Should I Marry My Foreign Fiancé(e) in the US or Abroad?

by Anthony Mance, Esq.

marriageA frequent concern among couples applying for a fiancé(e) visa is whether there is a preference within immigration law when it comes to when and where a marriage between a U.S. citizen and a foreign fiancé(e) should take place. Specifically, couples may wonder whether it is more advantageous to get married outside the United States and then apply as the spouse of a United States citizen (IR1, CR1, or K-3 visa), or to apply as a fiancé(e) (K-1 visa) and get married in the United States.  The answer depends on several factors, which we describe in detail below. Continue reading

Webinar 4/29: How to Bring Your Business to the Largest Consumer Economy in the World

Presenting to Startup Chile

The original presentation at Startup Chile in Santiago, Chile

On April 29, 2015 at 11 am PST, The Grady Firm attorneys will be presenting a webinar on how foreign entrepreneurs can do business in the United States, from a corporate and immigration law perspective.

Today, A.T. Kearney released its 15th annual Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, which ranks countries based on how changes in their political, economic, and regulatory systems are likely to affect foreign direct investment inflows in the coming yearsThe Index ranks the United States as #1 for the third year in a row.  Learn how to be a part of that investment trend during the following presentation:

HOW TO BRING YOUR BUSINESS TO THE LARGEST CONSUMER ECONOMY IN THE WORLD Continue reading

H-1B Cap Reached by April 7, 2015 for Fiscal Year 2016

American Visa (XL)by Jennifer Grady, Esq.

On April 7, 2105, USCIS announced that it reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2016.  USCIS received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption, and more than the 65,000 “regular cap” limit for applicants without a Master’s Degree.  U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as engineering, science, and computer programming. 

In the meantime, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2016 H-1B cap. 

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SEC Rules Everyday Citizens (Non-Accredited Investors) Can Now Participate in Equity Crowdfunding & Invest in Startups

by Jennifer Grady, Esq.

CrowfundingFinally, after three years the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that investments in businesses with less than $50 million no longer require that an investor be an “accredited investor.”  This means that everyday citizens can now invest in Startups and small businesses as an investor on Crowdfunding platforms.  The long-awaited decision to democratize small business and Startup funding comes from Title IV of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, and will done initially through what are called Regulation A+ investment offerings. Continue reading

Looking for Path to a Green Card? Try the EB-5 Investor Visa

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

For foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live, work, and attend university in the United States with in-state tuition rates, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.  The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card).  The EB-5 Visa requires an initial investment of USD $500,000 to $1 million, and comes with Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card), and ultimately, US citizenship.  This article will discuss the EB-5 “million dollar visa” option.  What may be surprising is that an investor can be eligible for this visa with only a $500,000 investment in a rural or targeted employment area. Continue reading

What is the E-2 “Entrepreneur Investor” Visa, and Who Qualifies for this Visa?

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Dolla billFor foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live, work, and attend university in the United States with in-state tuition rates, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.  The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card).  The EB-5 Visa requires an initial investment of USD $500,000 to $1 million, and comes with Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card), and ultimately, US citizenship.  This article will discuss the details of the E-2 “Entrepreneur Investor Visa.”                     Continue reading

The Grady Firm, P.C. Celebrates Its Third Anniversary With Expansion Across California and Latin America

cropped-logo-with-landscape-photo.jpg

On March 19, 2015, The Grady Firm, P.C. celebrates its third anniversary. Founded in 2012 by Jennifer Grady, Esq. as a one-woman firm dedicated to serving the legal and business counseling needs of entrepreneurs, the firm has evolved into a one-stop shop for business owners with a team of eight attorneys specializing in business, employment, litigation, immigration, and international business law.

The Los Angeles office located at 5900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

The Los Angeles office in Miracle Mile

The firm has offices throughout California, in its Los Angeles Headquarters in the museum district of Miracle Mile; the Financial District of San Francisco; and the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. Most recently, The Grady Firm will be partnering with a law firm in Guadalajara, Mexico, in order to establish a link between businesses in the United States and Mexico, and open its first office abroad.

Presenting to Startup Chile

Ms. Grady speaking to entrepreneurs at Start-up Chile

This year, the firm expanded globally by pursuing international business opportunities in Chile, Argentina, and Mexico by acting as the liaison for international Startups wishing to expand their market reach to the United States. To that end, Ms. Grady attended the IIUSA EB-5 Conference in San Francisco in October; gave a presentation to a community of international entrepreneurs at Start-up Chile, a government-funded incubator in Santiago de Chile; and established relationships with Argentinian, Mexican, and Swedish investors intending to open new businesses in the United States.

Ambassador Locke

With Ambassador Locke, former US Ambassador to China, at the IIUSA EB-5 Conference in San Francisco

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President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration on Hold Pending Further Legal Action

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Anthony Mance, Esq.

Statue of LibertyOn November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

However, on February 16, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued a ruling that has led to the temporary suspension of President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration. The ruling prevents the Obama administration from implementing the proposed expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) until the constitutionality of the executive actions can be determined. Continue reading

Santiago, Chile Named to Top 5 Emerging Startup Hubs by Inc. Magazine

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

The March 2015 issue of Inc. Magazine named Santiago de Chile one of the top five emerging Startup hubs for opportunities to launch or expand internationally.  According to Inc. Magazine, one of the top draws to Santiago, a city of  6.3 million inhabitants, is Start-up Chile, the government-sponsored incubator program that attracts top international talent with a one-year visa, free workspace, and $33,000 in seed money that does not have to be repaid. Over 16,000 applicants applied to the program, and 1,000 companies from 75 countries have been selected to date.  According to its website, Start-up Chile’s goal is “to hasten the occurrence of customer-validated and scalable companies that will leave a lasting impact on the Latin American ecosystem”. Continue reading

Jennifer Grady, Esq. to Speak at Just People and Start-up Chile in Santiago: How to Do Business and Live in the US Legally

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

JustPeople

SANTIAGO, CHILE-  Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. will be speaking to Chilean entrepreneurs on February 20th, 2015 from 11 am to 12 pm at JustPeople in Las Condes, Santiago de Chile.  She will present a seminar on the practical aspects of achieving the American Dream by living and doing business in the United States, and will provide practical examples from a business and immigration law perspective. In addition, Ms. Grady will be joined by Mariana Noli, Esq., an intellectual property attorney based out of San Diego, CA and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Changes to California Employment Laws in 2015 that Every Employer Should Know

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

California-State-Capitol1The California Legislature was quite active in 2014, resulting in several substantial changes to the law for 2015 that are employee-friendly.  Employers should take note of the changes to the law described below.

I. CHANGES TO WAGE AND LABOR LAWS

1. Minimum Wage Increases

The minimum wage increased statewide, with even higher increases in particular cities:

  • California’s minimum wage of $9.00 will increase again to $10.00 on January 1, 2016;
  • San Francisco wages will increase to $11.05 on January 1, 2015; then to $12.25 in May; wages will increase every year thereafter until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 in 2018;
  • Oakland will increase to $12.25 on March 2, 2015;
  • San Diego will increase to $9.75 on January 1, 2015;
  • Note: exempt employees must meet new minimum wage laws

Continue reading

Can’t I Just Hire an Intern? What Employers Need to Know to Stay Compliant With California Law

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

Photo Credit Buzzghana.com

Photo Credit Buzzghana.com

Internship programs provide great benefits to businesses and interns alike, but employers must comply with both California and Federal laws in order to avoid potential lawsuits and fines.

To clarify, a person hired as an unpaid intern must (1) be a student enrolled in an accredited academic program and receive academic credit for the internship, or (2) be enrolled in a program that provides training and is approved by a public agency.  If the intern is not part of an accredited program, the employer must pay the intern at least minimum wage for all hours worked. Continue reading

The Grady Firm, P.C. Donates to “Reading Open Minds” Charity

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

Reading Opens Minds LogoThe Grady Firm, P.C. is proud to support the good work of Reading Opens Minds, a charity promoting community and literacy by bringing the joy of reading and sharing to disadvantaged populations and at-risk youth through book clubs in county jails, halfway houses, clinics and schools in the Los Angeles area.  The organization provides new books and facilitates weekly, bi-monthly or monthly club meetings where members’ opinions and insights are heard and valued.

The Grady Firm attorneys agree with Reading Open Minds’ philosophy that the shared experience of reading and discussion encourages a stronger sense of self-worth, empathy and community, while supporting higher literacy levels.  Reading Opens Minds provides new books and facilitates weekly, bi-monthly or monthly club meetings where members’ opinions and insights are heard and valued.

The Grady Firm made its donation through Process Green, and will continue to make this donation annually.   Its attorneys will also act as volunteers during the after school program for middle school and high school students.  To learn more about donating or volunteering for this organization, visit the Reading Opens Minds website.

New Laws Limit the Scope and Privacy of Arbitration in California Starting January 1, 2015

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

Photo ANCA Western Region

Photo ANCA Western Region

California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law aiming to restrict the reach of arbitration agreements, starting January 2015. The bills have the effect of chilling arbitration by making it a less attractive option for employers and making it less private.

1. Private Arbitration Providers Must Publish Quarterly Matter Details Online re Consumer Arbitrations

After January 1, 2015, AB 802 will have the effect of reducing the privacy of arbitration by requiring major arbitration providers such as JAMS and AAA to publish at least quarterly on their websites detailed information concerning consumer matters they have abritrated.  Continue reading