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H-1B filing season approaches

It is now time for employers to start planning the H-1B petition filings for foreign national employees.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2017 cap on April 1, 2016.  Beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions will be eligible to start working on October 1, 2016, the beginning of the FY 2017.  While April 1 may appear to be away, it will be here sooner than you expect.

The H-1B visa category provides for the temporary employment of foreign nationals in “specialty occupations” for which at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required (for example, accountants, pharmacists, computer programmers, engineers, lawyers, teachers, and many other professions).

There is cap of 65,000 visas per year plus 20,000 visas for workers who possess U.S.-earned master’s or higher degrees.  It is expected, as in the previous years, that petitions received from April 1 to April 7 (the first five business days of April) will be considered in the H-1B “lottery” (computer-generated random selection process).  The lottery will select H-1B petitions, which will be accepted for adjudication.

As the economy improved and a large number of H-1B candidates is expected to apply this year, we advise employers to be proactive and move quickly to ensure their H-1B petitions are prepared and ready to be filed prior to April 1, 2016.  Keep in mind that prior to filing of the H-1B petition, a labor condition application has to be certified by the Department of Labor and must be submitted with the H-1B petition.  For more information and help with your H-1B petitions, call us today at 480-425-2009 or contact us through our website!

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President Obama Executive Order

President Barack Obama has announced the most sweeping overhaul of the immigration system in decades to shield five million undocumented immigrants and prioritizing the deportation of “felons, not families.”   The undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. for five years or longer will receive work authorization for three years, as long as they pass background checks and pay back taxes.  Deferred action is not a pathway to citizenship. It is not legal status.  The undocumented parents will just not be a law enforcement priority.

Obama will also remove the upper age limit of 30 years old from a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Dreamers that allows those brought illegally to the country as children to stay, offering relief to thousands more people.

If you have any questions regarding Obama’s Executive Order or think you may be eligible, please complete the contact form or call the Juras Law Firm, PLC at 480-425-2009 to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. An experienced Arizona immigration attorney is here to answer your questions and guide you through the process.

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What is “substantial” amount of capital for E-2 investor visa?

The E-2 investor visa provides an excellent opportunity for foreign nationals from countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation with the U.S. to come to the U.S. to develop and manage operations of a business.  A frequent question of foreign investors considering applying for an E-2 investor visa is: ‘What is considered a “substantial” investment’?  Unlike the minimum investment requirement for EB-5 investor visa (“green card”), which is $1 million or $500,000 in targeted employment areas, there is no set dollar amount that has to be invested in order to be considered “substantial” investment for E-2 visa purposes.  A substantial amount of capital for E-2 purposes constitutes an amount that is substantial in proportionality sense.

The proportionality test compares the total amount invested in the enterprise with the cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating a viable new enterprise.  The lower the cost of the business, the higher a percentage of investment is required.  On the other hand, a highly expensive business would require a lower percentage of qualifying investment. Thus, investments of 100 percent or a higher percentage would normally automatically qualify for a small business of $100,000 or less. On the other hand, an investment of $10 million in a $100 million business would likely qualify, based on the sheer magnitude of the investment itself.

The “substantial” investment has to be large enough to lead to the successful operation of the E-2 enterprise and must be more than marginal (must have capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and his family).  What constitutes a substantial investment is different for different industries. If an investor wants to start a manufacturing business, or any other capital-intense business, $100,000 will not constitute a substantial investment.   However, $100,000 or lower amount may be sufficient for service businesses.  We have helped numerous foreign investors to get E-2 investor visas for a $100,000 investment in service businesses.  We recently obtained an E-2 visa for a Canadian investor who purchased an existing service business in Arizona for $70,000.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has approved E-2 visa even for smaller investments.  Our most recent case was an E-2 visa for a Canadian investor who purchased an Arizona retail business for $250,000.

If you are looking to invest in a business or enterprise in Arizona or anywhere throughout the United States, call the Juras Law Firm, PLC to speak with an experienced E-2 visa attorney. Call our office at (480) 425-2009 or complete the contact form on this page for a consultation. We understand that the visa application process is complex; an experienced Arizona E-2 visa attorney is here to answer your questions.