Ohio Immigration and Visa Attorney Discusses Temporary Immigration Solutions for Start-up Companies and Small Business

Innovation and start-up businesses are going to be the driving force in the Columbus, Ohio economy over the next 20 years. Our firm provides immigration solutions in a variety of forms to businesses of all sizes and varieties, including H-1B visas and E-2 visas. Below, we have listed some of the most popular and useful visas for business owners, managers and human resources professionals to use in order to attract and retain the world’s top talent. Our firm will help you grow your business along with the dynamic city of Columbus, Ohio as new business as well as social and economic diversity lead this city to the forefront of United States business centers in the 21st Century.

E-2 Visa Solutions for Small Business Investors

The E-2 investor visa is one of the most popular and useful of all visas for start up and small businesses. In fact, the basic purpose of this visa is to promote foreign investment into the United States. The variety and type of business that is eligible to use the E-2 visa is almost limitless. Some of the most useful advantages of this visa include the relatively low investment threshold of $100,000 that needs to be made by the foreign national into the business. The E-2 visa is also renewable for an unlimited amount of time so long as the business and foreign nationals continue to qualify for the visa. Additionally, the E-2 visa allows for the foreign national to bring their family’s over to live and work in the United States.

Non-owners can also obtain E-2 status through a company held by a person on an E-2 visa. Such employees must be executives, supervisors or essential employees so long as the worker holds the same nationality of the E-2 owner.

E-2 Visa Requirements That all Start Up / Small Business Owners Must Know

E-2 visas are not just handed out by the USCIS or consular posts. They take some intensive collaboration between attorney and client in order to showcase a startup ventures’ attributes. There are also numerous pitfalls for the unwary that must be avoided such as the following:

The funds to be used in the business must be at risk. This means the non-recourse loans will not make the grade when it comes to E-2 investments. The capital invested in the venture must be secured by the investor’s own assets. If a loan is required for the business start up, the loan must be tied to the investor’s personal assets of some soft.

The funds must be in the process of being invested in the business, within immediate control of the investor. This means that money that is not in hand or is tucked away in some other investment cannot be used to show the investment necessary for the E-2 visa. Rather the funds must be in the investor’s control at the time of filing for the visa. One way to nullify the risk of pinning hopes on an E-2 visa that is never won is to place the funds into escrow pending the approval of the E-2 visa.

The business must be a commercial enterprise that is for profit and not for the mere passive ownership of assets.

The investment must be substantial and not fractional compared to the value of the investment. If the business is not worth much money, the ownership stake of the E-2 visa holder must be higher. If the business is worth multi-millions of dollars, the E-2 visa holder can have a lower amount of the worth of the business at risk and invested in the business.

The business cannot be marginal, meaning it must have the potential to eventually provide for more than just a living for the E-2 investor. This proposes a problem for startups as many start ups start small, with little in the way of salary to show for a few years. However, with the aid of a five year business plan, it can be shown to the USCIS that the business has the potential to provide profits for the owner and job opportunities to American Workers.

An E-2 owner must show that he or she is gaining the visa to develop and control the business. This means that the investor must be taking a leadership role in the direction of the activities of the business and has the voting power to veto decisions regarding the business that he or she disagrees with.

Our firm has procured E-2 visas for various types of endeavors from franchises to farms and from grocery stores to gas stations. We have the experience and the ingenuity to aid your start up business as it ventures out in our states capital.

H-1B Visa Solutions for Small Business and Startup Organizations

The H-1B visa is an excellent non-immigrant visa solution for companies who seek to hire a foreign national who holds a bachelors degree in a specialty occupation or its equivalent. Many types of positions can be hired on an H-1B visa basis. Persons who work in a specialty occupation, persons providing assistance to the department of defense through research and development projects and even fashion models can all qualify for an H-1B visa.

H-1B visa requirements that every startup business should know

The employer must pay the employee the prevailing wage for that occupation as decided by the Department of Labor. This can place a financial strain on some start up businesses with limited budgets; however there are four levels of prevailing wage for each occupation. Usually it can be shown that the experience and e4ducation of the foreign national is commensurate with a wage level that is acceptable to the business and the Department of Labor.

The employer must be a US employer that has control over the foreign national’s day to day work activities. This means that the business must have a federal tax identification number and that the employer must be able to direct the work that the foreign national is doing even when he or she is off site.

H-1B visas are not for self-petitioners. This means that the H-1B visa holder cannot be the owner of the business for which they work. There is some debate as to whether holding any type of ownership interest may defeat the H-1B petition, so such issues must be addressed on a case by case basis.

Many of the problems that small or startup organizations face involving H-1B petitions are showing that the occupation is a specialty occupation and the foreign national will not carry out only menial tasks that any person could be trained to perform without a formal education. There four standards that guide employers in whether or not a position is a specialty occupation:

  • A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is normally required for entry into the position
  • A bachelor’s degree is the norm in the industry for similar organizations, or the position is so complex or unique that a bachelor’s degree is required
  • The employer normally requires a bachelor’s degree
  • The nature of the specific duties are so complex that the attainment of a degree is usually associated with the position

These requirements are sometimes difficult for a start-up business to show given that startups usually do not have a long track record of positions with similar duties to highlight. However, with the aid of innovative legal counsel, at least one of these criteria can be successfully argued, and one is all that is needed to succeed.

Finally, it must be shown that the foreign national has the education or experience to qualify for the position offered. Most of the time this requirement is easily met where a person holds a bachelor’s degree in a field that is related to the business. When a person’s degree is not as congruent with the position offered, some extra time and effort is required to argue that person into the position. This is common where a foreign national does not have a bachelor’s degree or holds only a three-year bachelor’s degree. Equivalency evaluations and experience evaluations can be conducted in order to show that the foreign national qualifies for the job offered.

How to Contact Us

Our firm is dedicated to the same type of innovation that your startup business relies upon to gain a competitive edge in the market place. If you have questions about an immigration visa or green card matter, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas, and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.