Obtaining an Immigrant Visa: The First Step to Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident in the U.S.

The first paragraph in the website of the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs says, “Foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States must first obtain an immigrant visa. This is the first step to becoming a lawful permanent resident.”

Immigrating to the U.S., however, is not simple, much more the process that foreign nationals have to go through once they decide which visa program or category they want to qualify into. Though the family-based or employment-based visa categories are the programs that most immigrants apply into, there is another category wherein certain individuals may qualify, the processing time of which is much faster, and the requirements are fewer: the EB-5 visa, also known as the employment fifth preference visa.

The EB-5 Program was approved by the U.S. Congress in 1990 for the purpose of boosting the growth of the nation’s economy through capital investment and job creation by foreign investors.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is the easiest way for wealthy foreign nationals (and their families) to obtain a U.S. Green Card. The required amount of investment is $1 million for the creation of a new commercial enterprise and $500,000 if the investment is to be made in a Regional Center.

In accordance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) definitions, a commercial enterprise refers to any type of “for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:

  • Sole proprietorship;
  • Partnership (whether limited or general);
  • Holding company;
  • Joint venture;
  • Corporation;
  • Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned; and,
  • A commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, provided that each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.”

An EB-5 Regional Center (RC), meanwhile, is a USCIS-designated service agent organization with the purpose of helping EB-5 investors complete a project and meet the requirements mandated under the EB-5 Program. There are 1,203 EB-5 Regional Centers all across the U.S.; this includes the 851 regional centers approved by the USCIS on August 1, 2016.

Every year, the USCIS grants 10,000 visas through the EB-5 program. For the first time since 2007, when only 700 EB-5 visas were issued by the USCIS, the annual quota of 10,000 was reached both in 2014 and 2015. More than 90% of those granted the visa were from China.

Aside from China, Russia is another country where a steady flow of those immigrating into the U.S. come from.

Russian willing to invest in the U.S. began to increase in the early 1990s, after the collapse of Communism and after. The plummeting of the Russian stock market and the Russian ruble in 2014, however, has had unfavorable effects on those planning on investing in the U.S. as it made the $500,000 EB-5 investment now cost up to about 50% more in rubles than it did just a few years ago. Fortunately, a lot of wealthy Russians who would qualify under the EB-5 program have dollar and/or Euro currency accounts outside of Russia.

As explained by a Russian-speaking business immigration lawyer, “Many hopeful immigrants find themselves facing lengthy delays and wait times, and many suffer the frustrating experience of having their visa applications rejected altogether for minor errors or filing problems. Individuals pursing an EB-5, however, are often able to avoid many of the time delays and strict visa requirements that other hopeful immigrants face in their journey to the U.S.”

Furthermore, “individuals taking advantage of the Immigrant Investor Program can secure a green card and enjoy the following benefits:

  • No language, age, professional experience, or education requirements;
  • No need for direct family members in the United States;
  • No residency requirements in the U.S.;
  • No workplace requirements in the U.S.; and,
  • For individuals investing in Regional Center projects, no daily management / running of a business.”

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Common Workplace Injuries

Whether you work construction or consulting, the workplace requires attention to detail in order to avoid injury. Even seemingly harmless trades, like consulting, contain risks that workers must be aware of to properly protect themselves. In the event of an injury, workers compensation is frequently necessary to avoid loss of income and compensate for decreased work functionality. According to the Benton Law Firm, Workers compensation is an insurance program that can recover some financial loss for any work-related injury or illness. However, there are some limitations to workers compensation, and in many situations, there are ways to receive additional damages for your injury. The process of recovering workers compensation involves lawyers and insurance companies assessing precise levels of disability to determine the proper payout.

The most common workplace injuries are overexertion injuries caused by pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing activities at work. These tasks can be impossible to avoid in industries that require manual labor. To avoid injuries such as these it is important to be aware of, and have access to, safety standards and equipment. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, focuses on keeping workers safe by mandating these procedures be followed. These procedures include mandatory training courses and safety equipment that must be worn at all times in risky workplaces.

A less obvious, but equally dangerous, workplace injury is caused by repetitive motion. These kinds of injuries are more common in office jobs, as employees frequently sit at their desk for hours at a time. There are many opportunities for repetitive motion injuries in an office setting. You can strain your eyes from staring at a computer screen for too long, develop carpal tunnel syndrome from typing for too long, or damage your back muscles by sitting for too long. To combat these risks, it is immensely important that employees take breaks to move around and get their blood flowing.

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Effects of Having A Criminal Record on Child Custody

One of the major issues being settled in a divorce case is child custody. When it comes to determining who gets custody, court decision will always boil down on the best interest of the child. Austin divorce lawyers will tell you that determining child custody can be a long and drawn out battle between the spouses. When one of the parents has a criminal conviction in their record, it could have a huge impact on the child custody case.

If a parent has a previous criminal record, their history can play a huge role in their child custody case. Its effects on child custody will depend on several factors such as:

  • The victim of the offense
  • Type of offense
  • Age when the offense was committed
  • Nature of the sentence
  • Multiple convictions

If you have a criminal record and is in a child custody case, the judge will want to look at the identity and relationship of your previous victim. If the past offense caused emotional or psychological injury to one of your children, chances are the court could limit your custody and visitation rights. According to the website of Horst Law, the criminal conviction can haunt the parent for years and can affect their chances on getting a favorable decision on their child custody case.

In making their decision, the judge will look at the nature of the conviction. If the previous crime involved crimes such as assault, battery, weapons offenses, stalking and others, this would make the court worry about anger management and violence issues which could affect the child custody case once the history of domestic violence has been established. This will make the court assume that you are a bad parent due to your history of abusive record. The court may only award limited or supervised child custody.

Likewise, drug or alcohol related violence can also affect the child custody case. You may be required to submit to a hair follicle test to determine whether you used drug use for several months. If you are tested positive for drug use, you may just be awarded with supervised visitation.

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The Different Types of Rollover Accidents Explained

One of the worst accidents that can happen to you on the road is a rollover. Although more common in larger vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, and vans, rollovers can also happen in automobiles. These types of accidents happen when a driver loses control and the vehicle flips over several times. A Chicago personal injury lawyer will tell you that rollover accidents can have a devastating effect on the driver.

While they can happen in only about 3 percent of all serious crashes, they represent about 30 percent of deaths in passenger vehicles. Rollover accidents have something to do with the center of gravity of vehicles. Sideway forces that develops when a vehicle rounds about a curve shifts the gravity to one side which can dramatically impact the balance of the car. A Fort Walton beach car accident lawyer is well aware that accidents cannot be prevented so it is up to you to take all the necessary precautions.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 95% of most rollover accidents are tripped. This happens when the tires of a vehicle digs into soft soil or strikes an object such as curbs or guardrails. The strong force applied on the tires results to the car rolling over. When you get injured in an accident such as a rollover, it will often result to serious injuries such as head trauma, spinal cord injuries, or loss of consciousness.

To prevent your car from rolling over, you can invest on rollover avoidance technologies. Likewise, you can choose cars with better design as well as enhanced safety systems. But most importantly, always use safety belts when on the road and prevent yourself from being part of the statistics. Make sure that your tires are in good condition and properly inflated to the recommended pressure by the manufacturer.

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How To Run A Startup Business

Times are hard nowadays and running a startup business can be difficult. An Austin business attorney will tell you that there are many intricacies involved in forming and running a startup. Unlike other kinds of businesses, startups have specialized legal concerns that other businesses do not have. There are several factors that you need to consider when setting up a startup business. Here are things you need to bear in mind when launching a startup business:

1. Plan Ahead

No matter how smart you are, it is best to put down your plan in black and white. You cannot remember everything so your random observations, your conversation with others, and other thoughts worth following up on should be written down. So jot them down or you will lose them.

2. Stick To Your Budget

It can be easy to lose sight of your expenses and this is a recipe for disaster. Whatever happens, stick to your budget especially when you are just in the early stages of your business. You need to have discipline in all aspects of your business not only financially.

3. Flexibility

Things will not always work out according to plan so you need to be flexible and make the necessary adjustments. You need to accept what needs to be modified, scrapped, or completely rebuilt. Likewise, you should also learn how to embrace new changes.

4. Register your business

Business registration is an important step that you need to undertake. You can get help from a lawyer when registering your company.

5. Launch

Once your business is in place and your products or service is available, it is time to launch your business.

6. Grow

Your ultimate goal when running a startup business is to grow. You cannot remain a startup for a long time. The growth of your startup is the measure of your business success.

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Who Can Be Held Liable In A Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and fall is one of the most common accidents that can happen in the premises of a property. Slip and fall happens when an individual slips or trips and gets injured in the process. It is just one of the many cases tackled in a premise liability claim. According to the website of Abel Law Firm, property owners have a duty to maintain the safety of their premises.

Who Is Liable?

In reality, there is no exact way to determine liability in a slip and fall claim. There are certain criteria that need to be satisfied in order to determine liability. In premise liability, proof centers on the plaintiff showing that the property owner failed to remove a “dangerous condition” even if they had knowledge of it. For the claim to proceed to court, the plaintiff should also show that the dangerous condition presented an unreasonable risk to the persons on the property. Here are the elements that should be present in order for a slip and fall case to succeed:

  • The owner of the premises created the condition
  • The owner was aware of the condition but did not take steps to make corrections
  • The condition was already present for a long period of time that the property owner should have known and done something to remove the hazard.

According to the website of www.calljmb.com/, slip and fall injuries are preventable if the owner of the properly exercised their duty of care to their tenants. Such kinds of injuries can open up a spate of medical expenses and other bills. As a property owner, you could end up facing a lawsuit when someone gets inured while they are in your premises. So make sure that you remove any hazards in your property. This way, you can free yourself from the legal ramifications of your negligence.

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Why Drinking And Driving Don’t Mix?

We all have seen the negative effects of drunk driving on both the plaintiff and the defendant. When you are intoxicated, it will be hard to focus and take control of the wheel given the effects of alcohol on your body. Once you start the engine and drive away, you are putting your life in jeopardy. 2009 drunk driving statistics have revealed that there were 10,839 traffic fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving crashes.

Columbia DUI lawyers will tell you that getting convicted of DUI can have a significant impact on your life. Not only that, it can also have negative repercussions on your personal and driving record. So what is it in alcohol that causes it to have bad effects on driving a car? First of all, alcohol finds its way into the bloodstream through small blood vessels into the walls of the stomach and small intestines. In a matter of minutes, it will travel to the brain and the effects of alcohol start to sink in.

Alcohol disrupts your ability to think clearly thereby making poor decisions when on the road. It can also affect your depth perception and other vital motor skills needed for safe driving. A Nashville criminal lawyer will tell you that DUI can have both immediate and long term consequences which are often detrimental. For the plaintiff, they could end up with a long term injury or even die. The defendant, on the other hand, can end up in jail aside from paying huge penalties.

According to national statistics, an average of 12,000 people die yearly from DUI-related deaths. An average of 900,000 is arrested yearly. These are staggering statistics that show the impact of DUI on individuals. So don’t drink and drive and don’t drive while drinking. You do not want to be part of the statistics, fo you?

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