Queen City Immigration Law is kicking off an initiative to educate and service emerging markets about the opportunities presented by applying for business and investment based visas. Over the past five years, foreign business people been using investment and employment based visa solutions to do business in the United States more than ever before. This trend did not propagate in emerging markets such as Africa, the Middle-East, and the Caribbean. Immigration is often a significant incentive to foreign businesses looking to provide direct investment into the United States.
The world’s most powerful and innovative countries take full advantage of the visas available for employment and investment. Countries in Africa and the Caribbean are far behind in the number of applications for these visas. One primary reason is that many emerging market countries are not eligible to apply for E category visas due to the various requirements of a U.S. Treaty authorization. However, even in countries that do have treaties with the United States for the E category visas, this opportunity is not always taken advantage of.
Collectively, BridgehouseLaw and Queen City Immigration Law are interested in recruiting companies in African countries that are eligible for E category visas to the Charlotte area for the purpose of encouraging reverse foreign direct investment back to their respective countries. The firms desires to assist the top businesses in several of Africa's most stable countries to set up subsidiaries in Charlotte to do business with local partners. This can help them develop the acumen/capital/equipment necessary to make a difference with their parent companies back home. Meanwhile, the Charlotte companies will not have the expense or risk of doing business physically in these emerging markets.
Many African nations are not aware of the immigration incentives to investing in the United States, such as the L-1 Visa, E-1 Visa, and the E-2. All of these tools are heavily used by European and Asian nations. An article that outlines the disparity on the use of business and investment based visas can be reviewed at this link
What are the incentives for the Foreign Business Owners taking advantage of business and investment visas?
1. Less red-tape for traveling to the United States – Visitor visas have a lot of limitations and are becoming more difficult to obtain, especially in emerging markets.
2. Work Authorization – Visitor visas do not permit a foreigner to legally work in the United States. The L visa comes with a work authorization while the family members of an E visa holder can obtain work authorization.
3. Period of Stay – Visitor visas usually only authorize 6 months of visitation at a time and the foreigner can risk losing the visa if they stay in the States too long. Both the L and E visa permit lengthy periods of stay for foreign nationals.
4. Legal Permanent Residence – There are direct and indirect avenues for foreign nationals to obtain Legal Permanent Residence (“Green Card”) through the L and E visa programs.
5. Education – Many foreigners invest copious amounts of money to facilitate their children being able to receive an education in the United States.
6. Access to Finance – In many cases, it is easier for a foreign business to receive more affordable financing through an entity domesticated in the United States rather than their location in the home country.
7. Transfer Workers – Both the L and E-1 visa have features that allow for the transfer of employees which facilitates business growth and training.
Why Business People in Emerging Markets may not be taking advantage of investment and employment based visas?
- Lack of Knowledge - Most business people in emerging markets are generally unaware of these visas. Queen City Immigration Law is dedicated to the mission of educating the underserved market about global business solutions through E and L visa categories.
- Repatriation of Funds - In many countries, there are governmental hurdles to getting USD out of the country. For example, Ethiopia has government regulations to control the flow of USD out of the country due to an effort to curtail inflation of its own currency. These barriers are not always fatal to success as there are private lenders in the market for assisting in these situations. We may be able to introduce you to a lender.
- Source of Funds - For investment based visas, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has strict guidelines about getting comfortable with the SOURCE of the funds used to make the investment. In emerging markets, a lack of records and transparency are fatal to investment deals because USCIS cannot verify the source of the investment.
- Corruption - Issues at the consular offices have also been blamed for lack of knowledge about immigration solutions. These issues are commonly government officials creating barriers to complete the application process such as charging miscellaneous fees to provide documentation the petitioner needs for their applications.
We are actively seeking partners to help our firms have conversations with decision makers and influences in these markets. To find out more or to have a conversation about our emerging market initiatives do not hesitate to give us a call at 704-500-2075.