Monday, January 30, 2012

Are You An Artist Or Performer?

Foreign nationals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics may be able to receive an O visa to work in their area of expertise. By way of example, an art school graduate with an exceptional portfolio might be eligible for an O visa. The period of stay for an O visa is 3 years and incremental extensions are available. P visas are available for performing artists and athletes. An example might include a Salsa Instructor for South America coming to the U.S. to perform in a series of Salsa related events put on by a dance company. These visas require applications to USCIS.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Huge Advances For EB2 In February 2012

The Visa Bulletin released by the Department of State for February 2012 shows another huge jump forward for retrogressed EB-2 (Employment-Based second preference) cases.  Visas are now available for cases filed on or before January 1, 2010 for Indian and Chinese Nationals.  This represents a one year leap forward as compared to the January 2012 visa bulletin.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Help Coming For Talented Immigrant Entrepreneurs?

The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a non-profit, non-partisan public policy research organization focused on trade, immigration and related issues, recently published a report on immigrant entrepreneurs.  The report noted that in recent years, start-up businesses, those in their first three years of operation, have contributed the most to job growth in the U.S.  In fact, older firms (6-10 years of operation), created only one-tenths of the number of jobs created by the start-ups.  And recent studies have shown that “immigrants were more than twice as likely to start businesses each month in 2010 than were native born.”

Notwithstanding the fact that, without start-ups, there would be almost no job growth in the U.S. economy, and the fact that immigrants are so much more likely to start a business, U.S. immigration law makes it very difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S.   One option, an E visa, requires a minimum investment of $500,000 in an existing business (the average investment for a start-up is $31,000).  Another option, an H-1B visa, is almost impossible for an entrepreneur to get.

Recently, a number of new bills have been introduced that would establish entrepreneur visas.  These bills would place less emphasis on the amount of capital a foreign national invests and more on the talent the new business owner brings to the undertaking.