According to a press release issued by Thales Group - a French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets – Orlando has become an important destination for British business owners arriving in the US on E-2 Treaty Investor visas.
The E-2 Treaty Investor visa is a non-immigrant visa category for those who have made a significant investment in a US business in which the investor has at least a 50% ownership. Another visa linked to international trade agreements with the US is the E-1 Treaty Trader visa - for businesses engaged in substantial international trade between the US business and the E-1 treaty trader country.
These visas also allow for employees of the business to obtain E-2 visas or E-1 visas to work in the US, provided they are the same nationality as the business owner.
Thales Group also expanding their operations in US
Paris-based Thales Group recently issued a press release announcing their expansion into Central Florida, creating more than 500 jobs and investing over $20 million in the region. Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, said: "I am proud to announce that Thales chose Florida to expand and create 500 new jobs."
"We met with Thales at the Paris Air Show last year and it's great to make this exciting announcement here in London. I look forward to seeing their continued success in our state," Scott added.
According to the press release, it's expected that Thales' expansion will lead to the creation of 327 jobs in Melbourne (Florida) and 173 jobs in Orlando. The President and CEO of Thales USA, Alan Pellegrini, said: "We are pleased to be able to further expand our competitive footprint in Florida. The state's pro-business agenda is helping to enable our targeted growth."
It is interesting to note that French nationals can also come under the E-2 Treaty Investor and E-1 Treaty Trader Visa schemes.
Central Florida popular with Brits
The press release says that Central Florida has become popular with British citizens, who are the second biggest group of international visitors to the Orlando area, after residents of Canada. Orlando in particular has seen a surge in the number of UK business owners setting up companies in the region, who are arriving on US E-2 visas.
Thales' expansion into Central Florida comes as the Orlando jobs market continues to strengthen. As of January, the Orlando area had created 53,900 new jobs in the private sector, representing the highest number of new employment opportunities across all of Florida's metro areas.
In a statement, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Cissy Proctor, said: "Florida's aerospace industry is a leader in the nation and the world, and Thales' expansion will only add to that reputation. We are pleased that international aviation companies like Thales are choosing Florida to expand their businesses. The highly skilled workforce available in Melbourne and Orlando will help Thales thrive as it continues to grow in Florida."
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