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Posts from July 2015.

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A good business plan involves consideration of both short-term and long-term goals. Your plans should do the same for your management and business employees; getting them into the U.S. as you start or grow your business, and keeping the organization properly staffed as it succeeds. This occasional blog provides guidance regarding some of the most common and important employment-based U.S. immigration options.

The U.S. government makes it relatively easy to transfer a person from one business entity outside the U.S. to a related business in the U.S. That person must have worked in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity for the entity outside the U.S. for at least one year within the three years before the filing, and must be coming to the U.S. to work in one of those capacities, though not necessarily in the same position as in the other country for the other employer.

The two businesses must be related, either in terms of corporate relationship or ownership by the same person or group of people. They do not have to be involved in the same kind of business.

This process can be used for temporary positions, which can be approved for up to seven years of U.S. employment. These positions have “L-1” status. “Permanent” employment, which many people call a “green card,” is also available through a very similar process. Many businesses use the L-1 process to get employees and their families into the U.S. quickly while, at the same time or shortly thereafter, filing to seek approval as permanent residents. The two processes work very well together.

The normal L-1 process requires a mail-in filing for most people, which takes from two weeks (if an expediting fee of $1,225 is paid) to several months for review. Initial filing fees total $825 and a visa authorizing travel to the U.S. must be applied for and issued at a U.S. consulate outside the country, unless the employee is a Canadian citizen.

An alternative L-1 process is available for businesses that expect to transfer people on a relatively frequent basis. It is called the “blanket petition” process and is available to businesses that have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million, or which have a U.S. workforce of at least 1,000 employees, or which have obtained at least 10 L approvals in the 12 months preceding the filing seeking approval to use this process. One of the benefits of approval for the “blanket petition” process is that it completely eliminates the U.S. mail-in filing, so the process begins directly at the U.S. consulate. It also greatly reduces the need to establish proof of the business relationships.

The EB-1 “green card” process is similar to the L process noted above, which makes it very easy to plan. The process often takes as little as five months from initial filing to decision, and can result in approval of permanent resident status for the employee and dependent family members.

For more information, see:

L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager:

L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge:

Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1:

The Labor, Employment & Immigration group is available to work with you as you consider employment-based immigration options for you or your employees.

iStock_000034565092_LargeJapan has always been a rather expensive place to live. Now, leaving Japan became expensive as well.

As of the first of this month, Japan has instituted an “exit tax.” People who have resided in Japan for more than five years out of the preceding ten years who leave Japan will now face a deemed-disposition type tax upon their departure, if they own certain types of financial assets that exceed 100 million yen.

Interestingly, this tax can apply even if the Japanese resident doesn’t leave Japan – it can apply when a resident of Japan gifts or bequeaths assets to a nonresident of Japan. This can make it more costly for family members in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world to inherit or receive gifts of certain financial assets from Japanese residents.

This tax is in effect as of July 1, but there is still some planning opportunity available for non-Japanese citizens who reside in Japan. The government has announced that they will not “start the clock” on the five-year rule until July 1, 2015. Thus, for foreign nationals living in Japan, this tax does not begin to apply until June 30, 2020.

iStock_000010019633_LargeAs The Associated Press recently reported, U.S. alcohol producers are increasingly interested in brewing sake, the traditional Japanese rice wine. Producers believe that there is a strong untapped market among U.S. consumers for premium sake that is accessible, in terms of both price and language.

This trend could make progress in the state of Washington, which is reported as having the most craft distilleries of any state and continues to have a strong craft brewing industry. The laws and regulations surrounding the interstate transportation of liquor tend to favor homegrown production, and Washington lawmakers have recently altered the state’s laws to make distilling in this state easier and, potentially, more profitable. Cheers to that!

iStock U.S. Flags and Wall Street SignSo you want to do business in the United States. One of the very first things to think about is tax planning. It can make the difference between a profitable and unprofitable overseas venture. The level of scrutiny on cross border transactions has increased over the years, as technology has allowed governments to cooperate and collect data more easily. Both your home country’s tax authorities and the U.S. authorities will be interested in how your business is operated, to make sure that they are each getting their fair share of tax from your revenues. You need to make sure you are both complying with applicable laws and structuring your business in the most tax efficient way possible. Tax attorneys can help with that planning. Working with tax advisors in your home country and your accountants, they can help you develop a strategy and implement it.

Our next installment of our resource for doing business in the U.S. therefore seeks to give you some basic information about the different ways that foreign enterprises are taxed in the U.S. This is not aimed at telling you how to structure a particular project, but we hope that an introduction to the concepts will make it easier when you start considering tax planning. It should help you:

    • Know what information you’ll need when talking with your tax attorney or other advisor
    • Understand the reasons why certain facts and circumstances will likely impact that advisor’s analysis and recommendations.

A link to the installment is available here.

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About Us
Foster Garvey’s International practice group comprises a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. A number of attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.
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