Behind The Scenes, Immigrants Keep The USA Running

Many of us in the 21st century spend a big part of our lives “online,” yet the virtual world still depends on the physical, including the labor of those who create, manufacture, and provide the essential goods and services that everyone requires. Many of us connect to this behind-the-scenes, virtually invisible economy only when we purchase the final product from a retailer, but at every stage in the economic chain, real people by the millions contribute real muscle and sweat every day.

In the United States in the 21st century, for example, it’s almost a certainty that the blueberries, strawberries, peaches, asparagus, or lettuce you purchase from any grocer passed through the hands of Latin American migrant labor. Closer to home, many of us see – and hire – housekeepers and lawn service providers who are immigrants. They’re servers and cashiers. In many cities, immigrants drive most of the taxis and deliver most of the newspapers. They perform many of the mundane essential functions that keep the economy running.

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If you hire immigrants to work for your company in the United States, or if you are yourself an immigrant in the United States – with or without documentation – you can learn more about your legal rights, obligations, and options by speaking with a trustworthy and experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney. Immigration law is complicated and constantly changing, which sometimes makes compliance quite challenging for both employers and the immigrants they hire.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE BOSTON GLOBE?

At one newspaper, the Boston Globe, reporters and editors earlier this year encountered for the first time a world previously invisible to them. In their climate-controlled offices and conference rooms, these professional journalists and their bosses had only the vaguest notion about how their work actually, physically gets into a reader’s hands in the form of a morning newspaper. For the most part, newspapers are delivered by low-paid immigrants. The story began late last year when the Boston Globe contracted a new company to deliver the newspapers.

If you thought newspapers were dead, they’re not in Boston, where several hundred thousand subscribers to the Globe expect delivery 365 days a year. Although the change to a new contractor should have been routine, it wasn’t. Like so many other behind-the-scenes services, the delivery of newspapers in many cities is provided by mostly marginalized immigrant workers, and many of them lack documentation.

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To move a printed newspaper from the presses into hands of thousands of Boston subscribers takes a small army of people willing to work 365 nights a year – without regard to snow or road conditions. At a distribution center, they fold and stack newspapers, load them, and use their own vehicles, driving in the last several hours before sunrise. As independent contractors, they pay for their own gas and insurance. Most barely make the minimum wage. Many of the delivery people are immigrants.

ACI Media Group promised to cut the Globe’s costs for delivering newspapers by paying delivery workers less – while demanding more. ACI, based in California, had trouble hiring enough workers in the Boston area to deliver the Globe, and many who were hired walked off the job due to low pay and unreasonable working conditions. Newspapers went undelivered – news that quickly made it to the Globe’s newsroom.

HOW DID THE NEWSPAPER HANDLE THE DELIVERY CRISIS?

After a week, the newspaper was in crisis. Writers, photographers, and editors were recruited to make sure the Sunday Globe got delivered – an unprecedented move. According to the New York Times, two hundred reporters and other staffers stayed up all night and “bagged thousands of newspapers and stacked them in their cars.” Reporter Kevin Cullen wrote, “whatever they pay the delivery people, it’s not enough, and it’s more than a little depressing to think this debacle has been brought about by a desire to pay them even less.”

Globe Columnist Marcela García wrote that delivering the newspaper was “an unbelievably eye-opening experience.” A Mexican-born bilingual journalist, columnist, and editorial writer who frequently reports on immigration issues for the Globe, Garcia added, “Reporters delivering their own work – that’s a story. But off camera, and working side by side with us as we assembled the Sunday paper, were the people who are there every night, making not much more than minimum wage.”

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The following Tuesday, the Globe’s publisher, John W. Henry offered a public apology to the newspaper’s subscribers. Henry wrote, “Getting a daily newspaper to your front door is a complicated exercise in logistics – this is something the Globe has been innovating in for more than 150 years…. Until Globe staffers embarked on an effort to save more than 20,000 subscribers from missing their Sunday paper, we had underestimated what it would take to make this change.”

WHAT DID THE BOSTON GLOBE FINALLY ADMIT?

The following Saturday, January 9, almost two weeks after the newspaper’s delivery problems first emerged, Globe reporter Michael Levenson wrote about the “long hours, little pay, [and] no vacation for delivery drivers.” Levenson graphically explained for readers the “grueling nocturnal marathon for low-income workers who toil almost invisibly on the edge of the economy.” On January 13, a Globe editorial admitted that “drivers get no vacation, and lack worker protections.”

The editorial called on the Massachusetts attorney general and federal authorities to investigate the delivery companies. The present system depends on mostly immigrant, often undocumented workers who are often manipulated and bullied by unscrupulous employers. The Globe offered a rare look at how just one company relies on immigrant workers. A similar story could be told about thousands of U.S. companies in a number of labor-intensive industries, from agriculture to manufacturing to construction.

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Recent data released by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) tells us that immigrants in the United States pay sales taxes, property taxes, and state and federal income taxes. Half of all working immigrant families file income tax returns, but if they don’t, the taxes are still paid because they’re deducted from paychecks. ITEP says “the 11.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States pay billions of dollars in local, state and federal taxes.” Hard-working immigrants deserve the same reasonable wages and benefits that U.S.-born workers expect and routinely enjoy.

If you are an immigrant in the United States – with or without documentation – and you have questions about your legal status, work authorization, visas, or any other immigration concern, speak at once with an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration lawyer. An experienced immigration attorney can also discuss immigration-related labor concerns with U.S.-based employers.

Business Coalition Asks Congress To Renew EB-5 Investor Visa Program

For more than two decades, the EB-5 investor visa program has benefitted U.S.-based businesses as well as international investors. It’s created tens of thousands of jobs here in the United States. It’s also been criticized for a number of reasons. Congressional authorization for the EB-5 program is scheduled to expire in 2016 at the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Hopefully, Congress will act to protect and strengthen the EB-5 program and safeguard its ongoing success.

With the September 30 deadline rapidly approaching, international investors who would like to learn more about the EB-5 investor visa program and about the variety of investment opportunities in the United States may want to speak right away with our experienced Ohio EB-5 investor visa lawyers. Congress will almost certainly renew the EB-5 program this year, but the lawmakers will also almost certainly make some important changes. The $500,000 minimum investment level may increase, the definition of a Targeted Employment Area will likely change, and there will almost certainly be new requirements for participating investors.

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Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Roundtable, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and others have joined in a coalition urging Congress to renew – permanently – the often-controversial EB-5 investor visa program before it expires in September. In July, the coalition called on lawmakers to renew the EB-5 investor visa program with additional security measures, adjustments to the controversial investment incentives, and streamlined processing of visa requests.

WHAT DOES THE EB-5 INVESTOR VISA PROGRAM OFFER?

The EB-5 investor visa program promises international investors in the United States eventual lawful resident status and an opportunity for naturalized citizenship. In a letter to both the House and Senate Judiciary committees, the coalition wrote that “Congress must not let this important job-creating program lapse, in large measure because of the immediate negative consequences to U.S. businesses and projects counting on EB-5 investment to create jobs for Americans.”

The coalition’s July letter also mentions that the EB-5 investor visa program was responsible for more than $15 billion in investment and for creating approximately 100,000 jobs between 2005 and 2010. Some critics, however, allege that the EB-5 program is riddled with fraud, and others charge that the current operation of the program fails to meet the goal of reinvigorating economically depressed communities and regions. There’s wide agreement in Congress that additional security measures and some adjustments to the program are needed. Several lawmakers have even proposed the creation of a new “EB-6” visa.

The most acrimonious aspect of the EB-5 debate regards investments in economically depressed areas designated as Targeted Investment Areas (TEAs). Critics charge that wealthy real estate developers have unfairly taken advantage of the lower investment minimum required for TEAs, and that rural and depressed regions are not obtaining the benefits from the EB-5 program that they’ve been promised.

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The coalition of business groups did not offer a specific proposal for new EB-5 legislation, but they want to reduce the gap between TEA and non-TEA minimum investment requirements. Their July letter to the two Judiciary committees says, “Lawmakers and stakeholders with diverse perspectives should all be involved to build consensus and forge a compromise reform package.”

HOW HAS THE EB-5 PROGRAM BENEFITTED THE UNITED STATES?

Since the recession, the EB-5 investor visa program has emerged as a popular source of investment funds, particularly for real estate development projects. In the nation’s capital alone, EB-5 investors have put up more than $110 million and created more than 1,500 jobs. In 2013, about 85 percent of the EB-5 visas issued went to investors from China, with the others were spread among investors mostly from Japan, Great Britain, Russia, and South Korea.

Congress wants to tighten oversight of the popular program, so a number of changes to the EB-5 have been offered by lawmakers. The ideas include increasing the minimum investment, not counting derivative visas toward the annual cap of 10,000 EB-5 visas, and heightened scrutiny of applications and investments. The variety of proposals proves how important the EB-5 program is to the U.S. and to its job creation and economic growth. Between 2005 and 2013, the EB-5 program brought roughly $5.2 billion investment dollars directly into the United States.

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Under the current regulations, an international investor seeking to obtain an EB-5 visa must invest at least $1 million – or at least $500,000 in a TEA – in a new business that will create ten or more full-time U.S.-based jobs. The EB-5 program additionally offers participating international investors and their immediate families the benefits of lawful permanent residency in the United States.

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EB-5 PROGRAM?

To participate in the EB-5 investor visa program, investors must go through a process which determines that they are admissible to the United States as well as eligible for the EB-5 visa. It begins with the filing of an eligibility petition. For the EB-5 visa, this is the I-526 petition, which asks about the source of the investor’s funds and how he or she intends to invest those funds. Upon approval of the eligibility petition, if the investor now lives outside the of the U.S., he or she must submit a visa application to the U.S. Department of State, and a consular affairs officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate eventually determines if the investor is admissible.

If the investor is in the United States with another visa, an application for adjustment of status must be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS conducts background checks and may ask the applicant for a personal interview. USCIS may also be assisted by the State Department or other federal government agencies when conducting background checks of EB-5 applicants.

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If the investor is admissible, a conditional visa will be issued that allows the investor to reside for two years in the United States. Prior to the conclusion of that two-year period, the EB-5 investment must create at least ten full-time U.S.-based jobs. If all of the other requirements of the EB-5 investor visa program have been satisfied in the two-year period, the investor obtains lawful permanent resident status.

International investors should also speak with an Ohio immigration attorney about two additional immigration options apart from the EB-5 program: the E-2 visa program, which requires a “significant” investment and does not provide the investor with a green card, and the EB-1(c) visa, which requires an applicant to be sponsored by a qualifying employer. Immigration is complicated, and obtaining an investor visa takes some persistence, but in the end, international investors are almost always quite pleased.

For more information, speak to an EB-5 investor visa attorney today.

Colleges and Universities in Columbus

Colleges and Universities in ColumbusThe Columbus Region has more than 50 colleges and universities and around 136,000 students enrolled at these schools at any given time. For those wishing to return to school to better improve their careers and lives through academia, there is a lot to choose from. The first obvious choice for many is The Ohio State University campus at Columbus. Many programs, including those in medicine, make this a great choice for instate and out of state students. For more than 147 years, this has been the symbol for academic excellence. Not only that, but this school has consistently ranked in the top 20 for its excellence and commitment to students.

The Ohio Dominican University, founded in 1911, is one of the state’s Catholic schools. At any given time, there are around 20,000 students. The student to professor ratio is 13:1 and boasts central Ohio’s only NCAA Division II program. A few of the majors and programs that make up Ohio Dominican include accounting, biology, graphic design, business and much more.

These days, there is a big shift towards alternative medicine. This is one reason why the American Institute of Alternative Medicine is seeing far more applications than in previous years. Its mission is simple: “To empower by promoting a holistic approach to wellness while modeling an integrative approach to develop and inspire compassionate professionals, nurture vibrant livesand foster a healthy community.” It began in 1994 and focused on health education and holistic remedies. By 2000, it had gained accreditation and this allowed it to provide financial aid options. For those who appreciate a more eastern or holistic view on medicine, this might be the right school that allows you to chase your dreams.

The Mount Carmel College of Nursing gives students an opportunity to become the healers patients rely upon. Several programs, including a bachelor of science, master of science, DNP and even online programs make this a versatile choice for many. It is also a demanding choice, but one with rewards that are indescribable. If nursing is your calling, choose the best educational path that will help propel you to your dreams. You can download the application packet right from the website.

Last but not least, we take a look at National College. This national facility offers an opportunity for those looking for a more flexible degree program. With distance education options, this is a great choice for those in the military. Classroom sizes have a ratio of 15:1, which lends to a far more personalized and intimate learning experience. Students have a number of programs to choose from, including degree programs for business, info tech and medicine.

As you can see, there are college campuses located throughout Columbus, Ohio. Few cities in America offer as many educational paths. Remember, your best bet is to always to conduct due diligence, tour the campuses of interest, ask questions – whatever you need to do to make an informed decision about your next move and where you want to steer your career.

How Much Money Do You Need to Invest in an E2 Visa

First things first: the investor will be required, early on, to demonstrate a substantial investment of his own, personal funds has been made to the business. Further, it must include some risk to the investor’s funds and must be earmarked exclusively to the development of the enterprise. This also means it is difficult to specify a number. Larger investments where the total capital investment is more than, say, $500,000, “the percentage of total investment would be lower to meet the substantial investment requirement than that required for smaller investments,” according to immigrationvisa.com.

Please note that any E1 & E2 investor visa attorney will tell you that securing an E2 visa with an investment less than $100,000 is very difficult. Of course, the type of business and the investment itself will vary, but if the investment does not reach this threshold, note that it could be challenging. Remember that visas cover any number of sectors – countless companies within those sectors – and therefore, no two application packets are exactly the same. In fact, it is often difficult to provide even “ballpark” estimates or guidelines because they simply do not exist. Franchises to shipping companies to retail clothing – no two business are the same and no two needs are the same.

Many wonder how the game shifts if it is a business that is already in existence. In these instances, the investment itself is the purchase price; however, there are some options for financing if needed. This, however, is allowed solely at the discretion of the Consular Officer. Again, keep in mind that there is no way to provide specifics. According to investorvisausa.com, “a rough guideline is that financing should not be more than 25-30% of the total purchase price for an investment of between $100,000 and $500,000.” This is based on how it relates to the assets and other financing. Additional borrowing, which is unsecured by the business assets, is also permitted. The higher the purchase, the greater percent of allowed secured financing is permitted. A $1 million shipping company could potentially be approved with half being financed.

When an investor is building a new business from the ground up, the investment must be the amount of required capital to establish that business in a way that deems it operational. There are always significant costs, even if they are varied. An investor would be expected to have leased business premises, perhaps bought equipment and furnishings prior to filing the visa application for, say, a restaurant. Investorvisausa.com also says that if it is a business similar to “a pool service business, an investor may only need to lease premises, buy office equipment and a vehicle, and put funds in a business account for working capital.”

Of course, there will be challenges and a few drawbacks, but if a new business can navigate those challenges early on, the odds of the business running into problems, from this perspective anyway, are considerably lower as they move forward. The key is to be prepared to prove the necessary investments and understand it will require more than a deposit slip for money deposited into a new business account.

For more information, speak to an experienced E1 & E2 investor visa lawyer today.

How to Qualify for an E1 Visa

The E1 visa is a temporary work visa for traders and some employees who are part of a qualifying organization. It allows them to come to the United States with the express goal of conducting international trading. Examples of typical types of trade includegoods, services, banking, insurance, tourism, transport and technology. It’s important to note that an E1 visa is only available to nationals of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation or similar arrangement.

According to goodadvise.org, the E1 visa countries include:

Argentina            Australia             Austria                  Belgium                 Bolivia   Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brunei                  Canada                Chile                      China (Taiwan)   Colombia

Costa Rica           Croatia                 Denmark              Estonia                  Ethiopia

Finland                France                  Germany              Greece                   Honduras

Iran                      Ireland                  Israel                     Italy                      Japan

Jordan                 Korea (South)     Latvia                    Liberia                  Luxembourg

Macedonia          Mexico                 Netherlands         Norway                 Oman

Pakistan              Paraguay              Philippines          Poland                   Singapore

Slovenia              Spain                     Suriname             Sweden                  Switzerland

Thailand             Togo                      Turkey                  United Kingdom

Treat traders must come to the U.S. with the express purpose of conducting substantial trade between the U.S. and the trader’s country. This trade is defined as a “continuous flow of sizeable trade items and transactions over time and is not defined by a specific monetary value or volume”.  Further, employees of the organizations who wish to apply for an E1 visa must do so with the assurance that their arrival in the U.S. will be in the capacity of an executive or supervisor whose purpose is to provide control and lend responsibility to the company’s organizations while in the U.S. The organization must be owned at least 50 percent by an individual who has the nationality of the treat country.

Finally, any E1 visa applicant is required to meet certain health and character requirements.

There are limitations associated with an E1 visa, according to our E1 & E2 investor visa attorneys. Anyone here on an E1 visa is limited to working only for the employer or business that acted as the initial sponsor. It’s important to note that only foreign nationals in countries that already have trade treaties with the United States is eligible. Any stay is granted for two years at a time. If more time is needed, there is a procedure that defines that process as well.

Many wonder about bringing their spouses or children. As per the government’s guidelines, treaty traders and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Note that it is not necessary for their nationalities to be the same as the treaty trader or employee.  The government regulations also explain, “These family members may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee”.  If the family members are already in the United States and seeking change of status to or extension of stay in an E-1 dependent classification, they may apply by filing the proper forms and submitting the fees.  Spouses of E-1 workers may apply for work authorization, again, by filing the proper paperwork and paying the necessary fees. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-1 spouse may work.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services site has more specific information for those who have unique dynamics involved. It can be accessed here. You can also speak to an E1 & E2 investor visa lawyer for more information.

L-1A vs H1B Visas

These days, there are many questions about the differences in visa available for immigrants. Understanding those differences is where the confusion comes in. Not since we have heard President Trump speak of “bigly” changes and “sad” folks who do not support him have there been so many uncertainties surrounding immigration laws in this country. It can get confusing and frankly, overwhelming. For instance, what’s the difference between L1 and H1B visas? If you are not sure, you are definitely not alone. Here, our L-1A visa attorneys try to provide the differentiations in a way that makes it clearer.

First, let’s go over the similarities because they’re important. Both visas are good for employers looking to recruit employees from oversees. This might happen when a specific type of computer engineering degree is needed to do the job, for example. It’s the L1 visa that tends to be a better fit for multinational enterprises and those who may fall short in meeting the strict mandatory guidelines associated with the H1B requirements.

The L1 Visa

Also known as an intra-company transferee visa, these documents are used to gain entry into the U.S. for those who have been hired by a company that needs a high degree of competency, who possesses a specialized knowledge in an area that others are not familiar and who may be employed as part of multinational companies. They’re not at all uncommon, especially in large global companies.

The H1B Visa

This visa also allows for foreign workers to come into the states in order to do a job within a company. They differ in that the individual must possess knowledge in a theoretical or technical capacity and ina specialty occupation field. As mentioned earlier in this article, it could be in the field of engineering, science, medicine, architecture or other specialized areas. Usually, evidence of a specialized degree that addresses a specific dynamic is required as part of the application process. This can be in the form of testimony from an employer or other expert in the field or via resources that are objective and that show a definite association between what the worker possesses and how it will be used.

Keep in mind, there are a few differences as related to the requirements. The H1B applicant must have a specific and specialized knowledge in the field and possess at minimum a bachelor’s degree. This gets to the eligibility considerations. There are times when that might be bypassed, such as the work being so new, that there are no classes that have been developed to teach. For example, a Bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy isn’t going to lead to becoming qualified for an H1B visa to work in the U.S. as a respiratory therapist.

It can be a bit time consuming and can be expensive, according to our L-1A visa lawyers. There are no guarantees for entry nor are there any guarantees that these temporary visas might lend to permanent citizenship. Typically, the employer will already have an immigration attorney on retainer who will help facilitate the application process.

Museums in Columbus, OH

Museums in Columbus, OHReady to broaden your horizons? There are many exciting museums in the city of Columbus, whether you’re looking to educate and entertain your children or want to educate yourself in a particular area, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Museums in this country are visited close 850 million times each year. Many museums are available online, which provides people with opportunities they might not never have otherwise, it’s special to visit the museum itself and see up close and personal the brush strokes of a priceless painting or the detail in a cave marking.

One of the most popular museums in the Columbus, OH area is the Columbus Museum of Art. The Beyond Impressionism series is running now through January 2018 and is organized by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. It’s a stunning feature and a must-see. Wednesdays are saved for the Behind the Scenes talks, which are informative and educational.

The Central Ohio Fire Museum and Learning Center is another great place to spend an afternoon. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday and offers group tours by appointment. Steel yourself for an enchanting time in history as you explore the first vehicles used to fight fires in the state, explore the old boots and uniforms and explore the burned room display. There’s an area reserved just for the little ones, too.

Part of the Ohio History Connection includes the Ohio History Center. This place is not just a museum, but also has a library and a huge archive surrounding the history of the state of Ohio. There are a bunch of exhibits that the whole family can enjoy including some about life in the 1950’s, wildlife of Ohio, and Ohio’s role in the Civil War. They even have a room dedicated to genealogy!

The Kelton House Museum and Garden has been a favorite for many years. Built in 1852, there’s plenty to explore, including the architecture of the home. This landmark was built by Fernando Cortez Kelton, who was a prosperous businessman in the area and who wholesaled dry goods and pharmaceuticals. One of its biggest draws is found in the architecture; with elements of the Greek Revival and Italianate styles, it’s truly a stunning sight to behold. The garden features hedges, statuary, diverse plant specimens, lattice work and mixed perennial borders that demonstrate a Victorian sensibility.

There is something simple and pure about the mansion and it’s difficult to reconcile the “dangerous politics” that took place in the otherwise serene space. The Kelton’s were active supporters of the abolitionist movement and worked tirelessly to assist ex-slaves, freed slaves and freeborn blacks and fugitives, including one young woman who was sheltered at the home for ten years. It is a powerful look at history and one that must be remembered and shared.

There are many ways to explore Ohio history and the many museums in Columbus are just one way to make it happen. Be sure to include your children so that they too can embrace the history that played a significant role in creating the nation we all love today.

Notable People from Columbus, Ohio

Notable People from ColumbusQuick question– who starred as a country music legend, killed in a plane crash, a mom to zany kids and a wife to an even zanier husband who suffers through annual vacations? If you said the actress Beverly D’Angelo, then you are absolutely correct. This stunning beauty has been part of the Hollywood scene for years. She is talented, versatile and a Columbus, Ohio native. Check out her Vacation films where she co-starred alongside Chevy Chase and see her inspiring turn at playing country music legend Patsy Cline in the famous film, The Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Anyone who grew up in the 1980s likely can recall the pink shirt-wearing detective duo out of Miami Florida. Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson starred in Miami Vice, as Tubbs and Crockett, respectively. We loved the music, the scenery and the smooth-talking, wise-cracking and outsmarting detectives who never left a case unsolved. We are proud to say that Phillip Michael Thomas is another Columbus, Ohio native who has done his city justice across television and movie screens. He even coined the term, “EGOT” which is when someone wins an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony.

Macho Man Randy Savage, a well-known and beloved (albeit a bit loud) wrestling character with the World Wrestling Entertainment group is also a Columbus, Ohio native. His character mirrors his personality in real life and that fun-loving attitude has won fans over for many years. Vibrant and loud and boisterous, this is one wrestling legend who worked hard to build his reputation. He does us proud here in Columbus.

Did you know Dwight Yoakam, the much-loved country superstar, was born in Columbus? This handsome, tall drink of water, known for Fast as You and the Elvis remake of Suspicious Minds is a mainstay at the Grand Ole Opry and other country music venues. Now, who wouldn’t want to two-step across a dance hall floor with the handsome country crooner? Not only that, but he’s made a few appearances in films over the years, too.

While Hollywood is now home to several of our natives, we also have many authors and writers who hail from Columbus, including Margaret Peterson Haddix and Bob Greene.  For sports lovers, there are more than a few well-respected folks who share the same hometown: Ralph Wilson, a Hall of Fame owner of the Buffalo Bills, Herb Williams, Bill Willis and Gary Trent. Those of us who love our hometown can take great pride in these folks who ensured our great city is remembered today and always.

Columbus can take great pride in some of the fine people who spent their childhoods right here in our great city. Whether it was a famous movie star who’s as beautiful as she ever was, a gifted writer or a sweet-talking country singer, they walked the same school halls and possibly even outsmarted the same law enforcement officers on a Friday night when they were in trouble for speeding or out past curfew. Have any favorite Columbus, Ohio citizens of your own? Let us know who we missed.

Invest in America for a Visa

bigstock-Citizenship-documents-43205116Under the EB-5 investor visa program, foreign citizens are allowed to apply for and be issued a visa to live and work in the United States based on their ability to make a substantial investment into the U.S. economy. Under current regulations, “substantial” means an amount equal to at least $500,000 if the investment is made into a pre approved industry or geographic region in need of a cash boost, or at least $1,000,000 if invested in any other region or industry.

Here’s the Catch

Actually, it’s not a catch, so much as it is a failsafe to protect the system from abuse. In order to be approved for an investor visa, the foreign investor must make a qualifying investment into a U.S. based enterprise, but this will only allow the investor to be issued a conditional visa good for a period of up to two years. At the end of the initial two year period, the investor must show that his or her investment meets government minimums to be considered a success.

If the investment was not a success, then the investor may be able to apply for an extension for the initial visa, but there is no guarantee that the extension will be approved. The standard set by the government is that the investment must create at least 10 jobs if the funding is made into a new U.S. based venture, or that the investment must increase a company’s net worth or employee workforce by at least 40% if the investment is made into an existing business or venture.

Notes of Caution

According to our EB-5 investor visa attorneys, foreign investors need to be careful about making any kind of investment because of the risks that are usually involved. There is no guarantee that a funding will be a success and nobody is able to provide this kind of guarantee. Also, the government requires that investments be made or that a substantial step has been taken toward an investment before it will approve the issuance of an EB-5 investor visa.

If the funding is made into an illegitimate or unqualified business, the foreign investor may find out too late and be required to start the entire investment and application process all over from the beginning once a legitimate and qualifying business has been found and the funding made again.

In terms of making sure that a funding opportunity is legitimate and will qualify under immigration guidelines, an attorney can provide the foreign investor on how to perform due diligence on the investment to make sure the investor is not wasting his or her time. This is only one benefit of working with an EB-5 investor visa lawyer to apply for an EB-5 investor visa.

Benefits of Working with an Attorney

Along with helping the investor make sure that an investment opportunity is legitimate, an attorney can explain and answer questions about the EB-5 investor application process, can help the applicant compile and submit all of the necessary evidence and paperwork to support the issuance of a visa, and can represent the applicant should a decision need to be appealed.

Immigrants and Veterans Day

November 12, 2009

Veterans Day: It is the day we honor our men & women who served and sacrificed. Large number of Immigrants has served and continues to server in our military. Many of them have sacrificed their lives to protect our American values. I have the pleasure of representing some of them as an attorney. According to CATO Institute, more than 700 Congressional Medals of Honor were given to immigrant veterans. This is more than 20% of all recipients. To all Veterans, happy Veterans day.