The Current Immigration News Round-Up



Immigration has become a buzz word in our new cycle lately, and as such it might feel like for every five seconds that passes the immigration policy of our nation changes six times. While this is obviously an exaggeration, immigration news has become an every-evolving story, and recently there have been some very big news events in the immigration world.


Chief among them? The third iteration of Trumps travel ban is now out, and this newest version has kept the six countries on the second version plus three more, Chad, Venezuela and North Korea. The inclusion of North Korea is not surprising considering our current tensions with that country, and Venezuela’s inclusion isn’t surprising when you note that this only includes Venezuelan government officials. Chad’s inclusion on the list, however, is leaving some scratching their heads. The United States has a good relationship with the country of Chad and their military has recently worked to fight terrorist groups hand in hand with United States. The administration has been rather quiet on their reasoning for the inclusion of Chad, only saying that the countries listed are those who do not meet the requirements for information sharing and vetting of citizens before they are granted Visas to enter the United States.


This travel ban, like the two before it, has been partially blocked by two courts in the United States – one in Hawaii and another in Maryland. How these newest legal challenges play out and whether or not this issue will again have a chance of coming before the Supreme Court remains to be seen, but the legal challenges are again based on the notion that the travel ban is a Muslim ban – something the administration denies.


In other immigration news, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has resumed premium processing for those H-1B Visa petitioners who got their 2018 applications in before the cap of 65,000 was met in April. Premium processing of physician’s applications under the Conrad 30 program were also resumed. Premium processing was abruptly halted in April as the administration sought to begin an overhaul of the H-1B Visa program, which like the travel bans brought about protest from industry leaders who need the H-1B Visa in order to thrive.


What does all of this immigration news mean to current business owners within the United States? The pool of potential buyers for your business may shrink as investor Visas and the H-1B continue to remain under attack. If you are a foreign national looking to come to the United States, you should keep an eye on immigration changes, but you should not let the constantly negative news feed discourage you from keeping the U.S. as an option for your business investment.  Every attempted change to immigration policy has been met with both legal challenges and swift, vocal disagreement from industry leaders.


It is important to remember amidst all of the immigration fury that our nation is a nation of immigrants. Our innovation and our success have been driven by immigrant ingenuity and the ingenuity of the children of those immigrants. Our strength comes from our heritage as a place friendly to those seeking the American dream. If we ignore that heritage we simply cannot continue to retain our national strength. Positive immigration reform is the only viable path forward.


Are you a foreign national who is considering a move to the United States, but have questions about what the current political climate means for you? Are you a business owner who would like more information on the pool of foreign national business buyers? Ask us! Please contact us today and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Don’t Hate Investor Visas: How Misinformation Hurts The Small Business Community

Investor Visas have been in the news, and it isn’t pretty.


They’ve been described in numerous ways, the least flattering of which is as a way for the corrupt and evil to write a check and waltz across our borders. Nothing could be further from the truth. This aspect of our immigration system might soon be facing a major rewrite – one that could effectively end the path for foreign entrepreneurs looking to come to the United States.


I own a small business and none of my employees are immigrants. Why should I care?


If you are a small business owner who doesn’t feel like they have a dog in the immigration race, it might be tempting to just tune all of the noise out. It might also be tempting to believe all of the media hype concerning our Visa system and the apparent ease with which a foreign national with terrible intentions can just buy their way into the country. Sticking your head in the sand or taking at face value everything that streams across a news feed are both enormous mistakes when it comes to the future of your business and the future of the U.S. small business economy.




The truth about investor Visas? They are a continuation of our proud national heritage. With very few exceptions, everyone who is a United States citizen can look back into their own lineage and find an immigrant who came to this country and worked hard to build a better life for their family. They created the main street businesses that kept communities strong, drove the industrial revolution and brought the prosperity that made us into a world power. In more recent generations immigrant entrepreneurs have been innovators, creating the tech-based businesses we all know and use. Cutting off the ability for the next generation of foreign born entrepreneurs to come to the United States will kill the vital legacy that made us great in the first place. Eliminating foreign born entrepreneurs also removes from the pool a large number of future business buyers – buyers today’s business owners will need when the time comes to sell.  


What about immigrants who just buy their way into the country? How do we know they aren’t “bad actors”?


Investor Visas used by foreign entrepreneurs come with an enormous amount of vetting and red tape. There are applications that require an immigration attorney’s help, one-on-one interviews at American consulates, seemingly limitless disqualifiers that can end the process for a foreign investor before it even begins. In most cases you have to have a large amount of capital to invest and your status within the United States could remain in perpetual limbo as you must reapply for some investor Visas every few years. In some cases you also have to prove that you are creating specific numbers of jobs for U.S. citizens. This wouldn’t be an easy or sensible road for any “bad actors” to take, especially considering that a tourist/business visitor Visa (of which this country issued 1,106,723 in 2016) is so much easier to obtain.


Investor Visas are a good thing. They bring us the people we want and need – driven entrepreneurs and innovators. Small business owners who want the small business economy to continue to thrive should encourage, not resent, the investor Visa process.


Have questions about the process by which foreign-born entrepreneurs can buy a business in the United States? Want to know if your business would be open to this pool of buyers? Contact us today.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Small Business And Immigration: Why Business Owners And Foreign Investors Should Be Paying Attention

Immigration. Walls. Visas. Bans.


The news cycle in the last few months has been awash with immigration upheaval, so much so that many people have started to tune it out.


If you are a business owner, especially one that is considering selling sometime in the near future, you really need to be paying attention to what’s going on in the world of immigration. The negative perception recent immigration changes created may end up having a dramatic effect on your business and your ability to successfully sell.


If you are a foreign investor who is considering a move to the United States, you should also be paying attention because immigration issues and changes could potentially slow down those plans.


Take the two on-hold travel and refugee bans. These bans not only stopped people from the seven and then six Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, it made a dramatic and symbolic declaration about where America as a whole stands on issues of religious acceptance – whether that was the intention or not. In the wake of the travel ban there was a wave of canceled trips to the United States that affected the tourism industry (and the small businesses that industry supports) in a big way. Many foreign tourists canceled their trips to the U.S. because the bans created a perception that they might be stopped at the border or might face intolerance while here.


The second big piece of news was the new guidelines that will affect the H-1B Visa. While this Visa isn’t typically used by small businesses, the ripple effect of changes to this Visa program are being felt across the small business world. Like the travel ban, scaling back the recruitment of specialized foreign labor, especially in the technology sector, has damaged the perception of the United States as a tolerant place to work.


Visas were also in the news because of the Kushner family and their pitch to Chinese investors about the EB-5 as a pathway to citizenship in the United States.


The EB-5 program is much smaller than it’s more well known H-1B counterpart, and is vastly different in both purpose and requirements – but the reporting on both have cast the entire Visa system in a very negative light. The EB-5 is an investor Visa, meaning those who qualify have the intention of investing a substantial amount (think upwards of $500,000) in a business within the United States that will create jobs for American citizens – and the investor is granted a Visa for themselves and their immediate family (spouses and children) in return. EB-5 Visas are good for the economy in general and have long been used to fund major building projects that would in turn help small businesses in the surrounding areas. Losing or major restriction of the EB-5 would likely cause big problems for new building projects that boost the local small business economy.


Another major Visa program that touches the small business world is the E2 Visa. Like the EB-5, the E2 is an investor Visa – although it requires less capital. The E2 is typically used when foreign entrepreneurs want to buy a small business and use that ownership as a means to immigrate to the United States.


Although the E2 hasn’t caught the attention of the media or the current presidential administration, it would be worth paying attention if your business would help a foreign investor qualify for the E2 (pre-qualifying your business opens your pool of potential buyers to international buyers – a smart move). Changes to the E2 could result in fewer foreign investors coming to the U.S., which would be bad for small business sellers and foreign investors alike.


What’s a business owner to do? If you are considering selling your business, you might want to keep an eye on immigration policy changes, especially if your business is one that would qualify for the E2. If you are a foreign investor, don’t panic. If you’ve been keeping tabs on our immigration news cycle then you know that every potential change to the immigration system has been met swiftly and intensely with legal maneuvering, push-back and protest. The United States is a country made up of immigrant entrepreneurs and the descendants of those immigrant entrepreneurs. Massive change has little chance of long term survival because those changes are proving to be highly unpopular.


Have more questions about the link between small businesses and immigration? Contact us or visit for more.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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How Investment Can Result In A Green Card

By Guest Contributor Sabine Weyergraf –


Green Card sign with sky background


The goal for most immigrants is gaining permanent residency with a Green Card. If that is the case for you, the question is how to achieve this goal?

The most common answer is, by marriage. Marriage to a U.S. Citizen is certainly an option, as long as it is a real marriage. However, for a married couple who want to jointly immigrate to the United States, this is not an option. You might want to explore the alternatives. Generally, the alternatives are two non-immigrant visas, an L-1 Intercompany Transfer Visa or an E-2 Investor Visa, or the “purchase” of a green card by making the significant investment of $500,000 to $1 million in a company.

The L-1 Intercompany Transfer Visa permits the transfer of a Manager, which can certainly be the owner, of an overseas company to a subsidiary or affiliate in the United States. The requirements are: a) the transferred employee has been in a manager or executive position in the overseas company for at least one year, b) the U.S. company is a subsidiary or affiliate of the overseas company, and c) the U.S. company is a large enough operation that it will need to hire U.S. workers.

The overseas company and its U.S. affiliate or subsidiary do not have to be engaged in the same business activity and there is not a requirement for a set amount of money that must be invested.
However, the overseas company has to remain operational during the entire visa validity.
The L-1 visa for a start-up company will be issued for one year with the option of renewal for three years and then another three years. The renewal of an L-1 visa requires a significant number of employees.

For people who do not operate an overseas business or would like to receive more than an initial one year visa approval, the E-2 Investor Visa is a viable option. In general the E-2 Visa requires an investment of around $100,000 into the establishment of an U.S. company.

In order to apply for an E-2 Visa, the U.S. business investment needs to have already taken place. That means, either the purchase contract for an existing business with the purchase price in escrow or establishing your own start-up business. In the event you choose to purchase an existing business, it is important that the business already has employees. If a new business is established, the investor must show that the business has the potential to need U.S. workers and that the investor has already begun to look for qualified employees.

As previously said, the L-1 and E-2 are temporary non-immigrant visas. Then what is the process that moves you from temporary to permanent status.

If your U.S. company (affiliate or subsidiary) becomes well established, meaning it is profitable and providing employment for U.S. workers and your overseas company is also still operating, you can apply for a Multinational Manager Green Card. Your ability to apply is based on the fact that you are managing two companies in two different countries which both have employees.

For the Multinational Manager Green Card, it does not matter if you are in L-1 or E-2 status, it only matters that you are managing two different companies in two different countries, you worked for the overseas company for at least one year before coming to the United States and both companies have employees. The L-1 visa is not a necessity to receive a Multinational Manager Green Card.

However, if you closed your business overseas, you cannot apply for a Multinational Manager Green Card.

If you do not want to first apply for an L-1 or E-2 and prefer to go straight for the permanent residency, then you can “purchase” a green card. This is the Eb-5 program. This requires the investment of $500,000 to $1 Million either in the establishment of your own U.S. company or the investment in a Regional Center. $500,000 is sufficient if you invest in a designated rural or high unemployment area; investing in any other location will require an investment of $1 Million.

A Regional Center is basically an administration company that collects money from foreign investors and then invests it in designated projects, such as the build out of an airport, a solar field, housing or farms.

If you would like to invest in your own company, then you will need 1 Million Dollars readily available as the investment must be made in full. Income or expenses of an existing U.S. business cannot be used to prove the investment of 1 Million Dollars. After this investment is done, you receive a conditional residency for two years. Within these two years either your project at the regional center or your own company has to create ten full-time jobs. If you can show these jobs, then you will receive your permanent residency.




Sabine Weyergraf is founding partner and New York licensed attorney practicing solely immigration law with
Weyergraf Immigration, PA in Sarasota, Florida.
Contact: 941-706-4102,

This article is provided for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.



Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Michael Monnot


12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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