H-1B VISAS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
On Aug. 2, 2011, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas outlined a series of policy, operational, and outreach efforts to fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment. These initiatives will allow our nation to realize the potential of current immigration laws to attract the best and brightest from around the world to invest their talents, skills, and ideas to grow the U.S. economy and create American jobs.
H-1B VISA FOR ENTREPRENEURS
One of these initiatives was an H-1B visa for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs with an ownership stake in their own companies, including sole employees, may be able to establish the necessary employer-employee relationship to obtain an H1-B visa, if they can demonstrate that the company has the independent right to control their employment.
To determine whether there is an employer-employee relationship, USCIS will evaluate whether the petitioner has the “right to control” the beneficiary’s employment, such as when, where and how the beneficiary performs the job.
A beneficiary, who is the sole owner of the petitioning company or organization, may be able to establish a valid employer-employee relationship if the facts show that the petitioner has the right to control the beneficiary’s employment. For example, if the petitioner provides evidence that there is a separate Board of Directors which has the ability to hire, fire, pay, supervise or otherwise control the beneficiary’s employment, the petitioner may be able to establish an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary. USCIS will consider the following factors to make this determination:
1. Does the petitioner supervise the beneficiary and is such supervision off-site or on-site?
2. If the supervision is off-site, how does the petitioner maintain such supervision, i.e. weekly calls, reporting back to main office routinely, or site visits by the petitioner?
3. Does the petitioner have the right to contorl the work of the beneficiary on a day-to-day basis if such control is required?
4. Does the petitioner provide the tools or instrumentalities needed for the beneficiary to perform the duties of employment?
5. Does the petitioner hire, pay, and have the ability to fire the beneficiary?
6. Does the petitioner evaluate the work-product of the beneficiary, i.e. progress/performance reviews?
7. Does the petitioner claim the beneficiary for tax purposes?
8. Does the petitioner provide the beneficiary any type of employee benefits?
9. Does the beneficiary use proprietary information of the petitioner in order to perform the duties of employment?
10. Does the benfeciary produce an end-product that is directly linked to the petitioner's line of business?
The petitioner must clearly show that an employer-employee relationship will exist between the petitioner and beneficiary, and establish that the employer has the right to control the
beneficiary's work, including the ability to hire, fire and supervise the beneficiary. The petitioner must also be responsible for the overall direction of the beneficiary's work. 13 Lastly, the petitioner should be able to establish that the above elements will continue to exist throughout the duration of the requested H-IB.validity period. The petitioner can demonstrate an employer employee relationship by providing a combination of the following or similar types of evidence:
• A complete itinerary of services or engagements that specifies the dates of each service or engagement, the names and addresses of the actual employers, and the names and addresses of the establishment, venues, or locations where the services will be performed for the period of time requested;
• Copy of signed Employment Agreement between the petitioner and beneficiary detailing the terms and conditions of employment;
• Copy of an employment offer letter that clearly describes the nature of the employer mployee relationship and the services to be performed by the beneficiary;
• Copy of relevant portions of valid contracts between the petitioner and a client (in which the petitioner has entered into a business agreement for which the petitioner's employees will be utilized) that establishes that while the petitioner's employees are placed at the third-party worksite, the petitioner will continue to have the right to control its employees;
• Copies of signed contractual agreements, statements of work, work orders, service agreements, and letters between the petitioner and the authorized officials of the ultimate
end-client companies where the work will actually be performed by the beneficiary, which provide information such as a detailed description of the duties the beneficiary will perform, the qualifications that are required to perform the job duties, salary or wages paid, hours worked, benefits, a brief description of who will supervise the beneficiary and their duties, and any other related evidence;
• Copy of position description or any other documentation that describes the skills required to perform the job offered, the source of the instrumentalities and tools needed to perform the job, the product to be developed or the service to be provided, the location where the beneficiary will perform the duties, the duration of the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary, whether the petitioner has the right to assign additional duties, the extent of petitioner's discretion over when and how long the beneficiary will work, the method of payment, the petitioner's role in paying and hiring assistaIlts to be utilized by the beneficiary, whether the work to be performed is paIt of the regular business of the petitioner, the provision of employee benefits, and the tax treatment of the beneficiary in relation to the petitioner;
• A description of the performance review process; and/or
• Copy of petitioner's organizational chart, demonstrating beneficiary's supervisory chain.