By Sanwar Ali
Donald Trump and his views and actions on US visas are regularly in the news. It is difficult for US Presidents to make changes to the US immigration system. So actually the law has not changed that much.
However, in practice it is more difficult to obtain US visas under Trump. A recent development is that it seems that almost everyone applying for an US visa will now have to provide their social media details.
Five Percent Tariff to keep out Mexicans
From 10 June 2019 President Trump says there will be an additional five percent tariff on goods imported into the US from Mexico. Trump says this is to encourage Mexico to do more to prevent Mexicans from entering the US illegally. If this does go ahead it will hurt US consumers as well as a number of American companies.
Director of USCIS Lee Francis Cissna left
Many Trump appointees do not last very long. Cissna the USCIS Director was due to leave on 1 June 2019. This is despite the fact that Cissna is hardline on immigration and is sympathetic to Trump’s views on US visas. White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, Trump’s immigration guru apparently thought Cissna was moving too slowly.
H4 visa holders waiting for Green Cards will find it harder to work in future.
This affects some spouses of H1B visa holders who are waiting for a Green Card. Only a limited number of people are affected by this. H4 visa spouses will in future likely need to obtain another type of visa to work in the US. This is frequently extremely difficult to do. US visa options are very limited with Indian nationals being affected the most. Nationals of India are unable to come under the E2 or E1 visa scheme.
The US may be a better option for businessmen than the UK
UK Innovator and Start-Up visas are so difficult to obtain that many people may find that it is easier to gain entry to the US, instead of the UK, under say an L1 visa or E2 visa. The UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category which was a popular category for businessmen is no longer available for new applicants. For the UK many categories have restrictions on shareholdings such as the Tier 2 visa, and Sole Representative visa.
UK Tier 2 Visa compared to US L1 Visa and E2 Visa
US L1 Visa
US E2 Visa
UK Tier 2 visa
No restrictions on ownership. However, business needs to continue to be fully operational outside the US. No real investment requirement.
Easier for managers and executives to obtain a Green Card under EB1C.
It is a complicated and difficult procedure applying for an L1 visa.
Need to firstly register the business as an E2 visa business.
For a new business may need to invest money even before you have a visa. Can continue to be extended as long as the business continues in the US.
Only available to certain nationalities. Does not include Indian and Chinese nationals.
If looking for a Green Card may be better to come under the L1 visa as a Manager or Executive.
Employer needs to firstly have a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.
Unless being paid at least £159,600 a year a maximum of ten percent shareholding for the Tier 2 General Visa category. Usually leads to permanent residence towards the end of five years in UK.
No restriction on shareholdings for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa category. However, does not usually lead to permanent residence.
UK Sole Representative of an Overseas Business compared to US visas
The applicant’s maximum ownership of the overseas business outside the UK is fifty percent. Main business needs to be based outside the UK. In contrast, the L1 intra-company transfer or E2 visa has no restriction on ownership.
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