Apply NOW for U.S. Citizenship: Vote in November Elections & Have Your Application Reviewed Before a New President Takes the White House

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If you are a Legal Permanent Resident who has held off on applying for U.S. citizenship, now is the time to submit your application to USCIS so that it can be reviewed and approved before November 2016.

First, immigration will be a big ticket issue in the upcoming election, and the outcome and future of U.S. immigration policy could ride on your vote.  Click the links to read more about the immigration platforms of the current Democratic (Hillary Clinton) and Republican (Donald Trump) U.S. presidential candidates.

hillaryclinton.wikimediaSecond, as the new president and his or her cabinet may have a different vision of immigration reform than that held by the current administration, it’s prudent to apply for immigration relief before the powers in charge change.donaldtrump.wikimedia

Third, in anticipation of the upcoming election, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has reduced the processing period for naturalization and other immigration applications to between approximately three to six (3-6) months.

Even if you are not eligible for naturalization, you may be able to apply for legal immigration status under various other laws currently in effect.  But you must act now, as any of these laws could change based on the outcome of the November elections. Continue reading

Much Anticipated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Report for Southern California Released at SelectLA

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Jennifer Grady, Esq. recently participated in the Select LA 2016 Investment Summit. SelectLA is the precursor to SelectUSA, a federal division of the Department of Commerce that seeks to attract international businesses to the United States. An international and domestic audience of more than 350 investors and business people attended the SelectLA summit on June 17, 2016 at the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles.  Panelists included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, President of World Trade Center Los Angeles Stephen Cheung, as well as many other top officials from various Los Angeles organizations such as LA Metro, Los Angeles World Airports, and the Los Angeles Ports.

Summary of FDI Report

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From left: Rodrigo Mladinic Dragicevic, Chilean Trade Commissioner; Jennifer Grady, The Grady Firm; Stephen Cheung, President of World Trade Center Los Angeles

At the summit, the World Trade Center Los Angeles released its much anticipated and expansive Foreign Direct Investment report for Southern California.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a common way for private entities and individuals, both in developed and less developed nations, to increase their wealth and capital by investing beyond their national borders. In 2015, global FDI flows amounted to nearly $1.7 trillion, making it the highest level of international capital flows in the last eight years. The United States is the recipient of more FDI than any other country, and in 2015 received $384 billion in FDI flows, the highest level since 2000. Continue reading

URGENT: Employers MUST Post New Federal Minimum Wage and Polygraph Posters By August 1, 2016

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ATTENTION all Employers:

The Department of Labor recently revised the federal mandatory minimum wage and polygraph posters that employers must post in the workplace.

Although the federal minimum wage did not change, the new minimum wage poster now contains information regarding the consequences of incorrectly classifying workers as independent contractors, in addition to a new section on the rights of nursing mothers.

The new federal polygraph poster now contains updated contact information for the Department of Labor, and no longer contains a reference to the penalty amount of up to $10,000 for violation of the law.

employment posterEmployers are required to post the updated posters in a conspicuous area of the workplace by no later than August 1, 2016. Continue reading

Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave Law Updates for California Cities and Counties

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On April 4, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the “Fair Wage Act of 2016,” a bill that aims to increase California’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by the year 2022. Under California law, employers must also offer employees at least 3 days, or 24 hours, of sick leave per year. This statewide law applies to all cities and counties within the state of California. However, some cities within California have chosen to add to the statewide laws with their own more expansive minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances. As it can be difficult for employers to keep track of all these constant changes, we have taken the time to highlight some of those changes in several major California cities.

CALIFORNIA STATE LAW- ALL COUNTIES

As of January 1, 2016 the required minimum wage for the state of California is $10.00 per hour. On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage for business with 26 employees or more will increase to $10.50 an hour. On January 1, 2018 it will increase to $11.00 an hour and by $1 each subsequent year until it reaches $15.00 in 2022. Employers with 25 employees or less will have an extra year to comply with the new law, and the wage increase will not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

In addition, any employee who works in California for 30 or more days is entitled to receive paid sick leave. An employer is required to provide a minimum of 3 days of sick leave per year, and after 90 days of employment an employee may begin to accrue sick leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Accrued sick leave may be carried over to the next year, however an employer may choose to cap the amount of paid six leave an employee may use per year to 6 days or 48 hours.

Notice to Employees

Employers must provide notice of these laws to employees by: (1) Displaying the state’s official poster; (2) Including paid sick leave information in the wage notices of nonexempt employees; and (3) Including the amount of paid sick leave available in the employees’ wage statements. Employers must also keep records documenting hours worked and paid sick leave accrued for the last 3 years.

These minimum statewide laws apply to all cities and counties in California, and includes the regions below.

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Immigration Options and State-Sponsored Incentives for Companies Doing Business in California Seminar at LAX Chamber on September 27, 2016

LAX chamber.pngIf you are a business that is planning to start or relocate to California, join us for an informative presentation and panel discussion with a business and immigration lawyer, and representative from the California Governor’s office and Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s Office of International Trade.  We will discuss little-known incentives for new businesses in California, visa options for investors and entrepreneurs, and foreign direct investment in Los Angeles.

Event Title:      

Immigration Options and State-Sponsored Incentives for Companies Doing Business in California

Date:                         

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Presentations begin at 6:00 p.m.

Location:

LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce, 9100 S Sepulveda Blvd #210, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Hosts:

The Grady Firm, P.C. and the International Affairs and Business Development office of the Governor of California- GO-Biz, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Office of International Trade

Speakers:

Jennifer A. Grady, Esq., Business and Immigration attorney at The Grady Firm, PC

Brian Peck, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development- International Affairs and Business Development (GO-Biz)

Eric Eide, Director of Mayor Garcetti’s Office of International Trade

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J-1 Cultural Exchange Visitor Visa for Entrepreneurs, Scholars, Au Pairs, Professors, and Trainees

globe with kidsThe J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant US visa available to cultural exchange visitors, scholars, and professors. The Exchange Visitor Program fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. It is often used by entrepreneurs, “au pairs, ” or to obtain business or medical training in the United States. J-1 visas are obtained as part of an exchange program, and the Department of State designates both public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. All exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.

The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) provides opportunities for around 300,000 foreign visitors per year to experience United States society and culture and engage with Americans.  Exchange visitors on private sector programs may study, teach, do research, share their specialized skills, or receive on-the-job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.   EVP participants are young leaders and entrepreneurs, students, fledgling and more seasoned professionals eager to hone their skills, strengthen their English language abilities, connect with Americans, and learn more about the U.S. There are fifteen different categories under the J-1 visa program, including: professors and research scholars, short-term scholars, trainees, interns, college and university students, teachers, secondary school students, specialists, foreign medical graduates, camp counselors, au pairs, and the summer work travel program. Continue reading

E-1 Visa for Companies Doing More than Half of Their Business in the United States

cargo shipsThe United States is signatory to a number of treaties with other countries, allowing individuals and companies to develop business opportunities in the United States. As a result, “E- Visas” are available to visitors to the US interested in trade and investment.

As discussed in a previous post, E-2 visas are temporary visas based on a reciprocal commercial treaty between the United States and the individual’s country of nationality, where the individual is visiting the US primarily for investment purposes.

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Jennifer Grady, Esq. Addresses Investors at Sold-Out SelectUSA Investor Academy in Washington D.C.

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John McKiel, Mario de Castro, Jennifer Grady, Esq., Ron Palladino, and Rahul Beri address a sold-out crowd of foreign investors and entrepreneurs

On June 19, 2016, Jennifer Grady, Esq. spoke to over 350 attendees at the SelectUSA Summit Academy, a precursor to the SelectUSA Investment Summit the following day.  The Summit Academy is an orientation for participants from companies, state and local governments, and economic development organizations (EDOs) to provide information and practical tips on topics such as regulations and investment incentives, investor visas, and analytical tools to better understand current foreign direct investment (FDI) and reshoring trends.

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Raul Beri and Jennifer Grady, Esq., Summit Academy Panelists

The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event in the world dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. This signature event provides an unparalleled opportunity to bring together companies from all over the globe, economic development organizations from every corner of the nation, and other parties working to facilitate business investment in the United States. Featuring senior government officials, C-Suite business executives, and other thought leaders, each summit focuses on a timely theme related to the U.S. investment environment, industry trends, and new opportunities.

Summit Academy

As part of the “Investor Track,”  Ms. Grady and her fellow panelists, Mario de Castro, Ron Palladino, and Rahul Beri, and moderator John McKiel, spoke to a sold-out academy about tax, visa, and banking tips for foreign entrepreneurs and investors.  The panelists also provided “best practices” advice to help guide the audience through the process of establishing a business in the United States.  Mr. Beri provide a real-world example of the success he had with expanding his business, Teknol to the state of New York. Continue reading

Visiting the US for Business or Pleasure? You May Need a B-1 or B-2 Visa

American Visa (XL)B-1 and B-2 visas, also known as “visitor visas,” are nonimmigrant visas for persons who wish to  temporarily enter the United States for business, tourism/pleasure, or a combination of both purposes. The process to obtain visitor visas is relatively simple, but visitors must comply with the regulations in order to ensure that their stay in the United States is legal and complication-free. Continue reading

The Grady Firm Selected as California Employers Association Partner Firm

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The Grady Firm is pleased to announce that it has been selected to serve the the  California Employers Association, which serves 9,000 businesses throughout the state of California, as a  “Partner Law Firm” and on-demand outside legal counsel.  As a Partner Firm, The Grady Firm will offer legal counseling, training, litigation defense, and discounts to CEA members on its legal services.

As a one-stop shop for business owners, the Grady Firm is one of two member firms supporting CEA’s Southern California members, and the only firm specializing in the following areas: employment advising; employment/wage and hour litigation;  sexual harassment training; immigration, an business law.  All services are offered in English and Spanish.  As a Partner Firm, The Grady Firm will offer discounts to CEA members on its legal services. Continue reading

How Will the 2016 Presidential Election Affect Immigration Reform?

election.wikimediaby Jennifer Grady, Esq. and Grady Firm Law Clerk

With the American presidential election cycle in full swing, immigration reform continues to be a heated and controversial topic.  The presidential campaign front-runners, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, have widely divergent perspectives on the issue.  Below is a look at each candidate’s stance on the ability of undocumented immigrants to gain legal US citizenship. Continue reading

Santa Monica, CA Minimum Wage Increase to Take Effect on July 1, 2016

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On April 28, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a mandatory minimum wage increase to $10.50 per hour, which will take effect on July 1, 2016.

Santa Monica’s new ordinance mirrors the minimum wage laws adopted by Los Angeles earlier this year. Continue reading

California Employers: Prepare for New Overtime Rules Effective December 1, 2016

numbers-time-watch-white.pexelsOn May 18, 2016, President Obama  and Secretary  Perez announced the Department of Labor’s final rule updating overtime regulations, to the disappointment of many employers.  The new rule, which will automatically provide overtime pay protections to over four million  workers within its first year of implementation, goes into effect on December 1, 2016.

The Department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on July 6, 2015 (80 FR 38515) and invited interested parties to submit written comments on the proposed rule at www.regulations.gov by September 4, 2015. The Department received over 270,000 comments in response to the NPRM from a variety of interested stakeholders. The feedback the Department received helped shape the Final Rule. Continue reading

Jennifer Grady Esq. to Participate in SelectLA International Investor Summit; Keynote Speech by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti

NEW-Select-LA-Logo-4-11-16-166x300On June 16 and 17, 2016, Jennifer Grady, Esq. will be attending the SelectLA International Investor Summit in downtown Los Angeles, California.  SelectLA is is Southern California’s premier international trade event at which local leaders in business and government will gather with investors from around the globe in order to facilitate foreign direct investment and provide exclusive insights on opportunities in the Los Angeles region. SelectLA is hosted by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (@LAEDC).  Ms. Grady will be one of the local experts with whom international investors can consult on business and immigration issues during the business matchmaking session on June 17.

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SelectLA’s 2015 VIP Reception

This year, the event kicks off with a VIP reception at Fox Studios on June 16, followed by a day of corporate matchmaking, education, and presentations on June 17. The keynote speaker will be Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Last year, speakers included Larry Kurzweil (President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood); Peter Rice (Chairman & CEO, Fox Networks Group); Chance Barnett (CEO, Crowdfunder), Ted Craver (CEO, Edison International); and Michael Antonovich (Chairman, LA County Board of Supervisors). Continue reading

Starting or Relocating a Business in California? Check out these Little-Known Tax and Setup Incentives

california.unsplashby Jennifer Grady, Esq.

The State of California offers numerous incentives and assistance programs to  businesses of all sizes and industries that are considering expansion into the Golden State, whether they plan to have 3, 50, or 20,000+ employees.

From tax breaks, to help with site selection, to employee training, and development bonds, there are numerous government-sponsored programs in place to help small to large businesses successfully transition to opening business in the state. Below are some examples of the types of business support available in California.

Programs and Services from GO-Biz, The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

 Site Selection AssistanceGO-Biz Logo (web)

GO-Biz will conduct a confidential site selection search on your behalf, or provide you with a broker to guide you through the local commercial real estate market.

In addition, GO-Biz will send out a Request for Information to city managers and economic development departments to obtain off-market information about city, state, and county-owned properties available for lease for discounted rates, even as little as $1.00 per year.

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