Unlike California, the Florida Supreme Court has decided not to admit unauthorized immigrants to the State Bar.
Read the full decision: FL Supreme Bars Unauthorized Immigrants.
Unlike California, the Florida Supreme Court has decided not to admit unauthorized immigrants to the State Bar.
Read the full decision: FL Supreme Bars Unauthorized Immigrants.
Reposted from AILA South Florida website.
In response to incomplete advice recently released through the media, AILA South Florida is warning Venezuelans about the danger of filing frivolous asylum applications. Unlike what recently televised statements suggest, not all Venezuelans qualify for asylum and the loss of a claim can result in removal from the U.S. and the loss of the ability to return to the U.S. in the future. A judicial decision that an asylum claim was frivolous or fraudulent will result in permanently barring the applicant from returning to the U.S. or obtaining lawful status in the U.S.
Asylum law is a very complex and specialized area of immigration law and the United States has an extremely strict approval process for granting asylum. Applicants must prove to have been persecuted or face persecution upon return to their home country due to their, race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. General unrest, bad conditions, poor leadership and opposition to the current government in Venezuela do NOT warrant a grant of asylum.
As of this time, the U.S. government has granted no special relief to Venezuelan nationals.
AILA South Florida advises Venezuelans to be extremely cautious in their decision to apply for asylum in the United States. The professional organization highly recommends that all those considering an asylum application first consult with an immigration attorney with specialized experience in asylum cases to determine the merits of their claim and identify other alternatives for obtaining status in the U.S.
About AILA South Florida
AILA South Florida is one of the largest and most respected chapters of the national American Immigration Lawyers Association. The organization’s attorneys provide highly-qualified and personalized immigration law counsel to immigrant families throughout South Florida. Working with a qualified AILA attorney ensures that immigrants proceed with the best course of action based on their individual standing, immigration history, and potential reform changes. Learn more at http://www.ailasouthflorida.org.
En respuesta a información incompleta proporcionada recientemente en un informe de prensa de Miami, la división del Sur de la Florida de la Asociación Americana de Abogados de Inmigración (AILA) está advirtiendo a venezolanos sobre el peligro de presentar una aplicación de asilo frívola o fraudulenta. A pesar de las condiciones actuales del país, no todos los venezolanos son elegibles para asilo en los EE.UU. y los candidatos interesados deben consultar con un abogado capacitado antes de continuar, porque las solicitudes de asilo denegadas pueden resultar en la expulsión de los EE.UU. y solicitudes fraudulentas o frívolas pueden dar lugar a una prohibición permanente de reingreso a los EE.UU.
En respuesta a asesoramientos incompletos recientemente reportados a través de los medios de comunicación, AILA South Florida advierte a venezolanos sobre el peligro de presentar solicitudes de asilo frívolas. A diferencia de lo que sugieren las declaraciones recientemente dadas por televisión, no todos los venezolanos tienen derecho a solicitar asilo y una solicitud rechazada podría resultar en la expulsión de los EE.UU. como también la pérdida de posibilidad de regresar a los EE.UU. en el futuro. Una decisión judicial declarando que la solicitud de asilo es infundada o fraudulenta, tendrá como resultado la prohibición permanente al solicitante de regresar a los EE.UU. o de obtener un estatus legal en los EE.UU.
La ley de asilo es un área muy compleja y especializada de la ley de inmigración y los Estados Unidos tiene un proceso de aprobación extremadamente estricto para autorizar asilo. Los solicitantes deberán demostrar que han sido perseguidos o que sufrirán persecución si regresan a su país de origen debido a su raza, religión, nacionalidad, opinión política o pertenencia a un determinado grupo social. Malestar general, malas condiciones, la falta de liderazgo, y la oposición al actual gobierno de Venezuela NO justifican la aprobación de asilo.
Todavía hoy, el gobierno de EE.UU. no ha otorgado ningún beneficio especial para los ciudadanos venezolanos.
AILA South Florida aconseja a los venezolanos a ser extremadamente cautelosos en su decisión de solicitar asilo en Estados Unidos. Esta organización profesional recomienda altamente que todos aquellos que estén considerando una solicitud de asilo, consulten primero con un abogado de inmigración con experiencia especializada en casos de asilo para determinar los méritos de su demanda e identificar otras alternativas para la obtención de estatus legal en los EE.UU.
Acerca de AILA South Florida
AILA South Florida es una de las divisiones más importantes y respetadas de la Asociación Nacional Americana de Abogados de Inmigración. Los abogados de la organización proporcionan asesoría legal de inmigración altamente calificada y personalizada a las familias de inmigrantes en todo el sur de Florida. Trabajar con un abogado capacitado de AILA asegura que los inmigrantes procedan con el mejor curso de acción basado en su situación individual, historia inmigratoria y los cambios potenciales de reforma. Obtenga más información en http://www.ailasouthflorida.org.
There is a new source of scholarship money for DACA recipients who qualify. A CEO, a former Secretary of Commerce, and a well-known philanthropist came together and raised $25 million to be offered as financial aid to qualifying DREAMers.
Each scholarship recipient is required to attend a partner institution. Currently, there are 12: The Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College and Kingsborough Community College in New York; Miami Dade College in Florida; Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C.; El Paso Community College, South Texas College, University of Texas Pan American and University of Texas El Paso in Texas; Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach in California; and Mount Washington College, a national online college.
It is highly recommended that applicants who want to obtain one of these scholarships be willing to pursue a career-ready associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, the “STEM” majors, should fall into this category.
The deadline to apply is March 31, 2014.
See more information in the Guidelines.
For more information on DACA, including whether or not you qualify, contact the attorneys at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, (941) 366-9841.
Existen nuevos recursos de becados para los beneficiarios de DACA . Un CEO, un ex-secretario de Comercio , y un conocido filántropo se reunieron y recaudaron $25 millones para ser ofrecido como ayuda financiera a los soñadores que califican.
Los ganadores de la beca tienen que asistir a una institución asociada con The Dream.US. Hay 12 : The Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College y Kingsborough Community College en Nueva York , Miami Dade College en la Florida, la Universidad Trinity de Washington en Washington , DC; El Paso Community College , South Texas College , Universidad de Texas Panamericana y la Universidad de Texas en El Paso, en Texas; Long Beach City College y la Universidad Estatal de California, Long Beach , en California , y Mount Washington college, una universidad nacional en línea.
Los requisitos incluyen :
Es altamente recomendable que los solicitantes que deseen obtener una de estas becas estarán dispuestos a seguir un programa de licenciatura asociado con una carrera. Cursos en Ciencias , Tecnología , Ingeniería y Matemáticas, los ” STEM ” grandes, deben entrar en esta categoría.
La fecha límite para aplicar para el ano escolar que viene es el 31 de marzo de 2014.
Ver más información en la Guía.
Para obtener más información sobre DACA, incluyendo si usted califica o no, póngase en contacto con los abogados de Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, (941) 366-9841.
It is with great sadness, that I have to report that there has been a loss in the family. Victor Andres Machado passed away on March 4, 2014. Victor was my brother in law and was a vital member of staff at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm for many years.
Victor first came to Sarasota from Venezuela in the early 90s to prepare for becoming a professional tennis player. His sister (my wife, Rebeca) was his chaperone and they both knew quickly that they preferred the American way of life and felt more at home here than in their home country.
Victor trained in tennis with incredible intensity for a young man and competed in tournaments around the world. He mentioned Japan and Denmark as two of his favorite places.
Eventually, his body could not withstand the rigors of the sport and he stopped playing competitively at the elite level. He got a scholarship to attend Berry College in Georgia and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.
Victor joined the team at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm in 2002 soon after he graduated from college. He worked in a number of areas of specialization within the field of immigration law including H-1B visas, employment based green cards, and O and P visas for extraordinary individuals and internationally recognized athletes. One of his lasting legacies will clearly be the vast number of immigrants he helped to achieve their goal of residence in the U.S.
Victor’s impact on the law firm was profound over the past 10 years. He helped to develop many of our office processes and procedures, including our custom-made case tracking system. He took it upon himself to train new members of the firm and was the person we all turned to when something needed fixing. He even came up with the original concept for our current firm logo.
Victor was always a very serious and intense individual who believed in structure and following the rules. And yet, he had a remarkable sense of humor and could tell a joke and appreciate a good joke better than anyone. His laugh made others smile. He had a creative and artistic talent that he expressed with writing, music and the most fantastic Halloween costumes.
Victor reserved his friendship and affection for those he felt were special. As a result, his friends always knew they had an exceptional place in his heart.
In respect for the privacy of his family, members of the law firm have been asked not to answer questions about Victor and let this tribute be the singular communication on the subject from the law firm.
As a friend, colleague, brother, cuñado, and employee; Victor Andres Machado will be dearly missed, but never forgotten.
Sincerely, Chris Jaensch
Reposted from AILA.org.
Press release dated 2/28/14:
WASHINGTON—Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, joined by Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno and Chilean Ambassador Felipe Bulnes, announced the designation of Chile into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)—streamlining travel for thousands of eligible Chilean passport holders, while maintaining strong security standards. Starting May 1, 2014, eligible Chilean passport holders with both an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and an e-passport will be able to visit the United States without nonimmigrant visitor visas.
“This announcement furthers our important partnership with Chile and will benefit the security and the economies of both our nations,” said Secretary Johnson. “The addition of Chile to the Visa Waiver Program will enable us to work together to maintain the highest standards of security, while also facilitating travel for Chileans visiting the United States.”
“The United States and Chile have a robust partnership – from advancing peace and democratic values in the hemisphere to supporting shared economic growth through trade and investment,” said Deputy Secretary Higginbottom. “Today’s move will continue to bring our governments – and, more importantly, our citizens – closer together, strengthening the foundation of our enduring partnership for years to come.”
Chile will join 37 participants in the VWP—which permits visa-free travel to the United States for eligible travelers visiting the United States for 90 days or fewer for business or tourism. In Fiscal Year 2013, the VWP accounted for about 19.6 million visits to the United States, or approximately 60 percent of tourist and business travelers entering the United States by air.
In accordance with the VWP designation process, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) , in consultation with the Department of State, determined that Chile complies with key security and information-sharing requirements—such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States; timely reporting of lost and stolen passports; and the maintenance of high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.
Like other VWP travelers, eligible Chilean passport holders will be required to apply for advanced authorization through the ESTA, a DHS Web-based system.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov or www.cbp.gov/esta.
Reposted from Sarasota Herald Tribune website. Article originally posted on March 3rd, 2014.
SARASOTA – International triathletes — ranging from established elites to up and coming athletes under 19 — won’t just be competing for prize money at the Sarasota Pan American Cup at Nathan Benderson Rowing Park.
The sprint championships — held in addition to competitions for juniors and mixed teams of men and women — will likely be indicative of how elite triathletes will perform in qualifying events for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition to the championship events, two triathlons for youth and age-group competitors will be held on the same course during the competition this weekend.
“We’re trying to create a weekend event that caters to all types of athletes from the elites down to the age groupers,” Race Director Bill Burnett said.
While the 2016 Olympic qualifying period does not begin until May 15, the Sarasota competition for juniors is an important pathway in earning a spot at the Olympic Youth Games scheduled in Nanjing, China, this summer.
Hosted by Sarasota, the North American Junior Championships determine which 16- and 17-year-olds can compete in the Olympic Youth Games qualifying event in Mexico this May and includes triathletes under 19 from the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
This is the second year that Sarasota has hosted a Pan American Cup, a competition also held more recently in Clermont — near Orlando — and Dallas, Texas. Roughly 100 men and women from eight countries have registered for the main sprint championship this year, Burnett said.
Part of the appeal is the venue: a 600-acre rowing park on Cattlemen Road with the infrastructure to support swimming, biking and running, and lots of room for spectators.
American Tommy Zaferes, a Santa Cruz, Calif., native, came in second at last year’s sprint championships. Zaferes appreciated the opportunity to compete in two Pan Am cups, as the Clermont race is held a week before Sarasota’s race.
“There are only 3 Pan Am Cups in the USA, so having the chance to race in Clermont one weekend, then Sarasota the next weekend was a good opportunity for some good racing without the hassle of insane travel,” said Zaferes, who is training in New Zealand.
The sprint distance events in Sarasota include a 750-meter swim, 20K bike and 5K run. Youth under 16 will compete on an abbreviated course and the mixed teams (two men, two women) will complete shorter circuits of all three events each.
While the sprint championships events for elite triathletes comes with $10,000 in prize money, the race is perhaps more crucial for junior athletes, who range from 16 to 19 years old.
The event will serve as a selection event for the Panamerican Triathlon Confederation Junior Championships this spring — a key race in making the world championships — in addition to the Olympic Youth Games qualifying event in Mexico.
“These are some of very best athletes out there who are looking to eventually go to the Olympics,” Burnett said.
It’s a quest shared by many others.
Zafares will not compete in Sarasota this spring because he has chosen to start the racing season in New Zealand. Making the Olympics, he explains, relies on his ability to frequently compete, train up to 30 hours a week and rack up wins in key races.
Florida has been an important part of his development as a triathlete. He earned his pro card at an elite development race in Clermont during 2010, and he remembers the Sarasota’s Pan-American Cup as a fast course free of traffic.
“That race went great,” he said. “I just got outsprinted the last 200 meters by a Portuguese Olympian, so I can’t be bummed.”
A major regional center operator/developer team with a record of success are working together in their first joint project in Florida.
CMB Regional Centers, a nation-wide regional center operator, is once again collaborating with top ten U.S. real estate developer, (a multibillion dollar company) Hillwood Development Company, LLC. The two companies have worked together in the past. According to company documents, investors in CMB’s Group VIII project, involving a $65 million EB-5 financing of Hillwood commercial industrial projects in Southern California (which includes projects in located at Hillwood’s AllianceCalifornia Development at the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino) received approvals of their I-526 petitions.
Hillwood Development Company, LLC has authorized CMB Florida to raise $8 million for the Group 26 project. The purpose of the loan is to provide financing for project construction and bridge financing if necessary.
Hillwood Development Company, LLC is an experienced development company. In 2009, it won a competitive bid to become the Master Developer of the 4,474 acre Cecil Commerce Center, which is a portion of the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field owned by the City of Jacksonville, Florida. Hillwood is rebranding the Cecil Commerce Center project with its premiere Alliance brand, which the company reserves for large scale, long term, multimodal, public-private projects.
The Regional Center in Jacksonville will include a modern 510,000 square foot distribution facility located on 40.69 acres. The site is situated between Normandy Blvd., a State highway, and 103rd Street; both are modern four-lane divided highways. The location provides access to Cecil Field, the former Naval Air Station, as well as the high-speed interchange for Interstate Highway 10.
The site has many advantages, according to CMB, including comparatively low property-tax rates, no income tax, and Foreign Trade Zone status.
Hillwood is required to substantially complete an aggregation of at least 400,000 square foot of new building area by the end of 2014.
Hillwood will provide full development services and has engaged CBRE Jacksonville to provide on-site marketing and leasing.
CMB EB-5 capital will be directly employed in all construction activities of the project including pre development activities, horizontal infrastructure, site improvements, vertical construction, and tenant specific buildout of the facility.
For more information about this new EB-5 project please contact P. Christopher Jaensch: (941) 366-9841.
Roman Jasek is one of 1.5 million people who immigrate to the United States every year. What’s more, he is an immigrant who came to America to work and build a business. Recently, we sat down with Roman to talk about his story. Please enjoy.
ImmigrationSarasota.com: Tell us about your background.
Roman Jasek: I come from the Czech Republic. In university in Brno I studied electrical engineering. But even before college I had started a clothing wholesale company and after college I began modeling and doing catwalk shows.
IS.com: That’s a departure.
RJ: Yes, but I was good at it. I even won the Mr. Czech Republic in 1995. Unfortunately, in 1997 I got into a car accident and wasn’t able to do any modeling after that.
IS.com: What did you decide to do then?
RJ: I decided to follow up on my childhood dream to come to the United States.
IS.com: Why that dream?
RJ: I had always wanted more than what the Czech Republic could provide me. I remember as a teenager telling my parents that I wanted to leave the Czech Republic, that was before the fall of the Communist regime. With the interruption of my modeling career I decided it was time to realize my goal. I sold or gave everything away. When I arrived in the US I had $800. I didn’t speak any English.
IS.com: What do you do now?
RJ: I run a company called Audio and Communications Experts. We install home theaters, home automation systems, lighting control, central vacuum systems and more. I estimate we’ve worked on over 250 houses since we started. Our website is acesrq.com.
IS.com: Tell us more about your services.
RJ: Our two most popular services are home theater design and home automation.
The first step to home theater design is determining if you want a traditional home theater or a dedicated home theater. A traditional home theater is set up in an area such as a family room or living room, so there’s already an existing space along with furniture. Clients choose from plasma or LED screens, projectors and speaker set-ups, and we discuss what audio/video selection will provide the best viewing & listening enjoyment.
A dedicated home theater features custom designed seating, lighting, sound and picture. We understand this is a big investment in time and money, so we work with you to create a movie theater feel right in your own home.
We start with a few basic questions about the design:
Ambient lighting is important because it not only sets the tone of your home theater room, it also determines what kind of projector or television you purchase. Lighting can be as simple as using dimmers. We also install lighting to our clients’ specifications.
IS.com: Tell us more about home automation.
RJ: Imagine an iPad or touch panel that takes care of lights, drapes, HVAC, and A/V with one touch. A door that can tell you when your teenager gets home. A sprinkler system that knows the weather forecast and a garage door that remembers to close itself if left open. That’s what we call Home Automation.
There is no better or more economical time to design and install a home wiring system than while your home is being constructed. Don’t limit the dream home you are building today to technologies that will be obsolete tomorrow. With the proper design and materials, your new home will be ready for the future of digital technology.
Your home’s wiring is the skeleton upon which your future electronic lifestyle is built. Audio/video structured wiring solutions start with a centralized wiring panel that is organized, easy to service and able to be modified to cater to your needs and the design of your home.
Because future technologies are uncertain, the best way to ensure that your home wiring will be compatible is to design in a level of expandability from the beginning. With the right combination of Category 5 telephone wire, RG-6 coaxial cable and speaker wire you can be sure that you will have the right cable and available bandwidth throughout your home.
The most versatile wire you will install in your home is known in the industry as “Category 5″ cable. It is ideal for phones, fax machines, computer modems, computer networks, and as control wire for today and tomorrow’s sophisticated home automation and distributed audio/video systems. We only use the highest quality Category 5 cable in designs that consider present needs and future possibilities.
Because you live with your home’s wiring system for a very long time, selecting the right company for its design and installation is critical. Our highly trained and experienced staff of installation technicians will ensure that your home wiring is done properly the first time – on time and on budget.
We have the expertise not only in the wiring of your home, but also in the audio/video and home automation systems that must be made to work with that wiring. We can plan the system, pre-wire your new home, then do the final installation of your home theater, multi-room audio/video system, or even your sophisticated home automation system.
IS.com: We hear you have been very busy lately.
RJ: I am one of the few contractors who does what I do with an Electric Specialty License. This has really helped me get more work from builders. I’ve also noticed that the number of Czech immigrants to the Sarasota-Bradenton area has increased in recent years. When we first started I had close to 0 Czech clients, now Czechs make up about 20% of my clients. Of course, since I am Czech, this is a nice niche to be able to service.
IS.com: What do you think is bringing the Czechs to Sarasota?
RJ: Many Czechs are coming, buying houses, starting companies and patronizing local businesses. They are attracted by the affordable housing prices and the beautiful weather. As the Czech community grows and word of mouth gets back to the Czech Republic, more and more people decide to come.
IS.com: It’s a good self-reinforcing cycle. Roman, what would you say separates you from your competition?
RJ: We keep things simple and personal. I have two guys who work with me, no more. I stay on top of every project and give it my own undivided attention. I really think it’s that belief in customer service and the fact that I treat every house I work on as if it were my own that sets us apart.
IS.com: What are your plans for the future?
RJ: We plan on opening a showroom downtown. We want a way for customers to see and touch the changes we can make in their homes. We’re starting to put the numbers together now and we’re hoping to open this fall.
IS.com: We wish you the best of luck. Thank you for your time.
RJ: Thank you.
REMINDER: GRANTS FOR TRADE AND LOGISTICS TRAINING are still available!
Hillsborough Community College (HCC) has paired with Workforce Florida and Cross Border Partners using a Trade and Logistics Grant to provide you and/or your staff training on various trade topics. Grant funding is available to support training across a wide variety of topic areas from market selection, export documentation and compliance, tariff codes, legal aspects, etc. And, the programs can be tailored to individual company needs. These programs are available to all Florida for-profit companies that have been in business at least one year and are involved in any export-related activity. The grant generally covers 75% of training costs.
For more details, visit here or contact Brian Hollands, Hillsborough Community College at 813-253-7074 or firstname.lastname@example.org; OR Gary Leskun, Cross Border Partners, at mobile: 813-731-0152 or email@example.com
FLORIDA EXPORT SERIES
Organizer: Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of South Florida
When: Thursdays, February 13, 20 and 27 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (3 sessions)
Where: SBDC office at the Tampa Port Authority building, 1101 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602
Cost: $120. Includes 3 modules, 3 textbooks and valuable handouts.
Contact: SBDC at 813-905-5829
Description: Training modules run Feb. 13, 20 & 27. Includes: INTRO TO INTERNATIONAL TRADE - Feb. 13; DEALING WITH YOUR EXPORT MARKET - Feb. 20; EXPORT DOCUMENTATION AND COMPLIANCE - Feb. 27.
EXPORT CONTROL REFORM AND TECHNOLOGY CONTROLS SEMINAR
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service, Alabama District Export Council, BIS
When: February 12 & February 13, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Westin Hotel Huntsville- 6800 Governors West Rd NW, Huntsville, Alabama
Cost: $500 for two day seminar, $275 for one day, and includes materials, continental breakfast and lunch.
Registration Deadline: Friday, February 7
Contact: Robert Stackpole at 205-731-1331 or Robert.Stackpole@trade.gov
Description: This seminar will provide an in-depth understanding of the transition of items and export transactions from the USML to the CCL. Topics will address: realignment of the control lists, Commerce Control List order of review, the new “600” series, definition of “specially designed,” and license exceptions. The Technology Controls seminar will focus on the regulatory requirements relating to technology and software, including what is considered an export or re-export of technology or software; what technology and software is subject to the EAR; how to determine the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN); what license exceptions are available; and the unique application requirements of technology and software. BIS technical and policy specialists will also discuss important export control issues that may arise in the employment of foreign nationals and for foreign items incorporating, or produced from, controlled U.S.-origin software and technology. Presenters will include senior policy, regulatory, and licensing specialists.
WEBINAR ON EXPORTING TO THE CUSTOMS UNION BETWEEN RUSSIA, KAZAKHSTAN, AND BELARUS
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. (eastern)
Where: your computer
Contact: Rachel Kreissl at 727-464-4166 or Rachel.Kreissl@trade.gov
Description: Whether you are doing business or planning to with Russia or another Customs Union country, this webinar will brief you on the new customs union regulations and related technical standard changes.
AUTOMATED EXPORT SYSTEM (AES) SEMINAR AND WORKSHOP
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: March 5 (seminar) and March 6 (workshop)
Where: NOVA Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Cost: $225 (seminar) and $75 (workshop)
Contacts: Leandro Solórzano at 954-356-6647 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Martina Echevarria at 305-526-7425 x26 or email@example.com
Description: As of April 5, 2014, new export requirements will be implemented that amend the AES regulations published in 2008. This Export Compliance Seminar is an all-day program where officers from the Department of Commerce/Census will provide training on export filing requirements.
TRADE WINDS – THE AMERICAS 2014: Business Development Conference and Trade Mission
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: May 15-23, 2014
Where: Colombia (May 19-21), and optional stops to Panama or Ecuador (May 15-16) and Peru or Chile (May 22-23)
Contacts: Leslie Drake at 304.347.5123 or Leslie.Drake@trade.gov; Janice Barlow at 215.597.6126 or Janice.Barlow@trade.gov
Description: South American regional conference preceded and followed by one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, joint-venture partners or other key contacts.
CARIBBEAN TRADE MISSION & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: June 8-12, 2014
Where: Dominican Republic, with optional stops in Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados, or Trinidad & Tobago
Registration Deadline: April 4, 2014
Contact: David Royce at 817-999-9757 or David.Royce@trade.gov
Description: Caribbean regional conference followed by one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, joint-venture partners or other key contacts.
I recently returned from the AILA CFC conference where one of the topics of discussion was immigration reform. Below I’ve included some signs that AILA sees as positive for immigration reform this year.
E-2 and EB-5 investors come to Florida’s West Coast for its mixture of relaxed atmosphere, ideal climate, cultural sophistication, and business opportunities. At our firm we see entrepreneurs, investors, and business people from around the world and we assist them in obtaining their version of the American dream. Quite often, however, we do not feel qualified to advise international investors on which business opportunity to pursue. As a result we have sought out and allied ourselves with the Florida Gulf Coast’s most qualified M & A professionals. Edward Valaitis, Certified Business Intermediary, is one of them.
Mr. Valaitis has an impressive set of experiences and expertise. Where most business intermediaries will either have experience as entrepreneurs, professional services or in the corporate world, Mr. Valaitis has all three:
Mr. Valaitis is also one of only 85 Certified Business Intermediaries in the state of Florida. He has been an active member of the CEO Council of Tampa Bay, Association for Corporate Growth and University of Tampa He is comfortable in the world of international business, traveling to Lithuania, London and Canada for ongoing engagements.
Mr. Valaitis and his firm are very active in main street and middle market business transactions, leading both “sell-side” and “buy-side” engagements. They serve and define businesses with annual sales up to $20 million. Most serious buyers retain his services so they can find just the right business, right price and right location.
E-2 and EB-5 investors who are considering buying a business on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast should contact Mr. Valaitis for assistance in finding the right investment opportunity. Remember that the right investment can help an immigrant investor qualify for a visa that would allow them to live and work in the United States. E-2 and EB-5 visas are just two options. Our firm also works with many L-1 immigrant business people.
Interested parties can contact Mr. Valaitis over the phone: 800-975-3198<tel:800-975-3198>
For more information on how to qualify for an E-2 or EB-5 investor visa please feel free to follow the links below:
Re-posted from Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Please see a video below about a job-creating EB-5 immigrant investment project in Charlotte County. For inquiries please contact Franz Rosinus: Franz@LighthouseCapitalCompany.com.
Guest Post by Kurt Reuss and Rupy Cheema, Managing Partners, EB5 Diligence LLC
The goal of any project developer is to find investors to fund new projects. Generally private placement offerings attract “sophisticated,” well-funded investors such as institutional investors, mutual funds, hedge fund operators, insurance companies or high net-worth individuals, all of which have the capacity to conduct their own due diligence to assess the viability of the project. Additionally, the broker-dealers who underwrite and sell these securities are required by FINRA, the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Agency, to perform due diligence on behalf of the issuer, for the benefit of investors. Typically, the due diligence costs are borne by the issuer and structured as a percentage of the total offering.
The goal of the average investor is to see a reliable future earnings stream while ensuring that no undue risks are taken. For some foreign investors, however, especially those whose interest is in the EB-5 project, there is one goal which is paramount above all others, and that is obtaining green card status for themselves and their eligible family members, a goal achievable under the auspices of the U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Service (USCIS) which allows foreign investors to invest in an EB-5 project provided that certain criterion is fulfilled.
It is for that reason that foreign investors in EB-5 projects will want to ensure that a due diligence review is carried out, because if the project fails to meet the criterion set out by the USCIS, then their ultimate goal, green card status, will not have been met. The criterion that must be met by the EB-5 project develops cannot be readily assessed by an investor, which could result in a denial of either of their petitions, meaning that they and their family could be forced to return to their home land, often causing incredible hardship for the family, not just financially, but emotionally and psychologically. For those reasons, a foreign investor must be confident that the EB-5 project he or she plans to invest in will satisfy the USCIS requirements and ultimately end up with their successful petition for green card status.
Unlike private placement security offerings, the EB-5 industry is unique in that it doesn’t require the involvement of a broker-dealer because of the exemption that allows unregistered, off-shore agents to sell these securities to foreign investors. Though they generally qualify as accredited investors, EB-5 investors are not the aforementioned “sophisticated” types, and in many cases may not even have English as a first language. This presents a strange confluence of factors: less sophisticated investors with limited English language skills wishing to invest without the involvement of a registered FINRA representative.
In the EB-5 world, regional centers often act in an advisory role that would typically be assumed by broker-dealers, namely performing the due diligence and making representations to EB-5 investors. However, unlike broker-dealers these individuals at the regional centers are not regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. When regional centers are also developers of the projects they sell, the need for third-party due diligence becomes even more essential for EB-5 investors.
Benefits of 3rd-party Due Diligence
Considering the somewhat modest investment of $500,000 or $1 million (of course, relative to the “sophisticated” investor types), it’s generally not feasible for EB-5 investors to pay for a comprehensive analysis of a single project, let alone the analysis of multiple projects. Moreover, from the regional center’s standpoint, it can be not just tedious but impractical when you factor in the need to supervise a multitude of visiting analysts, set up meetings with management, request documents necessary to provide a comprehensive analysis for each and every investor, etc.
By retaining a third-party to perform the due diligence review, regional centers make it easier for immigration attorneys and “foreign finders” to present their clients with an easy-to-understand yet comprehensive outline of a project’s strengths and weaknesses, inherent investment risk and its I-526 approval risk. For the less sophisticated EB-5 investor, that outline is often far more straightforward and understandable than any private placement memorandum could ever be. By having a comprehensive third-party report to distribute to investors and foreign finders, regional centers can also bolster their own marketing and solicitation efforts. The added transparency often expedites the investors’ decision making process and saves the regional center valuable time and resources that would otherwise be devoted to disseminating information to potential investors.
Since by definition every EB-5 project has inherent risk, a thorough due diligence review helps investors decide which project’s risks are acceptable to them and which are not. On the flip side, the due diligence report can alert a regional center to any deficiencies, real or potential, in their project which would enable them to address those deficiencies prior to issuance of the report.
How Thorough does Due Diligence Need to Be?
By definition, due diligence is the care that any reasonable person would exercise in order to prevent or avoid harm to assets, property or other persons. Furthermore, it could be argued that an inadequate or poorly prepared due diligence might be more harmful than none at all, as the report itself could engender misplaced confidence in a project that may be deficient or even fraudulent.
A due diligence analysis is conducted to understand a project in as much detail as reasonably possible and moreover to take a hard look at the enterprise’s finances, strategic and operational situation and EB-5 viability, along with any problems, risks or headwinds that the project may face. A thorough due diligence review starts with a good checklist; here are ten areas that should be addressed in any comprehensive due diligence review:
Moreover, because many EB-5 projects involve construction, consultants may also be needed to evaluate construction budgets, timelines, real estate title, permits and other important approvals. Finally, because EB-5 investors may not have English as their mother tongue, it makes sense to have due diligence reports translated into various languages.
The Cost of Due Diligence
The cost of a comprehensive project review can range anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, and is dependent upon the size and complexity of the project. Most mid-sized project reviews typically cost around $20,000.
Conflict of Interest Concerns
Potential investors may worry about the possibility of a conflict of interest if a due diligence analysis is conducted and paid for by a regional center or project developer, or if it is performed by a registered broker-dealer who is retained by the issuer. Investors might suspect that the report could be unduly influenced by the agency relationship. Fortunately, those concerns are invalidated thanks to FINRA, which specifically prohibits broker-dealer representatives from engaging in manipulative, deceptive or fraudulent behavior or making untrue statements of any material fact. FINRA representatives have an obligation to provide independent, objective analysis and to report any fraud they encounter, and any information gleaned which would give a prudent person sufficient pause or which would send up a “red flag” must be further investigated. A registered FINRA representative’s failure to satisfy its investigative duties could, consequently, be considered a violation of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws and the rules of FINRA.
Simply put, FINRA registered broker-dealer representatives are tasked with performing due diligence on behalf of issuers for the benefit of investors. This “special” relationship is critical to the proper functioning of the securities industry.
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