How to Comply With E-Verify Requirements

712fv2lM04L.pngby Jennifer Grady, Esq.

On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice increased monetary penalties substantially for employers who knowingly employ an unauthorized worker. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), it is unlawful for an employer to hire or continue to employ a person knowing that the person is not authorized to work in the United States. This law requires that employers verify employment eligibility of all employees by completing a Form I-9.  Failure to comply with these rules subjects employers to substantial penalties. Continue reading

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New I-9 Form Must be Used by Jan 21, 2017

I-9The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that an updated Form I-9 has been approved. While the current form had a revision date of 03/08/2013 N and expired in March this year, is is acceptable for continued use until January 17, 2017.

On August 25, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. USCIS must publish a revised form by November 22, 2016. After January 21, 2017, all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid. Make sure you are always using the most current, acceptable version of the Form I-9, and ensure that the I-9 is completed by all new employees within three days of hire.

For more information on self-audits and other Form I-9 issues, see the “Handbook for Employers” https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/m-274.pdf issued by USCIS. Find the latest version of the I-9 form here.

JGrady Firm-Logo-2016The Grady Firm, P.C. attorneys specialize in helping businesses grow and succeed through employment, business, and immigration law advising for clients in California.  They help perform personnel audits, train employers on employment law compliance, provide on-demand legal analysis for hiring and firing questions, and provide leadership and sexual harassment training in English and Spanish.

To learn more about ensuring your business is compliant with state and local laws, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (323) 450-9010; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.

The EB-5 Program Buys More Time Until December

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The EB-5 Program, as it presently stands, grants permanent residence to foreign investors if they invest $500,000 (in high unemployment areas) or $1 million (in low unemployment areas) in a new business that employs at least 10 U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents on a full-time basis.

Since its inception in 1990, many believe the program minimum amounts of investment is due for an increase, and there has been speculation that the minimum amounts will increase, from $500,000 to $800,000 and from $1 million to $1.2 million, respectively.

Congress extended the EB-5 visa program on September 30, 2016, allowing the program to run until December 2016.  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

The Grady Firm to Host Seminar on Expanding to the US in Vancouver January 20, 2016

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After a successful and productive engagement with Vancouver Start Up Week in September, California-based business and immigration attorney, Jennifer Grady Esq., is returning to Vancouver in January 2016. During her visit, Jennifer will be attending the BC Tech Summit, and will will also be meeting with entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and people interested in expanding their business into the United States.

On Wednesday, January 20, Jennifer will be hosting a “meet and greet” happy hour and informative seminar on the legal and business issues that Canadian entrepreneurs must consider when doing business in the United States. On January 20th and 21st, she will be offering one-on-one meetings with individuals and companies that would like to learn more about the issues that face their particular industries and backgrounds when expanding abroad.

Please join Jennifer and fellow entrepreneurs on January 20 for a an evening of wine, socializing, and information!

Presentation: “How to Expand Your Business to the Largest Consumer Economy in the World”
Wine and Appetizers Provided

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia

Limited seating available; RSVP here (email afogerty@gradyfirm.com) by January 15.

View More: http://elyanaphotography.pass.us/jenniferOne-on-One Meetings and Consultations
Wednesday, January 20, 2016, and
Thursday, January 21, 2016.

To reserve an appointment, call (323) 450-9010, or fill out a Contact Request Form. Read more about Jennifer and the firm on our website.

 

Decreased IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2016

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© Jennifer Grady

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2016 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. The rates show a significant decrease from last year’s rates.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

 

  • 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015;
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015; and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

Continue reading

Starting or Growing Your Business in California? Check out these state and local tax incentives

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Los Angeles (c) Jennifer Grady

For the entrepreneur beginning the process of establishing a Startup, one of the primary considerations is its location. It is crucial to evaluate the location, incentives available to the company, and the resources available when planning for the future success of the company.

The State of California, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles County have a variety of incentive programs available to both small and large businesses. While incentives should not be the only reason why one should consider a location, incentives may be one of many factors that could help lead to a final location decision.

Incentive programs typically fall into two categories: legislated and discretionary. State and federal legislated incentives are “on the books” and available to any business that meets stated criteria. Discretionary incentives are customized and provided by certain cities and only for specific projects on a case-by-case basis. In almost every case, discretionary incentives come into play when a community is trying to attract a large business operation that brings significant investment into that community and will have a substantial impact on jobs created.

The Los Angeles County 2015/2016 Business Incentives and Resources Guide describes the federal, state and local business incentives; employee training; business assistance; financial assistance; and additional “green” resources that can help you locate to L.A. County and/or grow your business here. Read below for a sampling of the state level and local tax incentives for 2016.

To learn more about the pros and cons of moving your Startup to Silicon Valley, read this article.

Continue reading

Changes to CA Minimum Wage Will Impact Employers’ Budgets for 2016- Are You Prepared?

by Jennifer Grady, Esq.

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California’s minimum wage will increase again on Jan. 1, 2016

With just a few weeks until the end of 2015, employers are rapidly approaching the statutory California minimum wage increase set to take place on January 1, 2016.  This increase means that employers must review their monthly and annual expenses to determine how the salary increase will affect their overall budget, and how it may impact the wages of workers that are already earning more than the minimum wage.  Continue reading

5 Secrets to Preparing a Successful H-1B Application

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

H-1B visaOne of the most notorious ways for foreign professionals to obtain a visa and even a Green Card in the US is through an H-1B visa, which requires sponsorship by the professional’s employer, and can be granted for three years with one additional three year renewal. The H-1B allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, and requires a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

However, with great benefits comes great competition. The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Due to the United States’ stability in an increasingly unstable world, in 2015, 233,000 foreigners applied for the H-1B, a significant increase over 2014 (172,500 applications), and nearly double the applicants from two years ago Lottery Balls(124,000). Because the average applicant with a bachelor’s degree has only a 27% chance of making the quota, it is essential to not only meet the requirements and have an outstanding application, but to first make it into the H-1B lottery. Continue reading

New Employer Notices and Increased Minimum Wage for 2016 in California

Give-me-a-raiseIn continuing the increase the minimum wage at a steady pace, California will increase the minimum wage again to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.

However, certain cities and counties will have higher minimum wages.  For example, As of July 1, 2016, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles will increase to $10.50 per hour, with annual increases from up to $12 (2017), $13.25 (2018), $14.25 (2019) and $15 per hour by 2020.

The minimum wage in San Francisco will increase to $13 per hour on July 1, 2o16, and will increase by a dollar per year thereafter.  San Diego will hike its minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017, a measure it passed last August despite a veto from the city’s mayor.

With the new laws, California requires that employers update their mandated employment notice, even if they have only one employee. Employers are required to post two (2) notices to their employees:

  1.  A poster containing State and Federal Labor Law Information, available for purchase here; and
  2. An industry-specific wage order, available for free.

Continue reading

Can’t Afford a Green Card Just Yet? How to Obtain Permanent Residency by Transitioning From the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to EB-5

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

American Visa (XL)The E-2 treaty investor visa can be a great way for a foreign entrepreneur to open a business and live and work in the United States legally. What’s more, it is relatively affordable in that it only requires a “substantial” capital investment in a bona fide U.S. enterprise (usually in the amount of $100,000 to $250,000). The investor must be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

The E-2 visa allows the status holder from a treaty country, and his or her family, to come to the United States to open and operate a personal business; the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are able to attend school and work as dependents of the visa. Unfortunately, however, the E-2 treaty investor status does not offer a direct path to Permanent Residence. This means that unless the status holder, or the status holder’s immediate family, has a separate path to Permanent Residence, the visa holder and family will not be able to obtain Permanent Residence status, regardless of how long they maintain their E-2 status. This is further complicated by the fact that the E-2 status is temporary and must be regularly renewed with no guarantee of success.

Furthermore, because the E-2 visa is only available to member of treaty countries, it is not available to everyone. For example, citizens of mainland China, India, Russia, and Brazil are ineligible for the E-2 visa. Continue reading

Canadian Immigration Policy Turns Against Investor-Based Immigration, Leading to More Opportunities for Foreign Investors in the United States

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

 A report in the Hong Kong media led to the downfall of the world’s most popular investor-based visa program in Canada, leaving thousands of foreign investors out in the cold. According to an article published in Forbes magazine on February 13, 2014, the Canadian government announced the immediate cancellation of the popular investor visa program after the highly publicized report stated that “the country’s investor visa program had become an express lane for wealthy Chinese hoping to secure overseas residency”. The cancellation of the program meant that 65,000 pending applications, including 45,500 of which were submitted by individuals from Mainland China, were immediately eliminated.

In a statement made on the evening of February 11, 2014, the Canadian government announced the termination of both the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and Federal Entrepreneur (EN) program. In 2011, approximately 10,000 immigrants entered Canada through the IIP, while almost 1,000 entered through the EN program. Continue reading

Why Does Your Company Need an Employee Handbook?

EmployeeHandbook_Pop_6467Wage and hour disputes are on the rise in California, where the laws tend to favor the employee over the employer.  One of the first things that plaintiff’s counsel will ask for in a lawsuit is a copy of the company’s Employee Handbook, so it is essential that a company have a tailored, up-to-date Handbook that outlines the company’s policies, along with the relevant California leave laws.

Employee Handbooks should be updated annually, and the signature pages must be kept in the employee’s personnel files as evidence that the employee reviewed the document.

Read the full article here.

The Grady Firm. P.C. attorneys provide custom-drafted Employee Handbooks and forms to make the lives easier for company owners and Human Resources Managers.  To learn how we may be able to assist you, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with our attorneys here, or call (323) 450-9010.

Apply for a Specialty Occupation H1-B Visa by April 1, 2014 to Avoid Waiting Another Year and a Half to Work in the U.S.

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Apply for an H1-B visa by April 1, 2014 to meet USCIS deadlines

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and science. Under the H1-B visa, a U.S. company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years (three years initially, plus an additional 3-year extension).  Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the H1-B visa holder with an H-4 visa. Continue reading