H-1B Visas And Taxes

Columbus immigration attorneyH-1B visa holders are taxed on their income in one of two ways. Those categorized as “non-resident aliens” are taxed only on the income they earn in the United States, while those categorized as “resident aliens” are taxed on income earned both in the U.S. and elsewhere. A non-resident alien must complete tax form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ and may claim a benefit only if a tax treaty exists between the U.S. and the visa holder’s nation of origin. When a visa holder is for all practical purposes a resident, the authorization holder’s income is taxed like any other worker’s, and the visa holder may use Form 1040 and the necessary schedules. If you’re an H-1B visa holder in Michigan or Ohio with any questions or concerns regarding your visa or your employment in the U.S., speak at once with an experienced Columbus immigration attorney.

If married, the H-1B visa holder’s spouse must include an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or Social Security number on a joint tax return, regardless of the spouse’s own authorization status. Along with being required to pay state and federal taxes, H-1B visa holders must pay Social Security and Medicare, and they also qualify for Social Security benefits. Don’t hesitate to consult with a professional tax preparer regarding your own tax situation.

However, if you are a foreign worker in the U.S. with any concerns or questions regarding your status, or if you are a U.S.-based employer with any concerns or questions regarding foreign workers or visa sponsorships, you should speak to an experienced immigration attorney. Should you need legal representation regarding any immigration-related issue, an experienced immigration attorney will defend your rights and fight for the best possible resolution of your case. In Michigan or Ohio, if you are dealing with any immigration-related legal issue, consult right away with an experienced Columbus immigration attorney.

Not A Good Idea

Immigration - Not A Good IdeaIt’s an old piece of wisdom: Anyone who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client. This is especially true if you’re from another country and you find yourself in a legal predicament, entangled with emigration officials or with the criminal court system.

Do not attempt to represent yourself. If you’re dealing with any immigration-related legal concern, get the legal help you need and contact an experienced emigration attorney. Many immigrants think the only time they will need an attorney is if they face criminal charges or deportation, but the truth is this; if you’re an immigrant in the United States, you should have the advice of a good immigration lawyer any time you’re dealing with any legal issue. Here are several “routine” situations where many people need a good immigration lawyer but may not realize it.

Many who seek a green card through marriage don’t see any need for an emigration lawyer – at first. But the paperwork for a green card is long and complicated, and the interview can sometimes be excruciating. Don’t handle the paperwork yourself or go to the interview without a good emigration lawyer. Experienced immigration attorneys have seen delays, green card denials, and more than a few broken hearts.

When a person who wasn’t born in the United States is a defendant in a U.S. courtroom for the first time, that person will be advised to the “right” to act as one’s own attorney. For many who enter the United States from other nations, this is an amazing freedom, making it a temptation that’s hard to resist. Do the wise thing; go to court accompanied by a good immigration lawyer with plenty of experience representing detained immigrants.

Businesses that hire foreign-born employees also need the services of an experienced emigration attorney. Increased enforcement and increasing scrutiny of H-1B and L-1 visa petitions mean that companies can’t make the mistake of filing visa petitions without legal review and counsel. A good emigration lawyer will help employers avoid the red flags that can lead to the rejection of your visa petitions.

These are only several of the “routine” situations where you really do need the services of a good immigration lawyer. If you need legal help regarding any matter related to immigration, speak right away with a good, experienced immigration attorney.

Employers Depend on J-1 Visas

Columbus Investor Visa AttorneyBusinesses in New Jersey are hoping to save a foreign-worker program that boosts the state’s tourist industry each summer. The J-1 visa allows hundreds of foreign college students to work in New Jersey’s hotels, amusements parks, and boardwalk shops in a season when the demand for summer workers exhausts the supply. According to the State Department, almost 6,000 foreign students worked in New Jersey’s tourist industry in 2012. Another 710 worked as camp counselors, and 728 worked as interns at New Jersey-based business.

Increasing scrutiny of the J-1 visa program came after employer abuses were discovered, including a Pennsylvania temp agency that stiffed hundreds of students for overtime and paid them a sub-minimum wage. Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Press of Atlantic City that new federal rules are designed to protect foreign students from inappropriate work, and employers are supposed to expose visiting students to American culture and society. “There’s too little oversight,” Vaughan said. “The abuses are rampant.”

Congress has included the J-1 visa program in the larger debate over immigration reform. Proposed changes in the J-1 visa program would impose stricter controls, higher fees, and potential fines for sponsors who are not in compliance with J-1 regulations. However, businesses in New Jersey point to the many students who return to work the following summer as confirmation of the J-1 program’s success.

Speak immediately with an experienced immigration attorney if you are an international student with any questions or concerns regarding your J-1 visa or status. If you employ foreign students, a good immigration lawyer can answer your legal questions, address your concerns, and help you with any immigration-related legal issue. With stricter enforcement of visa regulations and heightened scrutiny of J-1 visa petitions, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced immigration attorney and get the legal help you need.

Asylum Restrictions Eased

Columbus Investor Visa AttorneyIn February, the Obama administration eased restrictions on asylum seekers with only loose or incidental ties to terror groups. The change was approved by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry.

It allows individuals who provided “limited material support” to terror groups to be considered for entry into the U.S. Supporters of the change argued that a prohibition on anyone who has ever aided terrorists unfairly penalizes thousands of potential refugees. According to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), only persons whose acts were “so tangential and minimal that no rational person would consider them supporters of terrorist activities,” will be considered for entry into the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security offered several examples of individuals who might be affected and helped by the eased restrictions: a restaurant owner who served food to terrorists; a farmer who paid a toll to terrorists to cross a bridge to sell his food; or a Syrian who paid an opposition group to help him get out of war-torn Syria. “These exemptions cover discrete kinds of limited material support … that was insignificant in amount, provided incidentally in the course of everyday social, commercial, or humanitarian interactions, or provided under significant pressure,” a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said.

Critics say that despite these good intentions, the eased restrictions raise security concerns, particularly after recent reports of asylum fraud. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said, “We need to tighten security standards for asylum, not relax them even further.”

If you are seek asylum or face any other immigration-related legal matter, speak to an experienced immigration attorney and obtain the help you need. You may also be facing issues with work authorization documents, a visa, a violation of U.S. law, or you may be seeking residency or citizenship. A good immigration lawyer will assess your personal situation; give you sound legal advice; and work aggressively to protect your rights. If you are an immigrant facing a hearing, a trial, or a threat of deportation, please get the legal help you need and talk with an experienced immigration attorney today.

Work Visa Caps Hurts Students

Columbus Investor Visa AttorneyWhen Miami University of Ohio awarded Chinese native Han Cheng, 23, a degree in engineering almost two years ago, he assumed he would be able to work for several years in the United States before returning to his homeland. What Cheng didn’t learn in his engineering classes was how difficult it is to receive a temporary work visa. After graduating, Cheng sent out over 500 job inquiries, but he could not find an employer to sponsor him for an H-1B visa.

“When I was talking to recruiters back home about going to college in the United States, they all made it sound like it would be easy to get work because the degree would be so desirable,” Cheng told the Columbus Dispatch. He returned to Shanghai last summer as his student visa expired.

The H-1B permits U.S.-based businesses to hire specialized foreign employees for three years (with an option to renew for a second three years). However, H-1B visa sponsorship is too burdensome and expensive for many employers. Smaller companies are reticent to hire foreign students because there’s no guarantee they’ll get visas, and that could leave a smaller business in the lurch.

As the population of foreign-born students in the U.S. increases, immigration experts say that remaining here to work after graduation will only get more difficult for students like Han Cheng. More than 800,000 foreign students arrived in the U.S. during the last school year (2012-2013); most came from China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. With only 65,000 H-1B visas available annually, it’s clear that few of those students will be able to work in the United States after they graduate.

If you are an international student with any questions or concerns regarding your visa or status, you should speak immediately with an experienced immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you with any immigration-related legal issues. Most importantly, an experienced immigration attorney will vigorously defend your rights and help you to achieve your goals in the United States. And if you are an employer seeking to hire international students, consult first with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you cut through the legal red tape. You’ll be glad you did.

Washington State Acts As DC Stalls

bigstock-People-Visa-Sign-1751484While immigration reforms have stalled in Washington, D.C., progress has been made in Washington State. Republicans in the State Senate have voted to provide financial aid to students who were illegally brought to the United States as children. Republicans reportedly decided to support the proposal after ensuring that thousands of students already on the list for state financial aid will not be put at any disadvantage. “This act is the Real Hope Act. No more dreams. This is real hope,” said Sen. Barbara Bailey, the prime sponsor of the bill.

The Republican version of the legislation includes $5 million for the State Need Grant program to offset the expected increase in financial aid. About 1,100 more students will receive aid in the upcoming academic year. Although 74,000 students currently receive State Need Grants, 32,000 other eligible students received no grants this year because funds were exhausted.

Passage of the so-called “state Dream Act” comes as a surprise to many observers. State Senate Republicans declined to consider the bill after it passed the State House last year, and they obstructed an attempt by Democrats in the chamber to bring up the proposal. “To me this is really about making sure all kids have the keys to hope, that all kids have the keys to opportunity, that all kids have the keys to the American dream,” Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said.

But many immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants, need other kinds of help. If you are an immigrant facing any problem regarding your documentation, status, visa, or any other legal issue, consult right away with an experienced immigration attorney. Immigration laws are still strictly enforced, but a good immigration lawyer will help you get your paperwork and applications in order, answer your questions, and help you achieve your own dreams in the United States. If you’re dealing with any immigration problem, speak to an experienced immigration attorney as quickly as you can.

Population Trends Favor Immigration

bigstock-Immigration-3151682In October 2013, the New Yorker magazine published a commentary by Elizabeth Kolbert about global population trends. Kolbert notes what many others have observed; birth rates are plummeting in wealthy industrialized nations with aging populations. She reports that what demographers call “total fertility rate” or TFR – the average number of children the average woman produces – is, in most developed countries, well below the basic replacement rate of 2.0 children per woman. In Singapore, for example, the TFR is 0.79; in Taiwan, it’s 1.1; and in South Korea, it’s 1.2. European countries including Italy, Spain, and Germany currently have a TFR below 1.5.

The problem is that as populations age and eventually decline, developed nations have fewer workers supporting more retirees, creating a social welfare crunch and putting these nations at a technological disadvantage, as the young tend to be more tech-savvy. At the moment, the TFR in the United States is about 2.06, not high enough to ease stresses on the social welfare system as more “baby boomers” reach age 65 and retire. Social Security, for example, was originally built on the conviction that there would always be more young people paying for benefits than elderly people receiving them.

The message for leaders in the United States is obvious. Other developed nations will compete with us to attract the world’s best and brightest; thus, Congress should do whatever it takes to ensure that the U.S. remains the favored destination of skilled immigrant workers. Comprehensive immigration reform is the imperative first step.

If you’re an immigrant or a potential immigrant looking to work in the United States, or if you are an employer seeking to hire skilled immigrant workers, the first thing to do is to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can explain the pertinent immigration laws and help you with applications, visa petitions, hearings, and more. If you are an immigrant worker or a U.S.-based employer dealing with any immigration issue, contact an experienced immigration attorney promptly.

Accenture, Immigration Reform, and H-1B Abuses

bigstock-Passports-31148The task of fixing the HealthCare.gov website will fall to Accenture LLP, and that’s bad news. It means the Obama Administration has effectively offshore outsourced Obamacare. It’s likely that the tech jobs just awarded under the Obamacare contract (worth $90 million and paid for with U.S. tax dollars) will be based in India or performed by imported workers from India on H-1B visas. Accenture is one of the biggest offshore outsourcers of American jobs. In 2012 they used just over 4,000 H-1B visas, making them the fifth largest company using foreign workers to displace U.S. workers and to offshore outsource jobs.

It’s a company with a poor track record. Contracts with Accenture have previously been cancelled by states including Colorado, Texas, and Florida. In 2006, the U.S. Marine Corps cancelled a contract with Accenture to design and implement a global supply chain and maintenance system. In 2011, Accenture paid over $63 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of kickbacks, bid-rigging, and other serious violations.

Offshore outsourcers like Accenture typically use the H-1B visa to displace Americans and to transfer large tech projects to nations where labor costs less. In fact, in 2012, the top ten employers receiving H-1B visas were all offshore outsourcers of high-tech American jobs. Many of these jobs should have gone to U.S. workers, but employers are not required to recruit them; in fact U.S. workers are sometimes simply replaced with H-1B visa employees.

Offshore outsourcers like Accenture typically pay about 25 percent less for imported employees than the predominant wage for a U.S. citizen employee. In 2005, Accenture’s more than 12,000 H-1B foreign workers earned an average $53,000 for work that would earn an American employee $80,000. By undercutting labor costs, companies like Accenture out-compete American businesses seeking government contracts.

As it currently operates, the H-1B program hurts employers that hire American workers. Domestic sourcing companies like Ameritas Technologies and Systems In Motion are put at a disadvantage because they hire American citizens. Their competitors hire less expensive H-1B workers. It’s clear than any immigration reforms must include strict regulations for offshore outsourcers like Accenture along with a legal mechanism that makes enforcement meaningful.

Until those reforms happen, employers who seek to hire H-1B visa workers are going to need the help of an experienced immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can review your policies and records, go over your H-1B visa petitions, and help you to stay in compliance with always-changing immigration rules. In fact, if you are an employer with any immigration-related questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to consult an experienced immigration attorney promptly.

International Students Deserve Thanks

bigstock-Close-up-of-male-hands-with-pe-46137757The next time you encounter a student in the United States from another country, say “thanks!” International students contributed $24 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2012-2013 academic year. A report published in November by the Association of International Educators (NAFSA) found that foreign students bring a lot more than a desire to learn when they enter the United States.

Spending by the 819,644 students bolsters an estimated 313,000 jobs in the United States, and the $24 billion spent in academic year 2012-2013 represented a 10 percent increase in spending over the previous academic year. Spending by foreign students and their families was highest in California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Pennsylvania. By their spending on education, housing, food, clothing, transportation, telecommunications, and insurance, international students and their families create an estimated three jobs for every seven students and families.

International enrollment is surging in the United States, and last year it increased by 7.2 percent over the 2011-2012 academic year. The direct, tangible economic benefits of having foreign students come to the U.S. are undeniable; $24 billion is hard to ignore. But the less apparent benefits are perhaps even more important than money; increased cross-cultural friendships and understanding, and maybe just a smaller step toward a more peaceful world.

Even for the most savvy scholars and scientists, immigrating to the United States is often tricky and always difficult. Foreign students should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to answer any questions or concerns regarding their immigration status and related matters. If you are accused of violating any immigration law or regulation, promptly contact an experienced immigration attorney to provide the legal representation you’ll need. A good immigration lawyer will also assist with visa applications and with any immigration-related interviews or hearings. Whatever your immigration-related legal concern may be, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced immigration attorney right away.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

bigstock-Close-up-of-male-hands-with-pe-46137757Jay Peak is a year-round resort in northern Vermont featuring an indoor waterpark, ice arena, championship golf course, and New England’s best skiing and snowboarding. The resort offers a summer camp for kids, an August Music Festival, and corporate retreat facilities with all the accommodations and amenities.

Bill Stenger, the CEO of the Jay Peak resort, told NPR, “About $275 million has been raised and spent or in the process of being spent.” All of that money came from 550 foreign investors, many of whom are from China. Each agreed to risk a $500,000 investment for a project offering to create jobs in the U.S. In return, the government granted green cards to the immediate family members of investors, allowing them to live in the United States. It’s called the EB-5 immigrant investor program, created by Congress in 1990. Stenger says in 2008, when the recession hit and traditional financing disappeared, the EB-5 program was a lifesaver. Without EB-5 funds, the Jay Peak resort wouldn’t exist as visitors know it today. “We would be the same old sleepy little ski resort we were back in 2006 versus a four-season, very different place today,” Stenger says.

Since 2006, EB-5 projects have brought about $600 million into Vermont, which has operated an EB-5 Regional Center since 1997. Today, more than 300 EB-5 centers operate across the country. Most are private, for-profit organizations that solicit business proposals and recruit investors for those projects. Several of the privately-operated EB-5 centers have been accused of defrauding investors, so some investors find a state-run regional center to be more trustworthy, even though investments are never guaranteed.

If you are a foreign investor, a foreign national considering investment, or a U.S.-based business person seeking foreign investment, speak with an experienced immigration attorney about EB-5 visas and foreign investments in the United States. A good immigration lawyer can explain the complicated laws and regulations related to foreign investments in the U.S. Forms, petitions, applications, and guidelines are constantly changing and evolving, and enforcement is stringent, so you need legal advice that you can count on. Contact an experienced immigration attorney and get the guidance you need today.