Employers of Foreign Workers Should Use New I-9
Changes to the I-9:
- Form I-9 is now two pages
- Expanded instructions
- New fields for e-mail address, phone number and foreign passport in Section 1
On March 8, 2013, USCIS released a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 with revision date 03/08/13 immediately for all new hires. The revision date is on the lower left of the new form (Rev. 03/08/13)N. Employers may continue to use previously valid Forms I-9 (Rev. 08/07/09Y and 02/02/09N) for 60 calendar days. Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must only use the new Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13)N. In the cases of reverification or rehires the new version of the Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13)N must be used. For more information, please refer to the Federal Register notice. You may obtain the new Form I-9 (Rev.03/08/13)N by visiting I-9 Central or the USCIS website.
Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers. NOTE: State agencies may use Form I-9. Also, some agricultural recruiters and referrers for a fee may be required to use Form I-9.
Do not file Form I-9 with USCIS or U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Employers must have a completed Form I-9 on file for each person on their payroll who is required to complete the form. Form I-9 must be retained and stored by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, or Department of Justice.
Jane Lees ran a landscaping business in Great Britain. She visited Sarasota in 1998 for a friend’s wedding and happened to meet her future partner. No longer content to stay in Great Britain she and her partner began searching for ways for Jane to immigrate to the United States.
For most people the easiest way to immigrate would be to marry their partner, but in a same sex relationship like Jane’s, that was not an option. She had to find another way.
Immigration attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins advised forming a landscaping business in Sarasota and transferring Jane as its manager from the UK to the US under an L-1 visa. Jane agreed. Her partner opened a corporation for the business here in the US and the new business venture, JML Gardens of Sarasota, was born.
A year later the L-1 renewal was denied despite the fact that her business was thriving. Now Jane was an undocumented alien, in legal limbo. Jane could not return to the UK without triggering a bar from coming back to the US. Even worse, the business in the UK was struggling without her attention.
Victoria advised applying for a green card under Section 245(i) and appealing the L-1 application. For four years Jane remained in the United States in legal limbo and during that time, her Mother became seriously ill. Finally, in early 2004, Jane’s green card application was approved and she was able to see her mother before she passed away, which occurred in April 2004.
Today Jane still runs her business out of her home, with 1 full-time employee and her partner, who is also her business partner. She became a citizen of the US in August 2012. The business supports her and was recently featured in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Spring is a very busy time for her and she advises all the green thumbs reading this article to check their irrigation systems are functioning correctly to minimize water loss, fertilize their gardens and get ready for the growing season.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments for and against California’s Proposition 8. Jane can attest to the legal disadvantages of being gay, not only in terms of immigration law, but in terms of healthcare and tax law as well. The decision is still months away but could be momentous. In the meantime, immigration reformers are considering whether to expand the definition of married immigrant couples to include LGBT couples. Although this is now a non-issue for Jane, she knows there are other couples out there who are kept apart because of this law and she hopes reformers consider her story when deciding on this issue.
Automation will eliminate paper forms, streamline admission process
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently announced that it has submitted to the Federal Register a rule that will automate Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to streamline the admissions process for individuals lawfully visiting the United States. Form I-94 provides international visitors evidence they have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. which is necessary to verify alien registration, immigration status, and employment authorization. The automation means that affected visitors will no longer need to fill out a paper form when arriving to the U.S. by air or sea, improving procedures and reducing costs. The change will go into effect 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.
“Automation of the I-94 will increase efficiency and streamline the admission process,” said CBP Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “Once fully implemented, the process will facilitate security and travel while saving CBP an estimated $15.5 million a year.” Travelers wanting a hard copy or other evidence of admission will be directed to www.cbp.gov/I94 to print a copy of an I-94 based on the electronically submitted data, including the I-94 number from the form, to provide as necessary to benefits providers or as evidence of lawful admission. (www.cbp.gov/I94 )
As part of CBP’s work to bring advances in technology and automation to the passenger processing environment, records of admission will now be generated using traveler information already transmitted through electronic means. This change should decrease paperwork for both the officer and the traveler and will allow CBP to better optimize its resources.
Ever wonder how to make your workout quicker and more efficient? Sarasota immigrant and investor, Hugh Elsam, used to wonder the same thing. One day, the Canadian businessman visited a 20 Minutes to Fitness studio. The quick and effective workout made Mr. Elsam think there might be more demand for the slow-cadence fitness routine, especially in the Sarasota area. He found it made sense to start a new 20 Minutes to Fitness studio in downtown Sarasota.
Around the same time Mr. Elsam was contemplating a more permanent move to the Sarasota area. He discovered that he could use the investment in the new fitness franchise to qualify for a US investor visa.
Thus a new immigrant-owned business venture in Sarasota was launched. Hugh hired 4 physical trainers and soon the studio was seeing 24-40 clients a day!
The studio recently moved to 1819 Main Street, Suite 110. This is the building across Links Ave from the Oyster House. Since we often share stories about immigrants and immigrant-owned businesses we thought we’d let our readers know more about this one. We made an appointment for a free consultation to see how this intriguing fitness philosophy works. You can see the video of our interview with general manager Michele below.
If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Sarasota immigrant Lourdes Gallagher you’ll know her by her welcoming personality and inspiring energy. She will be humble and kind but once you start asking her questions you will realize she has an unbelievable wealth of experiences. We recently sat down with Lourdes to record her story for SMILEforImmigrationReform.org.
Lourdes grew up in in Rio de Janeirol. Through constant application (working during the day and going to school at night) she became a Project Design Engineer. She worked designing oil and sugar refineries for 5 years. She always enjoyed design and after leaving industrial engineering started a furniture and closet manufacturing company with a partner. She ran that for a few years until she was invited by Aeroglobal to become a director of operations in North America purchasing small airplanes and developing new business. The company took her to Montreal and Philadelphia.
In Philadelphia she decided to contact an American friend she’d made in Brazil through her hobby, car racing. His name was Steve. Steve was in Detroit so Lourdes requested a transfer to Detroit, Aeroglobal agreed to establish the company in Detroit and obtained an H1-B visa for her. One and half years later Lourdes and Steve decided to get married and Steve was able to sponsor Lourdes for a Green Card. A few years later she was working for the same automotive company as her husband.
Lourdes lived in Detroit for the next 18 years. She bought airplanes, became a stock-broker, worked for the Airlines, worked as an Engineer, become a Professor and interpreter. She was working for AT&T when the company gave her the option of relocating to Phoenix or Sarasota. She chose Sarasota. When AT&T laid her off in 2009 she went back to school for IT project management.
Lourdes and her partners’ latest project entails installing solar panels that will provide electricity to residential homes. She is currently working on providing “green” energy for 14 thousand homes in Brazil. She also has another project that will bring clean water to rural villages in a remote region of Africa. We wish her all the best.
If you wish to contact Lourdes you may do so through her email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Immigration reform is coming and we are keeping the Sarasota area informed.
Last week, in our ongoing effort to know what Sarasota residents think about immigration reform, we attended a talk hosted by the Sarasota Nation Discussion Group by noted attorney Greg Schell. Greg Schell graduated from Harvard Law School and is currently working with the “Gang of 8” Senators to craft the farm worker aspect of immigration reform. He represents low-wage workers in Florida.
To illustrate the fact that we live in a global economy and immigration is an issue everywhere, Mr. Schell began by telling the story of Haitians who travel to the Dominican Republic every year to cut sugarcane, a job that Dominicans are apparently unwilling to do. Many of these Haitians end up staying and starting families in the DR, as well as using publicly-funded services such as education. At the same time many Dominicans travel to Puerto Rico every year to pick cotton. And many Puerto Ricans travel to the United States every year to work on Eastern farms. Jobs in the Maquiladoras on the US-Mexico border are actually disappearing and going to China. Immigration has no easy answers.
The last major piece of reform in the U.S. was the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act – IRCA. Before IRCA it was not illegal to hire an undocumented alien. The immigrant population was small, concentrated in 10-15 states, and there was no global economy. Organized labor fought against increased immigration.
When IRCA passed it legalized 2.7 million people. Employers now had to use the I-9 form to document new workers. Workers had to prove their legal status by showing a green card or other documentation. Documents were easily forged. In 1988 95% of immigrants were legal. Fifteen years later 95% are undocumented.
In 1998 Congress compounded the issue by mandating that an illegal alien marrying a citizen had to leave the country for ten years first, and that legal immigrants couldn’t receive social security until after paying in for ten years first. This policy is now largely null thanks to the new Stateside Waiver. Border security became important after 9/11.
Today the issues are similar to what they were in 1986 except the number of undocumented immigrants is much larger – 11 million as opposed to 2.7 million. The issue of “Temporary Protected Status” puts people in legal limbo and should be addressed. Businesses want to increase the number of work visas but the opportunities for abuse are high. Immigrants who are in the country on work visas can only work for the sponsoring employer and are regularly paid lower comparative wages. Mr. Schell is also concerned about the possibility of guest workers taking the jobs of newly legalized residents.
Business and Labor are united on the need to reform immigration. The business community, especially many IT firms, would like to be able to bring more guest workers in to the country. Currently the government allots 65,000 work visas a year. Some proposals would increase that number to 360,000. Labor unions want to organize these workers and work towards better conditions for the ones who are already here. The last election demonstrated that immigration reform could have implications for national politics and many legislators seem anxious to get something done.
Mr. Schell supported immigration reform and he is working to ensure that guest workers and farm workers have a place at the negotiating table when the legislation is crafted.
Looking for Investors to Help Establish New B&Bs in Sarasota
An experienced Sarasota developer has drawn up plans to build several new Bed and Breakfast facilities. This developer brings over 60 years experience in the hospitality business to this project. His vision is to build bed and breakfasts in convenient locations for families passing through the area, stopping to visit Sarasota attractions, using the planned Nathan Bendersen Park, and visiting their relatives. The first facility will be built in a quiet location near Fruitville Rd and I-75. Each facility will cost approximately $650,000 with a minimum investment of $200,000 from the investor (financing may be available for the balance).
Foreign investors might be able to obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor visa by investing in this project. Note that if the investor is seeking an E-2 Treaty Investor visa, he/she may have to invest more than $200,000 to ensure that financing for the project does not exceed 50% of the total project value. For more information on how to qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa contact Jaensch Immigration Law Firm. Those who wish to learn more about this particular project may contact commercial broker Dean Hunter.
Dean Hunter, CRB
Commercial Broker – Associate
Hembree & Associates, Inc
Office: (941) 951-1776
Cell: (941) 780-6784
Pedja Miletic is a Sarasota immigrant and perennial entrepreneur who knows what it means to work towards a dream. Pedja was born in Serbia and lived in Vienna and London before moving to New York, and eventually, St. Pete and Sarasota. His family owned and operated a watchmaking business which gave Pedja his first taste of entrepreneurship.
Pedja moved to New York City as a young man and worked in odd jobs at restaurants to make ends meet. Eventually he met the proprietor of a trucking business on Long Island and began working for him. After a year the proprietor gave Pedja the business. The Serbian immigrant ran it until changing market conditions made it no longer profitable. At that point he started a messenger service in the city, running small packages all over town.
Growing tired of the frenetic New York lifestyle Pedja began looking for a warmer, quieter place to live. He found a city in Florida named St. Petersburg and, since his name is Peter, decided to relocate there. He worked in restaurants and eventually got in to real estate. Then the stock market crashed.
Readjusting to the financial setback, Pedja held down 3 part-time jobs to make ends meet. He hated it. Pedja is a perennial entrepreneur, he cannot stand working for someone else. One day he said to his colleague:
“I’d rather be selling crepes on the corner of downtown [St. Pete] than sit here for another second!”
What began as an ephemeral idea in the mind of a disgruntled office worker soon grew into a plan for a new business. In 2009 Pedja hit upon a name, World Bites, and developed a plan to sell slow-cooked peasant food from Serbia.
At this point Pedja needed financing to accomplish his dream. Unwilling to burden himself with debt, and since banks weren’t lending at the time anyway, he raised capital himself through his part-time jobs. He also enjoyed the assistance of his mother, Vicky, who played an integral part in launching World Bites. Soon the pieces began coming together.
To find Pedja, stop by 39 S. Beneva Rd, Sarasota, FL 34237 from 12-8pm. Check out his website: theworldbites.com, or email him: email@example.com.
A few weeks ago we wrote about a business broker team that works with area immigrants. This week we caught up with Tony Dempsey to learn more about his organization. He informed us about his standing offer to provide business owners with free valuation estimates and we decided to share this with the readers of Immigration Sarasota.
Valuing your business in today’s market is a service that Sunstate Business Brokers will provide to you free of charge and without any obligation whatsoever. Whether you are considering exiting your business NOW or some time in the future, knowing the current market value provides great insight for planning purposes. Year over year we will update the Valuation so you will know exactly what your market value is, whether maintaining, increasing or declining. I have included an attachment that defines the information we will need for the valuation. This information is usually readily available from your accountant.
Here is the attachment Tony mentioned: Sunstate Business Valuation Information.
Remember, buying a business can be a viable avenue for obtaining a temporary or even permanent visa to the United States. Purchasing commercial property can also help one qualify for an investor or entrepreneur visa.