Use your widget sidebars in the admin Design tab to change this little blurb here. Add the text widget to the Blurb Sidebar!

LED USA Provides Energy Savings to Businesses Nationwide

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Founded by a Florida immigrant, LED USA is a new Florida enterprise that provides commercial lighting solutions with the goal of reducing costs and environmental impacts for your building.  ImmigrationSarasota.com recently spoke with Ric Robideau of LED USA to learn more.

Discover LED USA on Facebook

Discover LED USA on Facebook. Click on the image.

The company was formed in April 2014 by Giovanni Giannini, an architect from South Africa.  Ric, an electrical engineer who’s worked on projects for Tervis Tumblr and other major corporations in Florida, is the projects manager.

Ric and Giovanni noticed a problem.  Commercial building owners were wasting money on outdated and inefficient lighting (lighting costs can reach up to 70% of a building’s electric bill).  Moreover, owners were going to have to switch their lighting eventually as the government is actually phasing out incandescent and fluorescent lights.  But there were few providers with the expertise and business savvy to properly help them.  They decided to become the solution.

For their first project, they took on the landmark Palm Towers in downtown Sarasota.  Palm Towers was using a combination of fluorescent and incandescent lighting.  With a free energy audit, LED USA found that the building could save $.9 per lightbulb.  In addition, LED USA found they could introduce smart technology to further lower energy costs.  They estimated the retrofit would cost $60,000 but the savings would begin immediately; $39,000 in savings per year to be exact.  In only 2.1 years the savings would pay for the initial investment.  What’s more, LED lights have a warranty of 10 years so the savings would continue.  By the end of 10 years the building should save a net of about $312,000 on its energy bills.

LED USA has also performed an energy audit on a nearby restaurant.  The bill for that retrofit would come to $3,000 but the savings would start at $4,300 per year; producing an even quicker return than the Palm Towers.

Today, LED USA is quoting companies on projects of up to $250,000.

LED USA rests on the quality of its products.  They offer GE or Cree LED lights, which meet the highest underwriting standards.  There’s no compromise on the amount of light.  In fact, some would argue that switching to LEDs improves the light quantity and quality in a building, as these before and after photos show.  

LED USA Saves Businesses Money on Energy Costs

LED USA Saves Businesses Money on Energy Costs

LED USA is also a LEED qualified lighting provider, the most widely-recognized environmental vetting a company can achieve.

Financing is available for projects up to $3 million.  Even with financing charges, companies still see positive cashflow after their building starts saving energy.

For more information feel free to contact Ric (ric_ledusa@verizon.net) or Giovanni (LEDGiovanni@verizon.net).


Immigrant Students Can Find Enhanced Resources at DHS Website

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Employer & Student Visas | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from DHS bulletin.

Photo by Charles Reed

Numbers and origin of international students in US from January-April 2014.  Image by Charles Reed

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched an enhanced Study in the States website Monday with four new features.  The features enable the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), housed within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), to convey pertinent information to stakeholders about the international student process in a clear and interactive manner.

The new features include: 

  • An interactive glossary
  • An “Ask a Question” section
  • An enhanced School Search page
  • A mobile-ready version of Study in the States

“Being an international student is a complex process that involves several government agencies, and the new Study in the States tools will help students and schools easily find the latest news, information, interactive guides and videos they need,” said SEVP Director Lou Farrell.

The revamped site also features streamlined navigation and a blog geared to international students and school officials. Users can translate the site into multiple languages.  

The Study in the States website serves as an information hub for the international student community.  It brings together the various federal agencies that play a role in implementing our student visa and exchange visitor programs, including ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Study in the States was launched by former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in 2011, as part of a larger DHS initiative to enhance economic, scientific and technological competitiveness by finding new ways to encourage the most talented international students to study and learn about expanded post-graduate opportunities in the United States.  This initiative includes a focus on streamlining the student visa process, enhancing coordination among government agencies and keeping international students better informed about student visa rules and regulations.  

SEVP monitors approximately one million international students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the United States and their dependents. It also certifies schools and programs that enroll these students.  The U.S. Department of State monitors exchange visitors (J visa holders) and their dependents, and oversees exchange visitor programs.

Both use the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to protect national security by ensuring that students, visitors and schools comply with U.S. laws.  SEVP also collects and shares SEVIS information with government partners, including CBP and USCIS, so only legitimate international students and exchange visitors gain entry into the United States.

HSI reviews potential SEVIS records for potential violations and refers cases with potential national security or public safety concerns to its field offices for further investigation. Additionally, SEVP’s Analysis and Operations Center reviews student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.


NEW Florida Business Opportunity on Anna Maria Island

Posted: June 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Today we learned about a new business opportunity for Florida immigrants who are searching for good investments that can help them qualify for an E-2 or EB-5 visa.  It comes in the form of a 3,088 sq-ft restaurant on a barrier island near Sarasota with a cozy 3-bedroom apartment above – makes for an easy commute.

2014.0624.Restaurant

STOCK image of restaurant interior. Contact the broker for real photos.

The details:

  • 3,088 SF restaurant with full bar (4-COP) located in Holmes beach, with gulf views.
  • Additional 1,400 SF 3BD apartment above.
  • Sale price: $475,000.
  • Rent would be $5,000 per mo. (including the apt. above) plus Tenant pays
  • Property taxes, insurance & Maint. (about $13,000 yr)
  • The restaurant did about $500k for 2013 (open only for dinner 7 nights)
  • Cash flow: $183,000.
  • If you deduct the expense of rent and NNN charges ($73,000) the net to a new operator would be about $110k.
  • Real estate is also for sale for $1.3M

Interested parties should contact Mr. John Caragiulo, an experienced business broker, at jcaragiulo@hembreeco.com.

As always, the attorneys at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm stand ready to advise you on making any investment with the goal of securing a temporary E-2 or immigrant EB-5 visa.


Sarasota Attorney Victoria Karins Elected Chair of AILA

Posted: June 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Victoria Karins Re-Assumes Role as Leader of Central Florida Immigration Attorneys

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

Sarasota, FL 6/16/2014: Sarasota attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins was re-elected Chair of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in June.  She assumes this leadership role amid an era of change in immigration law.

The announcement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has been followed by the stall of immigration reform in the House.  During this time, the Obama Administration has made additional changes at the Federal level to immigration procedure that build on Deferred Action.

Changes have also occurred at the state level.  Bills that allow undocumented childhood arrivals to qualify for in-state tuition and to practice law in Florida are among a few of the latest developments.

Ms. Karins brings continuity and experience to her role as Chair.  This is the second year in a row she’s been elected to the leadership and she has practiced immigration law for almost 20 years.

She has been taking an active part in her role; traveling to DC twice to speak before lawmakers and blogging for the AILA website.

“I’m honored to have been elected to the leadership by such dedicated and hard-working peers,” Ms. Karins said.  “It’s very interesting to be so involved at this time of transformation,” she continued.


Events and Opportunities for Germans in Florida Including Possibility of Working at German Parliament

Posted: June 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | No Comments »

2014.0607.German Consulate

German immigrants in Florida might be interested in the events and opportunities shared with us by the German consulate.  We’ve copied the description of an internship opportunity at the German consulate below.

Please take a look at the full Event Newsletter from June 6, 2014 here.

Would you like to work at the German Parliament?

The German Bundestag invites you, in cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, and Technische Universität Berlin, to apply for an International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) to spend five months in Berlin. The IPS program is aimed at highly qualified young men and women who will return home after the program with the determination to play an active and responsible role in shaping their countries’ democratic future. The German Bundestag, the German Parliament, offers young people the opportunity to get to know the German parliamentary system and political decision-making processes and to gain practical experience of parliamentary work during a 15-week work placement with a Member of the Bundestag. The scholarship-winners are chosen by the German Bundestag’s independent selection panel. The program takes place from March 1 to July 31, 2015. The selection interviews are held in the United States.

Requirements:

-US citizenship

-University degree

-Very good knowledge of German

-Knowledge of German politics, society and history

-Under the age of 30 at the start of the scholarship

Scholarship:

-Free accommodation

-Insurance and travel expenses

Deadline for applications: June 30, 2014.

Additional information is available online at:

http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/europa_internationales/internat_austausch/ips/


90-year-old Sarasota Immigrant Becomes Citizen

Posted: May 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Congratulations to Don Fisher for recently completing the naturalization process and becoming a U.S. citizen at the age of 90.  Don first moved to the U.S. in 1984 and had E-2 Treaty Investor visa status from 1987 to 2010.  After six consecutive E-2 visas Don married a U.S. citizen and became a permanent resident in 2010.  

At age 90, Don is believed to be the oldest client in the 30 year history of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm to become a U.S. citizen.  We took a picture of Don in the office with his Naturalization Certificate.

Don says the following about the process, “it was a challenge, but we did enjoy the chase.” 

Congratulations again to Don Fisher!

-P. Christopher Jaensch


Q&A for Diversity Visa Applicants Attempting to Log into Entrant Status Check Website

Posted: May 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This post is related to our earlier post about the issues the Kentucky Consular Center has been having with the Entrant Status Check website.  The technical problem with the Entrant Status Check system has led to many questions.  We contacted the Kentucky Consular Center for answers and are posting them below.

How will I know if I have been selected?

  • The only proof that you have been selected to process further in the DV-2015 program is a notice with your name on it that states you have been selected.  When you log into the Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the dvlottery.state.govwebsite you will see one of two responses:
  • If you see a message that says you were selected, and it includes your name, you have been selected to process further in the DV-2015 lottery.  Please review the website at www.dvselectee.state.gov for full instructions on how to proceed.
  • If you see a message that says you were not selected, you have not been selected to process further in the DV-2015 lottery.  You may enter again next year.  This message will not include your name.

When I logged in, I got a message saying I was not selected, but there was no name on the screen. What does that mean?

  • That means you were not selected.  If you were not selected for further processing, you will receive a standard message that applies to anyone who was not selected.  It will not have your name on it.

 I saw a selection notice, but it had someone else’s name on it. What do I do? 

  • If you log into the ESC now and see a notice that says you were selected, but it is addressed to another person, this does not mean that you have been selected. You should contact KCC at KCCDV@state.gov for further information.  Include your name and confirmation number, and tell KCC at what time you tried to log in to the ESC.  (If this happened to you on May 1, there is no need to tell KCC. If it happens to you now, please let us know.)

Will these results change?  Should I check back again later to see if I was selected in the future?

  • These results are final.  We do not anticipate that there will be any additional names selected for DV-2015. 

 I am having problems logging in, or I am confused by my results.  Can KCC tell me if I was selected?

  • KCC cannot tell you if you have been selected for further processing.  The ESC is the only means by which you may check your status.

If you are unable to log into the ESC, please check to be sure you are entering your confirmation number correctly.  Some letters and numbers look similar to one another.  If the ESC web page is experiencing a high volume of requests, it may work very slowly and some connections may time out.  If this happens to you, please try again later. 

If you have lost your confirmation number, please try to retrieve it using the “forgot confirmation number” link on the ESC website.  If you cannot retrieve your confirmation number by providing the information required, there is no way for you to check your status.

If you have read all of this information and still have questions, please contact KCC at KCCDV@state.gov.  Include your full name and, if you know it, your DV case number.


Talented German Artist Shares Her Work With Jaensch Immigration Law Firm

Posted: May 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , | No Comments »

EBBA Kaynak, accomplished German sculpture artist, has been creating art based on the theme of “in-between” for years.  When our firm helped one of her friends she heard about us and decided to get in touch.

Here below is a short description of her story with images of her work interspersed.  Anyone interested can visit her website to learn more.


My life surely has quite a lot do do with the big question, where do I belong to… where is my “Heimat”?

My grandfather was a Sudet German lawyer in Reichenberg, the German part of former Chechoslovakia. After World War II all Germans were thrown out of that country, and my family moved to the soft hilly southwest of Germany. Although the landsape was similar to their beloved former home, the mentality of the Svabians was strange for them. My father, coming from Alsace, the German region of France met my mother in the Black Forest. Their love didn’t last long, so I grew up with my “Sudet German” family.

Cheurbin Chrysolith

Growing up I always felt different from the others. In school I studied languages and mastered English, French and Latin. I went on to study Art in the Academy in Stuttgart, and learned Greek as well.  During my summers at the academy I would go to Greece. That’s where I came to feel most “at home.”

At the end of my studies I met a Turkish man in Istanbul.  We married, I learned the Turkish language, and we built a house in western Turkey. Changing my culture was not complicated for me, even though I was completely veiled. I loved my big Turkish family and raised my children there. Unfortunately, it all came to a bitter end.

Coming back to Germany was the beginning of feeling home there for the first time of my life. I bought a house, took care of my mother and children, rented a room in an old factory for atelier and began to work as an artist.

My connection to dance is very important to me. I discovered Salsa when I was 26 on a trip in South America. I got connected with the Salsa movement in Germany and I am still practicing. Most of the movement in my sculptures gets its origin in that rythm and motion.

Dancer

I started my career as a sculpturor with a chainsaw and natural wood. My firth themes were either spirals or archaic round erotic female objects: Venus and AN-NA.

ANNA

Later on I began to pose my AN-NAs between two shelves, creating the effect out of a single piece of wood.  It was an expression of my situation of being “in between.” Soon I understood this new form as being the synonym for my own life in between all places and cultures. The situation of being “in between” became itself a sculptural body. The fictional walls at the left and at the right became arms and legs of a new art creature. This form changed over time from very abstract to more realistic.

In Between

In my hometown I’m now one of the best known artists.  I make a living from selling my sculptures and pictures. The last four years I created a new form: the Cherubins on wheels, so described by Ezechiel in the old testament of the Bible. As he describes these angels as having wheels like “chrysolith,” I started making very small silver figures with wheels of chrysolith.

Ebba Kaynak

EBBA Kaynak, Schorndorf / Germany 2014


What’s Happening to Florida?

Posted: May 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Attorney Victoria Karins was asked to write a guest blog post on the AILA Blog.  We reposted the article below.

Author:  on 05/08/2014

shutterstock_33919990Last week, the Florida legislature passed two bills that are heading to Governor Rick Scott, who has stated that he will sign them. One grants in-state tuition to undocumented “Dreamers.” Another will allow Jose Godinez-Samperio, a DACA recipient and law school graduate, the ability to be a licensed attorney in the State. Jose was in Tallahassee in the gallery on the day the Florida House passed the bill. He was given a standing ovation.

I am still shaking my head. What happened to Florida? Gov. Scott ran on a platform in 2010 that called for Arizona-type laws to be enacted. Four years later, he is supporting significant pro-immigration legislation. I thought we could easily count on current Florida leadership to remain oppositional to any pro-immigration issue that was not forced upon them.

It would be easy to be cynical and chalk it up to politics. It is an election year, after all, and perhaps some politicians are finally realizing it is not a bad idea to try to garner favor in the immigrant community.

Certainly I believe that is a big part of it. But, I also think that we may be witnessing a change in attitude across the board.

After the vote last Friday, I was contacted by a local newspaper columnist who had written earlier in the week in support of the Jose Godinez-Samperio bill. He had received responses from readers asking questions such as “Why didn’t he apply for citizenship?” “Why does he need a special law, couldn’t he have started the citizenship process during law school?” “Didn’t he want to become a citizen?”

He contacted me to make sure he was not missing anything – that there had been no change to federal immigration law recently of which he was not aware. I assured him that no, there had been no recent change.

The columnist, Tom Lyons, from the Sarasota Herald Tribune, then wrote a follow-up column clarifying that Jose did not have the option of obtaining citizenship and said of the questioners:

the more I thought about those people who wanted to know why that would-be lawyer hadn’t applied for citizenship, the more I thought kindly of them. Though they apparently missed a key point in the nation’s immigration debate, I think their question was based on a nice assumption. They assumed that U.S. law couldn’t be as rigid and mean as it actually is.

This illustrates what I believe is also happening in Florida; people are becoming more educated about the issues. And as they get more educated, they may be becoming more compassionate…and passionate to do the right thing.

I only hope that the individuals in office at the national level take a look at what is happening in Florida since I hear Florida might just be a tad bit important when it comes to presidential elections.  I hope they realize that the House really needs to follow Florida’s lead and move forward on immigration reform.

By Victoria Jaensch Karins, Chair, AILA Central Florida Chapter


75% of International Students Come from Asia

Posted: May 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Employer & Student Visas | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from USCIS Press Release

Summary: International student enrollment up 2 percent at US schools, 75 percent of students from Asia

Photo by Charles Reed

Photo by Charles Reed

WASHINGTON – The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), released “SEVIS by the Numbers,” a quarterly report of international students studying in the United States, Wednesday. The report is based on data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a Web-based system that includes information on international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States.

As of April 1, almost 1.02 million international students were enrolled in nearly 9,000 U.S. schools using an F (academic) or M (vocational) visa. This marks a two percent increase from January. Seventy-five percent of all international students were from Asia, with 29 percent from China. Saudi Arabia and India had the greatest percentage increase of students studying in the United States at 10 and eight percent, respectively, when compared to January statistics. The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students included: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil.

The April report also included key insight into which international students pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) coursework. Sixty-seven percent of international students studying STEM fields were male. Forty-three percent of all international STEM students studied engineering. Seventy-eight percent of international students from India studied STEM fields, while only eight percent of international students from Japan studied STEM fields.

Other key points from the report include: 77 percent of SEVP-certified schools had between zero and 50 international students; 72 percent of international students were enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs; and California, New York and Florida had the most SEVP-certified schools. A school must be SEVP-certified before it can enroll international students.

The full report can be viewed here. Report data was extracted from SEVIS April 1. It provides a point in time snapshot of data related to international students studying in the United States. Data for the previous “SEVIS by the Numbers” was extracted from SEVIS Jan. 15.

SEVP monitors approximately one million international students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the United States and their dependents. It also certifies schools and programs that enroll these students. The U.S. Department of State monitors exchange visitors (J visa holders) and their dependents, and oversees exchange visitor programs.

Photo by Charles Reed

Photo by Charles Reed

Both agencies use SEVIS to protect national security by ensuring that students, visitors and schools comply with U.S. laws. SEVP also collects and shares SEVIS information with government partners, including CBP and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so only legitimate international students and exchange visitors gain entry into the United States.

HSI reviews potential SEVIS records for potential violations and refers cases with potential national security or public safety concerns to its field offices for further investigation. Additionally, SEVP’s Analysis and Operations Center reviews student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.

Learn more about SEVP at www.ICE.gov/SEVP.


Repost: Historic Vote in Florida House Clears Way for Noncitizen to Practice Law

Posted: May 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action, Immigration Reform | Tags: , , | No Comments »

 Reposted from Tampa Bay Times.

Samperio

Samperio

TALLAHASSEE — In a historic vote with strong political overtones, the Florida House joined the Senate on Thursday in backing a Pinellas County immigrant’s bid to practice law even though he’s not a U.S. citizen.

A beaming Jose Godinez-Samperio, 27, of Largo offered a grateful thumbs-up from the House gallery as members gave him a resounding ovation following a 79-37 vote that Speaker Will Weatherford called “an act of justice.” The Florida State University law school graduate has tried without success for 2½ years to gain admission to the Florida Bar and fulfill his dream of becoming an immigration lawyer.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously in March that it could not help Godinez-Samperio because federal law prevents giving taxpayer-funded public benefits to undocumented immigrants. Justices urged the Legislature to intervene and exempt Florida from that law, which led to Thursday’s vote.

The House amended the bill, though, adding that for a noncitizen to get a Florida law license, he must register for the military draft, which Godinez-Samperio has done. The Senate is expected to agree today, the last day of the session, which would send the bill (HB 755) to Gov. Rick Scott, who said Thursday he will sign it.

“I couldn’t believe how much support there was in the Legislature,” said Godinez-Samperio, a paralegal at Gulf Coast Legal Services. “I feel great that we have been able to educate a lot of people who felt differently.”

He has spent weeks meeting with individual lawmakers and his legal team has emphasized that Godinez-Samperio has met all of the Bar’s admission requirements, including a background check for character and fitness. Another key argument they made is that for other state-regulated occupations, citizenship is not a requirement to obtain a professional license.

As a so-called “Dreamer,” Godinez-Samperio is in the United States legally, but not permanently. He has work authorization, a Social Security card and a Florida driver’s license.

Thursday’s vote, combined with lawmakers’ support for cheaper in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrant students, are two watershed policy changes affecting undocumented immigrants that would have been unthinkable a year ago in Tallahassee.

“This is truly transformative,” said Patsy Palmer, one of Godinez-Samperio’s lawyers.

It also reflects a dramatic election-year shift in the Republican Legislature at a time when Scott appears to face an uphill battle winning re-election in a state where Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority.

Born in Mexico, Godinez-Samperio came to the United States with his parents at age 9, and never left because they overstayed their tourist visas. He learned English, became an Eagle Scout, was valedictorian of his senior class at Armwood High in Seffner and an honors student at FSU’s law school.

The opposition in the House was strongest among a group of conservative Republicans, some of whom described Godinez-Samperio as “illegal,” a term senators avoided. But Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, a lawyer and Iraq war veteran, championed the legal scholar’s cause and said that he was ready to defend his adopted country was “very compelling.”

Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, criticized Godinez-Samperio’s lobbying. “He knew the rules of the game before he started playing and we shouldn’t change the rules at the end of the game,” said Corcoran, who will become House speaker in 2016. “He won, and he shouldn’t have.”

How Tampa Bay members voted

Votes Thursday on HB 755, which includes a provision that will allow a noncitizen to be admitted to the Florida Bar.

Yes: Janet Cruz, D-Tampa; Mark Danish, D-Tampa; Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg; James Grant, R-Tampa; Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater; Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey; Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena; Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City; Betty Reed, D-Tampa; Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg; Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill; Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel; Dana Young, R-Tampa; and Carl Zimmermann, D-Palm Harbor.

No: Larry Ahern, R-Seminole; Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity; Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness; and Ross Spano, R-Dover.

Not voting: Jake Raburn, R-Lithia.

 


IMPORTANT: Re Diversity Visa

Posted: May 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

To All Diversity Visa entrants who attempted to log into the Entrant Status Check (ESC) website on May 1, 2014.

For a brief period on May 1, the ESC website experienced a technical problem. As a result, some people who logged into the site to check the status of their applications were shown the wrong information. If you logged into the ESC website on May 1 and saw a notice of selection that did not include your name, or if you saw a notice that you were not selected, you must re-check your status to find out whether or not you were selected.

You must see a notice that is addressed to you by name as proof of selection to process further in the DV-2015 program. We regret any confusion this technical problem may have caused.

Please note that the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) will not send you unsolicited e-mail that includes your confirmation number or that asks you to provide any personal information. You must log into the ESC website to check your status. If you have further questions about the ESC website or the content of this e-mail, you may contact KCC by e-mail at KCCDV@state.gov. The KCC telephone number is 606-526-7500 (7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. EST).


Guest Post: Tax Planning for Canadians Purchasing Property in Florida

Posted: April 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This post is a summary of an article written by Attorney Michael Wilson and Attorney Heather Cooper and posted on the Williams Parker blog. Click the link (CanadaUSArticle) to read the entire article.

We are not tax attorneys.  Any questions about US tax law should be directed to a qualified US tax attorney.

Mike Wilson

Attorney Michael Wilson of Williams Parker

Tax Planning for Canadians Purchasing Property in Florida

Canadians make up a large portion of Florida home-buyers and immigrants and we are happy to welcome them.  It is imperative to note, however, that making the transition to the US or entering the Florida property market requires careful planning and preparation.  One does not simply walk in.  Choosing an immigration strategy is one factor that must be considered when moving to the US.  Tax planning is another.

Overview:

US citizens and residents are taxed on WORLDWIDE income.  Income is divided into two categories: ordinary and capital.  Foreigners can become US residents for tax purposes through several ways, even if they do not hold any US immigration status.

“A Canadian can become a U.S. tax resident if they obtain U.S. citizenship, become a lawful permanent resident (i.e., green card holder), or satisfy the “substantial presence” test, which looks at the number of days spent in the United States. The substantial presence test can be a trap for the unwary that spend too much time in the United States. If a Canadian becomes a U.S. tax resident, they will have the same tax obligations as any U.S. person (including the requirement to file an annual tax return with the IRS reporting all worldwide income).”

The US also taxes non-residents on income gained in a US trade or business and on passive income sourced to the United States.

Rental income from property in the US is generally sourced to the US and taxed by the US.  The US-Canadian tax treaty does not provide any relief for double-taxation of rental income, which is something to be very aware of.

Income from the sale of US real estate is also sourced to the US and subject to US taxation.  Like income from rental property, there is no relief in the US-Canadian tax treaty for income from the sale of US real estate and such income may be taxed in Canada as well.  The “Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act” (“FIRPTA”) regulates taxes on income from the sale of US real estate by foreigners.

Estate tax, which is 40% in the US, is another important consideration for Canadians who wish to buy real estate or immigrate to the US.  Any US real estate is subject to estate tax.  However, non-residents may be able to structure their assets so that they fall entirely outside the scope of US estate tax.

While there is no state income tax in Florida, there is sales tax and this can be levied against proceeds from rental property.  In addition there are various local taxes that may also need to be considered.

Holding Structures for Investments in US Real Estate

Direct Ownership:

  • Simplest structure
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax unless net basis election
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on disposition
  • Foreign owner must file U.S. tax return reporting any income
  • Estate tax applies
  • No limited liability

U.S. Partnership Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property or on sale of partnership interests
  • Foreign owner and U.S. partnership have annual tax filing obligations
  • Estate tax likely does not apply

LLC Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Limited liability for owners
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property or on sale of LLC interests
  • Estate tax may apply
  • Canadian tax planning concerns

U.S. Corporation Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • All income subject to corporate income tax (up to 35%) plus Florida corporate income tax (5.5%)
  • Income is “double-taxed” (corporate income tax plus tax upon distribution to shareholders)
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property (but only when proceeds are distributed to foreign shareholders) or on sale of corporation, but not on direct sale of property
  • Corporate tax return required every year
  • Estate tax applies

Canadian Corporation Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: subject to corporate income tax (up to 35%) plus Florida corporate income tax (5.5%)
  • Income is “double-taxed” (branch profits tax) at 5%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property at 35% of gain but not on sale of stock
  • Estate tax does not apply

Canadian Partnership Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA applies on sale of property or on sale of partnership interests
  • Foreign owner and U.S. partnership have annual tax filing obligations
  • Estate tax likely does not apply

Trust Planning Highlights:

  • Increased expenses and administrative complexity
  • More options for minimizing tax liabilities

Multi-Tiered Structure Planning Highlights:

  • Increased administration over multiple entities
  • Increased expenses associated with multiple entities
  • More options for minimizing tax liabilities

Victoria Jaensch Karins Quoted in SRQ Herald Tribune

Posted: April 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Scroll to bottom to see her quote. Reposted from Herald Tribune Website:

Making a case for in-state tuition

By Zac Anderson , Herald-Tribune
/ Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mylena DeMaman has been working and saving for college since graduating from Sarasota High School in 2012, but the high cost of continuing her education can be disheartening.

The 19-year-old recently filled out an application to attend State College of Florida and was dismayed to learn she may have to pay much more than most students — $11,595 annually to attend full-time versus $3,074 for the typical Florida resident.

Mylena DeMaman has lived in Sarasota for a decade, plenty of time to qualify for cheaper in-state tuition at a Florida university. DeMaman is applying to State College of Florida and hopes to get an associate's degree before moving on to a Florida university.  But because DeMaman's parents brought her to the country illegally as a young girl, the bright 19-year-old with ambitions of becoming a doctor will have to pay triple what other Florida residents do for college. DeMaman believes that is unfair. Surprisingly, many state lawmakers agree. Legislation has already cleared the House and is advancing in the Senate that would give undocumented college students such as DeMaman in-state tuition.    (Apr. 2, 2014; Herald-Tribune staff photo by Mike Lang)

Mylena DeMaman is applying to State College of Florida and hopes to get an associate’s degree before moving on to a Florida university. But because DeMaman’s parents brought her to the country illegally as a young girl, the bright 19-year-old with ambitions of becoming a doctor will have to pay triple what other Florida residents do for college.  (Staff photo by Mike Lang)

The extra cost stems from the fact that DeMaman’s family came to the United States from Brazil illegally a decade ago.

Undocumented immigrants pay the higher “out of state” tuition rate at most Florida colleges and universities, but that could soon change. In a surprising move that has divided Republicans and contradicts previous efforts by state leaders such as Gov. Rick Scott to crack down on immigrants who came to the country illegally, momentum is building to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students who have attended Florida high schools.

Political observers say the legislation — which has cleared the House and passed a second Senate committee this week — is a concession to the demographic changes shaping Florida.

Hispanics are an increasingly influential voting bloc. They made up 17 percent of the Florida electorate in the 2012 presidential election, up from 14 percent in 2008, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. These voters lean heavily Democratic: President Barack Obama won 60 percent of Florida Hispanics in 2012. Republicans would like to change that equation going forward.

“2012 was a demographic reality check for Republican strategists,” said New College of Florida political science professor Frank Alcock.

The in-state tuition bill is a significant step by Florida GOP leaders toward Hispanic outreach. It has been championed by House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican seen as a potential candidate for statewide office. But the legislation is not without political risks, especially for Scott.

The governor won office in 2010 touting a tough Arizona immigration law that critics said amounted to racial profiling. He also supported forcing Florida businesses to electronically verify that their workers are in the country legally.

Scott’s hard-line immigration views endeared him to the Tea Party and likely contributed to his closely contested primary victory. Many conservatives strongly oppose the in-state tuition bill and say Scott’s signature on the legislation would be a betrayal.

“He’d be making a mistake to support this bill,” said Beth Colvin with the Sarasota Patriots, a local Tea Party group. “I just feel the majority of the conservatives have faith in him because he does have his values and his heart in the right place and I just don’t feel like there’s any need for us to reach out to illegals.”

Yet Scott long ago stopped talking about the Arizona immigration law or E-verify, and appears to be moving toward the center on immigration issues. He expressed support for the Senate tuition bill this week, but avoided talking specifically about illegal immigrants.

Lawmakers have sweetened the legislation by including one of Scott’s top priorities in the bill, a provision that limits universities from hiking tuition without legislative approval.

That allows Scott to sell the legislation as a financial boon for all students, not just undocumented immigrants.

“On behalf of all of Florida’s families who dream of a brighter future for their kids, and all of our students who aspire to achieve success in the classroom and in the workforce, we will keep fighting to help every student in Florida afford a college education,” Scott said in a statement after the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday by a 7-2 vote, with four Republicans in support and two in opposition.

Alcock said Scott is walking a fine line with the tuition measure, trying to “have his cake and eat it” by quietly backing a priority of the Hispanic community while working to minimize Tea Party anger. Ultimately, the rewards are probably worth the risk.

“Tea Party people are going to show up no matter what and they’re not going to vote for” Scott’s Democratic opponent, expected to be Charlie Crist, Alcock said.

The legislation still has two more committee stops in the Senate. The fact that top Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted for the bill is a favorable sign for the measure. Supporters included Sen. John Thrasher, the former Republican Party of Florida chairman, and Sen. Andy Gardiner, the next Senate president.

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, voted against the bill at an earlier committee stop but has agreed to let it be heard next by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, which Galvano chairs. Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, also is on the committee.

There is strong interest in the issue among the Hispanic population in Sarasota and Manatee counties, said Victoria Karins, a Sarasota immigration attorney who has helped DeMaman and roughly 150 other young people in the region gain a measure of legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program announced by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Deferred action allows younger immigrants who have been in the country for years to obtain a driver’s license, Social Security number and limited protection against deportation.

The in-state tuition bill is another step toward “being able to really fully integrate them into society,” Karins said.

DeMaman’s father works as a mechanic. Her mother cleans houses. They emphasize the importance of education.

“They always tell us, ‘The reason why we brought you to this country was to do good in school,’ and fortunately I really like school,” said DeMaman, who has lived in Sarasota since the fourth grade and speaks without an accent.

Bright and highly motivated, DeMaman has long been focused on a medical career. She took medical billing classes at the Sarasota County Technical Institute while in high school and served as president of SCTI’s Future Business Leaders of America club.

Working at a medical practice over the last year has sparked an interest in becoming a doctor. But the costs can seem daunting.

“It is discouraging,” she said. “And why would you want to discourage somebody from getting an education?”


Legislature Debates In-State Tuition Rates for Undocumented Students

Posted: March 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from ABC7′s MySuncoast.com
Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:56 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Florida House of Representatives is taking up a bill that would offer in-state tuition rates to children of undocumented immigrants living in Florida, with hundreds of affected students in Tallahassee today urging more lawmakers to support the cause.

In-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants has been a controversial topic, though the move has gotten bipartisan support in recent months.

“I just started this semester and for two classes I paid almost $3,000,” says Thania Erresuris, a student at State College of Florida. While $3,000 for one semester may not sound all that alarming, that amount is 380 percent higher than the in-state rate. Erresuris is forced to pay the higher rate despite the fact that she’s lived in Florida for most of her life.

“I had to do the Dream Act, so I’m basically not a resident in the eyes of the school, so I have to do out-of-state tuition,” she says. “I don’t like it because I’ve been here since I was 3 and this is my home, and I feel like it’s unfair because I’ve never been over to Mexico or anything.”

Erresuris is one of the many undocumented students facing what she calls unjust tuition rates.

“If it was regular tuition I would be able to take more classes, but because of [the higher cost] I can only take two,” she says.

The issue has caught the attention of lawmakers, with the Senate Education Committee passing a measure to that would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. With the bill coming before the entire House Wednesday, immigration attorney Victoria Karins says passage would have a major impact

“This bill will largely benefit the Hispanic community, as that population is trying its hardest to advance in our society by attempting to get a better education [and] better jobs,” Karins says.

For dreamers like Erresuris, who is also a single mother on a fixed income, yes votes for HB 851 and SB 1400 would allow her to take more than two classes a semester, in turn helping her reach her ultimate goal much quicker.

“For me, education is important because I want to prove to my daughter that they need education. … I want to study nursing. I want to be a nurse. I want to actually further it to be a doctor, and I need this education to be able to further my self in life.” Erresuris says.
The House was still debating the measure as we published this story. We will update this page as more information about the vote becomes available.