A friend of mine and his wife, along with thousands of others in this country, are encountering a problem with the E-2 Visa. Few people not involved with the program are aware of it’s existence or requirements. They’re explained fully at the link, but here’s a summary of what is expected of the Visa holder:
- The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
- The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
- The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
- The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
- The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
- The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
Educated, hard-working businessmen and women are allowed to own a business in our country, contributing to our wealth and economy. People who came to our country to share in the American dream. People who have pledged their livelihood and funds to making our country a better place. People who above all, now consider America their home.
People who, after five, ten, twenty or more years want the opportunity to stand before a judge and state…
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
Yet they can’t, thanks to an archaic, outdated, and unnecessary law.
From my friends, Allan and Maggie Collins:
I thought that my days of political protests were over in 1960 when I was arrested for protesting about apartheid outside the S. African Embassy in London. The Magistrate bound me over for six months to keep the peace, fined me ten shillings and sixpence and sent me on my way.
Most of our friends know that Maggie and I have been here for about seventeen years on E-2 Business Visas. This means we have had to invest “substantial” funds into our own business, employ Americans, pay our taxes and be profitable. The visas have to be renewed, costing about $10K, every five years and we have absolutely zero assurance that our application will be approved. There is a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads at all times and who knows when we might be deported or refused re-entry into the USA. The E-2 Visa (temporary residency) cannot be converted to Green Card (permanent residency) status and much less to citizenship which is certainly what Maggie and I so desperately want.
On Friday, October 23rd we attended an “E-2 Visa Reform Reception” – polite words for a protest rally! About 400 men, women and children attended representing 148 small businesses owned and managed by E-2 holders mostly located in and around Central Florida. We discovered that those 148 businesses have about $48 million invested in the USA. They employ 776 Americans and have a total annual turnover exceeding $55 million. These are real and sizeable numbers and contribute considerably to the economy. But at any time those small businesses could be closed down at the whim of an immigration bureaucrat and the owners deported, sometimes in handcuffs. We heard some harrowing tales of people to whom this had happened. We also heard from children who, at age 21, can be put on the next plane to their homeland, a country for which they have little affinity or knowledge.
We also learned that politicians and, more particularly their staff, have little or no idea about this injustice. Individuals who write letters in protest generally receive a form-letter thanking the writer for their support of immigration control with no mention of E-2 Visa reform. Individual letters make little difference and are generally consigned to the round filing cabinet under someone’s desk. But a concerted effort with hundreds thousands of letters and emails arriving in a single week will be noticed and, perhaps, be acted upon.
So it was decided that November 5th (a significant British anniversary) would be the letter-writing day and I hope all y’all will join us in supporting this movement, please. Over the next few days I will be sending out a text to be cut and pasted. There will also be a complete list of every politician representing Florida in the Senate and House of Representatives in Washington D.C. with contact information. Apparently emails are the most effective and cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time.
We’re here, we pay our way and we’d like to stay so please help.
I ask you, my readers and friends, to sign THIS PETITION in support of
House Bill H.R.1162 – The E-2 Non-Immigrant Investor Adjustment Act of 2009 – introduced in the 111th Congress by Congressman Adam Putnam (R-FL).
For more details please visit www.E2Reform.org. Thank you!