Friday, March 25, 2011

StartUp Visa Bill Introduced to Help Immigrants Build Businesses in America

Educated workers have recently been opting to return to countries such as China and India, booming the businesses in such countries. To tackle this problem, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) introduced the Startup Visa Bill in an effort to build partnerships with U.S. investors and immigrants. The Bill was first introduced in February of 2010 and was revised and reintroduced last week. Many stakeholders were critical of the first version due to its stringent requirements and barriers; however, the new version seems more promising.

In the new version, the StartUp Visa Bill will make both individuals living within the U.S. and those living outside the U.S. eligible for Startup Visas if they meet specific requirements:

Immigrants living outside the U.S. would be eligible for a visa if a qualified U.S. investor agrees to financially sponsor their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $100,000. To obtain permanent residency within the U.S., after two years, their business must have created 5 new jobs and raised not less than $500,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $500,000 in revenue.
Immigrants living outside the U.S. will also be eligible to apply for a visa if they have controlling interest of a company in a foreign country that has generated, during the most recent 12-month period, not less than $100,000 in revenue from sales in the U.S. To obtain permanent residency within the U.S., after two years, their business must have created 3 new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.
Immigrants currently living and working inside the U.S. on an unexpired H-1B visa; OR immigrant entrepreneurs currently in the U.S. who have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science, or other relevant academic discipline from an accredited United States college, university, or other institution of higher education would be eligible for a visa if they demonstrate annual income of not less than roughly $30,000 or the possession of assets of not less than roughly $60,000; and have proven that a qualified U.S. investor agrees to financially back their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $20,000. To obtain permanent residency within the U.S., after two years, their business must have created 3 new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.

Keep in mind that a qualified U.S. investor is a U.S. citizen who must have invested $50,000 every year for the previous three years. This Bill will increase entrepreneurship among immigrants, create jobs, and boost the U.S. economy.

Follow us on Twitter at ImmigrationNY for instant updates on the progression of this Bill.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Support the People of Japan

On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck with a violent earthquake of 8.9 magnitude, which was then shortly followed by a Tsunami. Together both caused severe damage to the country killing thousands and leaving millions seriously affected. Approximately 13,000 individuals have been confirmed dead or reported missing. Temporary shelters have been created for those who have lost their homes, however these shelters are amid freezing temperatures. There are currently 450,000 people in these shelters.

Furthermore, Japan is now facing a nuclear crisis due to explosions caused by the earthquake and Tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The World Bank issued a report saying the damage from Japan's earthquake and tsunami could amount to as much as $235 billion. Rebuilding Japan after this destruction has been reported to take at least five years.

It has been reported that foreign countries are preparing for their citizens to leave Japan - the first planeload of Americans has already left. Last week, the U.S. government chartered a flight evacuating one hundred American nationals.

Although it has been reported that Japan was a well prepared country for such intense national disasters, the country needs all the support it can get. Please support Japan while they face these humanitarian crises. Use this Google Response page to donate to the victims in Japan: http://www.google.com/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html

You can donate through a number of organizations including the Japanese Red Cross Society, International Medical Corps, UNICEF, and Save the Children.

With today’s technological advances, you can also donate through your mobile devices. Here are a few options:

Text JAPAN to 20222 To donate $10 to Save The Children
Text MERCY to 25283 To donate $10 to Mercy Corps
Text REDCROSS to 90999 To donate $10 to American Red Cross
Text 4JAPAN to 20222 To donate $10 to World Vision

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

States Take Action on Immigration Issues


Ever since the Federal government failed to enact laws bringing immigration reform to the country, States have increasingly decided to take this matter into their own hands. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reported that in 2010 State legislators from 46 different states and the District of Columbia introduced more than 1,400 bills and resolutions relating to state immigration issues. A detailed description on the types of laws introduced and/or passed can be found here: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=21857.

The most controversial adoption of state immigration law occurred last April in the state of Arizona. Arizona adopted Senate Bill 1070 which, among other changes, makes it a misdemeanor to not carry papers showing immigration status, and allows police officers to detain individuals reasonably suspected of being in the country without proper authorization. Although most hoped that what happened in Arizona would stay in Arizona, the bill is influencing other states to take action. Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island attempted to pass similar bills, however none were enacted into law.

Other examples include the state of Oklahoma, which sought to ban motorists from picking up undocumented day laborers; South Carolina, which is considering making it a felony to sell fake identification cards to undocumented immigrants; and Texas, which recently introduced House Bill 2012 proposing to criminalize the hiring of undocumented immigrants, with the exception of undocumented immigrants hired for domestic/household work.

However, not all state action has followed the Arizona-style. In fact, the state of Utah recently passed legislation creating a state guest-worker program, which would allow undocumented immigrants to work legally in the state by paying fines of up to $2,500 and passing a criminal background check. This law will need a federal waiver and if received will take effect in two years. Utah legislators removed provisions similar to that of Arizona SB 1070, but included requirements that police officers verify the immigration status of individuals stopped or detained for crimes. Utah, New Mexico, and Washington are the few states left allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.