home for this reason.

Another common question is whether an investor can move money to the US, and upon approval of the E visa, transfer the money back to a foreign account. The answer is no. The money that you invest in the new company must be committed and at risk. If you transfer the money abroad once your E visa has been approved, you will not be able to extend your E visa, and you may potentially run the risk of being investigated by USCIS for fraud.

Overall there is no set amount that you need to invest, you cannot invest in real estate for E visa purposes, and it is not recommended that you work from home.

To learn more about the E visa, and other work visas please click here. Please call our office for a consultation.

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In this video, we cover the requirements for winning self employment H1B and the possibility of whether an H1B can lead to a Green Card.

Did you know that forty percent of Fortune 500 companies in the United States were started by immigrants or the children of immigrants. From 1995 to 2005, half of Silicon Valley startups had an immigrant founder and in 2005 alone those businesses did $52 billion in sales creating more than 400,000 jobs. Iconic American companies that built whole new industries like US Steel, Dupont, Google, eBay, Honeywell, and Intel were started by immigrant founders. Chobani Yogurt, founded in 2005 by the immigrant entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya in upstate New York, has created 1,500 American jobs.

Just as we find common ground that unites families and protects communities, so too should we ensure that the world’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs who are educated in our great universities are able to stay and contribute, rather than be forced to set up competitor businesses abroad. Many end up leaving because our visa options for self employed founders are limited.

Foreign Start Up founders often struggle with visa options to stay and launch a company in the US. The options are limited, if your country is part of a US Investment treaty, one can apply for the E2 visa and start a small company by investing some money. If you have a million dollars, you could also invest in your business, and could apply for the EB5 Immigrant Visa. But what if you don’t have money, and your country is not a member of the E2 treaty? Well until recently you were out of luck.

Now we have more options to offer our clients due to some changes to the H1B work visa. On Aug. 2, 2011, the USCIS announced a number of immigration initiatives to boost the economy by attracting and retaining foreign entrepreneurs. Rather than tackling the nearly impossible task of passing immigration legislation in the Congress, the Administration has decided to re-interpret the current immigration laws in favor of foreign entrepreneurs.

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As April 2014 is approaching, we would like to remind our readers to start preparing for H-1B filing. As you may already know, there is a numerical limit on the H-1B visas allotted for each fiscal year. There are 65,000 H-1B visas available with additional 20,000 visas for those with U.S. Master’s degrees. What is important is that visas are not recaptured if H-1B is not approved, thus only 65,000 first filed H-1B petitions will be considered.

April 1 is the first day when you can file a cap-subject H-1B petition. If you do not file on April 1, you risk not getting into the cap. Even though the application is in April, the H-1B employee will not be available to start working for the employer until the beginning of the fiscal year, which is October 1, with the limited exceptions described below.

Things to do before the application period begins:

1. Interview and find an employer who is willing to sponsor H-1B visa

This can be a daunting task for foreign nationals but is doable especially if the employer knows what H-1B visa is and what is required from them. A lot of employers are hesitant to hire foreign labor because of a few misconceptions about the process. The most common misconceptions are described below.

Myth: H-1B process is so complex and lengthy that it is not even worth trying

Reality: Despite certain complexities of the process, an immigration lawyer will take the employers through each step of the application making it as easy and painless as possible. The immigration lawyer will also be able to advise the employers on the proper H-1B recordkeeping and compliance procedures to protect the employers’ interests.

Even though adjudication of H-1B visa may take some time, the employers are always given an option to apply for Premium Service with USCIS, which guarantees 15-day processing of H-1B visa petition. Of course, even though the petition is approved, the H-1B worker cannot use it until October 1, but there are exceptions for OPT holders, which will be described below.

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Great article by our Law Clerk, Andrew Desposito about Arizona Style Immigration movement. An immigrant-rights group has released a report predicting that 25 states may try next year to pass anti-illegal-immigration laws similar to Arizona’s controversial legislation.

The number of states considering legislation modeled after SB1070, the bill that Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law this spring, is apparently growing: Earlier, pro-enforcement groups said 22 states were considering the bill, the Washington Independent’s Elise Foley notes.

The new efforts are going forward even after a federal judge ruled key parts of the Arizona law unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement in Arizona in July. That decision is now under appeal before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court.

Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina are most likely to pass a similar law next year, the new report says. Tennessee, Utah, Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Colorado, Virginia, Minnesota, Missouri, Idaho and Kansas made the report’s “maybe” list. In Maryland, Nevada, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Rhode Island, the legislation is seen as less likely to pass.

The report notes that from 2006 to 2008, municipalities passed a host of local laws and statutes cracking down on employers hiring illegal immigrants.

This next wave of legislation, the report says, will be aimed at getting local law enforcement to check immigration status in routine police stops, as SB1070 mandates.

Such a trend only goes to show how reactionary immigration views have become since Arizona passed SB1070. Because there has been so much talk about how the Federal government has not done enough to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to the U.S., more and more people in other states are identifying with Arizona and its current attempt to curtail illegal immigration through their state legislatures. As evidenced above, more states look to address the issue in the coming year.

Lawmakers may be influenced by how the Ninth Circuit rules on SB1070, and how the Supreme Court rules on the state’s 2007 employer-sanction law passed. Finances may also influence local politicians’ decisions, as more immigration-related arrests and court battles end up costing cities and counties that adopt such rules.

One industry stands to benefit from such laws. In Arizona’s case, the private prison industry helped guide the process that made SB1070 law and even gave the legislation its name while working with legislators, NPR reports. Thirty of the cosponsors to SB1070 later received money from the private prison industry or its lobbyists. With certain lobbyists behind the push for such a law, it is a concern that not only those who hold conservative views on immigration would be behind passing such a law, but also those who stand to benefit financially as well.

Of course, if more people voice their concerns over such laws in the states considering such an anti-immigration law, then perhaps there will be more discussion in the Federal government for what it will do to prevent states from entering the area of regulating immigration.

Hong Kong welcomed a record 3.4 million visitors in August, its highest-ever monthly figure, tourism officials said Thursday. The total was 21 per cent higher than the same month in 2009 and brought the total arrivals so far this year to 23.5 million, a year-on-year increase of 24 per cent.

Both the short and long-haul markets increased, according to figures from the Hong Kong Tourism Board. However, mainland China still accounted for the largest proportion of the influx. Of the total arrivals, 61 per cent, or 2.4 million visitors, were from mainland China, a 28-per-cent increase on August 2009.

The Tourism Board said the growth was fueled by the peak summer travel season and the implementation of a scheme for residents in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that made it easier for them to come to Hong Kong.

A Ukrainian citizen has approached the Bombay High Court against the Ministry of External Affairs, India, challenging a policy that mandates a minimum annual salary of $25,000 (over Rs. 11 lakh) as compulsory requirement for getting an employment visa. On June 3, she made an application to the Indian embassy in Kiev for an employment visa along with all supporting documents of her employer. “Petitioner submits that she was curtly told by the consul officer at the embassy that she would not be granted employment visa as the rule has been introduced from April 2010 mandating a salary in India equivalent to $25,000 per annum for issuance of an employment visa.”
It is now mandatory for any foreign worker to have an annual salary above Rs. 11 lakh to get an Indian employment visa. Many companies across the country hire foreigners legally at lower salaries though it’s not a publicized fact. Ms. Stelmakh Leonid Lulia, 25, was not granted visa by the Indian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. She explains that her job at J P Morgan will lapse if she does not join in a week’s time. “This is a sensitive constitutional matter on foreigners’ right to employment and will have wide ramifications on foreign employees in the Indian services industry,” says Prashant Uchil, Stelmakh’s counsel.

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council, which runs the registration service, stated, “a report was made by us to the UK Border Agency about concerns regarding a potential sham marriage”. He continued, “Oxfordshire County Council registration service takes such matters extremely seriously and we have a statutory duty to report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.”
UK immigration officials have arrested a couple just minutes from getting married. The registrar at the Oxfordshire Register Office tipped off police that the wedding, between a 30-year-old Indian man and a 19 year-old Polish woman, was sham. Some 529 suspected sham marriages were reported by registrars last year, up by 54 per cent on the year before. This indicates that a growing number of people are looking to gain UK marriage visas through unscrupulous means.

UK immigration official, Terry Gibbs, from the UK Border Agency explained how registrars spot a sham wedding: People who plan on getting married have to have an interview beforehand to give notice of their wedding. Registrars do this day in and day out, so if they believe something is not quite right with the couple, they notify us.

Great poem by Leslie Holman, AILA Secretary, 5/7/10
They’ll take you out of the ball game
They’ll pick you out of the crowd.

They’ll hand you a warrant, your bags they will pack
They’ll make sure you never get back
‘Cause they root, root root
For their “home” team.

If you’re not white it’s a shame.

Don’t say uno, dos, or tres strikes
you’re out
At an AZ ball game.

Here is a creative idea to report from the the New York Times, four immigrant students set out on foot from downtown Miami on Friday, starting a four-month walk to Washington to protest what they called the Obama administration’s lack of action on legislation granting legal status to illegal immigrants.

Three of the four protesters, who are current or former students at Miami Dade College, do not have legal-resident status and risk detention by immigration authorities during the 1,500-mile walk.

The students’ trek showed the resolve and also some limitations of groups supporting an immigration overhaul that would include measures to legalize illegal immigrants. Those groups said this week that they would start a national campaign in January to pressure President Obama to push for the overhaul before midterm elections in November.

But as immigration enforcement has continued at a steady pace during the first year of the Obama administration, many illegal immigrants are clinging to jobs and families in this country and may be afraid to participate in public demonstrations. With unemployment holding at 10 percent, immigrant advocates acknowledge that their campaign could awaken passionate opposition in Congress and around the country.

This is a risky move, but 2010 will also be a defining year for Immigration reform. I expect more arrests and more Immigrants on the run before we have our much desire CIR passed. Will keep you posted. Click here for the NY Times article

Interesting update, the Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP) reported on a new study from the New York based, Fiscal Policy Institute. The findings: Immigration and economic growth go hand in hand.

For their report, Immigrants and the Economy: Contribution of Immigrant Workers to the Country’s 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas, the Fiscal Policy Institute examined the economic impact of all foreign-born workers, including undocumented immigrants, in the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan areas.

The results of the study provides further evidence of why passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform is so critical for the economic recovery of the United States. In an interview with OCPP, Francisco Lopez, Executive Director of CAUSA, adds that, “A path to citizenship for undocumented workers would allow them to contribute even more to Portland and Oregon’s economy,” Lopez said. “It would make undocumented immigrants less vulnerable to exploitation, lifting the bar for all workers, and provide the security needed to start a business. Everyone would win.”
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