E2 Visa — How Many Employees do I Need?
Angie: Angie Rupert, founder of Rupert Law Group. We handle exclusively E-2 visas. And today, we are here with Marianella Manzur from Journey Business Plans. Hi, Marianella.
Marianella: Hi, Angie. Thank you for inviting me. It’s always a pleasure.
Angie: It is indeed. Thanks so much for being here. And today, Marianella and I are gonna talk about a very important topic in the world of E-2s, which are the number of employees, how many employees do I need to have in order to get approved for an E-2 visa. And, unfortunately, just like with everything in the E-2 visa world, the answer is it really depends, it depends on the industry and the business. But the requirement is that the business must not be marginal. In other words, this business needs to make enough money to support you and your family, plus employees. So, how many is a real, true minimum? And the answer is, again, there is no answer. It’s recommended by me…and I’m gonna let Marianella jump in here in a second as well, but that you have at least one part-time U.S. citizen at the time that you apply. But Marianella, what do you tell clients? You get this question a lot as well.
Marianella: Yes, we do have this question a lot. So, usually, it will come back to the attorney, so it depends on your business. Like you were saying, Angie, unfortunately, most of the answers with immigration is it depends. So, yes, it depends on your business, it depends on where you’re going to be located, it depends on if it’s a company that’s already running or it’s a company that you are starting. So, what we do is that when you know what your initial team is gonna look like, we can help you devise what’s gonna happen in the next five years or what should happen in a conservative way, depending on what immigration is expecting and also depending on the industry average of a similar established business. So, we would provide that insight according to the industry and our research. However, it’s always good to confirm with the attorney so that the overall case is solid.
Angie: Wonderful. I think that’s great advice. I think it’s great. As I tell people, this does not need to necessarily…when you come in and have at least one part-time employee, it is going to strengthen your case without a doubt. The U.S. government is never going to tell you that you have too many U.S. citizen employees. That will never happen. So, don’t worry about that, okay? Again, this doesn’t have to be the CFO, you don’t need to be paying this person $140,000 a year, so don’t be intimidated by the word employee. Employee could mean a part-time person, employee could mean an assistant. So, think about that and think about how it’s going to help your business. So, those are really crucial. Don’t get overwhelmed by the word employee, okay? Marianella and I handle this type of thing all the time. We can certainly talk you through what you may need in terms of E-2 visa.
Marianella: Definitely. And also, Angie, I wanted to jump in because there’s a lot of people who say,” Hey, you know what? I can run this business myself. Why do I have to get an employee?” But my advice is always to have an open mind because this is a very big market. So, if your intention, in whatever business you are in, is that you want to grow your business, you’re gonna need help. I mean, you can’t manage, you can’t sell, you can’t do everything at once, so if you do wanna grow, you need to delegate. And if you need to delegate, eventually you’re going to need a few employees if you wanna be successful.
Angie: That’s correct.
Marianella: So, definitely very, very important.
Angie: Absolutely. That’s a good point, not only from an immigration perspective but just from a business perspective. There are 350 million of us here in this country, so you have a very large market to attack and conquer. So, yes, having help is gonna be crucial not only, again, for immigration purposes but for business purposes. Absolutely. So, how many employees do you need before you can be approved? Again, it really depends. I recommend at least one part-time employee.
At the end of five years, you will definitely need multiple employees. There are no minimums. I usually recommend, depending on the business, that you have about five employees at the end of five years. I’ve seen approvals with less on renewals, but that should kind of be a general guide. If you’re running a restaurant or manufacturing, you’re going to need more than that. But this would just be a general guide for the E-2 at the end of five years. But the business plan, this is where the business plan is key, not only on the renewals but at the initial E-2. And Marianella, speak a little bit to that, about how you help the business owner judge what is reality and what is needed on this business plan for employee projections.
Marianella: Definitely, Angie. So, for the business plan, what we do is that we try to be very conservative when we devise a personnel plan for our clients to make sure that we are including employees that they will need according to their business. Because it needs to make sense with the business, it’s not the same if you have a small café or if you maybe have a call center. So, if you have a call center and then you have five employees, obviously, the officer is going to see that and is gonna say, “Okay, this doesn’t make sense,” the same that if you have a café and then you have 100 employees at year five.
So, what we do is try to, first, make it as conservative as possible, but also enough that it makes sense with the business and with the industry average. And there’s also another thing, which is the salaries. So, we do ask about the team that you’re gonna start with, but we can also help you devise the salary according to the location where your company is gonna be established to make sure that you are in line with what is common in that particular state or city.
Angie: Right. That’s correct. So, also understanding when you come to the United States, it’s a very big country geographically as well, so what may fly in Connecticut for a salary may not be the same as what would happen in LA County, right? The salaries and the job descriptions are gonna vary greatly between states, so it really depends a lot on where you live. Of course, Journey has all of that information at their fingertips, and with their research, they can kind of guide you to, “Hey, based on, you know, this location with this job description, you should probably expect to pay this much for a person,” right?
Marianella: Correct, correct.
Angie: So, second of all, let’s bring it around to our final slide today, is what if I wanna hire employees from my home country? That’s a great, great question. And, in fact, if you are here in the United States with an E-2 and you have employees that you’d like to bring over from your home country, you can do that, they will also get E-2s. However, keep in mind that the U.S. government is really interested in your U.S. citizen and U.S. green card holder employees. So, if you come over on an E-2 and want to bring over an employee, you should probably count on having at least three or four U.S. citizen employees before you bring that employee from your home country.
There are a variety of reasons for that. One of the main ones is an executive order that came out in the summer of 2017 called Buy American, Hire American. So, really, all of the officers in the consulates and embassies around the world have to adjudicate all of these employee cases based on that executive order, which says, “Hey, why are Americans not being hired?” So, it’s really important that we not only describe the job function of these employees that is gonna be crucial for employees but also that you have U.S. citizen employees already hired. Marianella, could you speak to that at all?
Marianella: Yes. I mean, it’s very important to point out that basically that’s one of the main reasons why the U.S. has an E-2 altogether, right? The idea is for people not only to come and invest but for them to create jobs. So, the personnel plan is gonna be a crucial part of the business plan and a crucial part of the chances that you’re gonna have for your approval. So, like I always say, listen to your attorney. Angie is a great immigration attorney, so listen to what she has to say, and you’ll be fine.
Angie: Thanks so much, Marianella. I do appreciate that. So, yes, there are no minimum of employees, but you should have some. Right, Marianella?
Angie: All right. So, thanks again, Marianella, for joining me. If you, the watching audience today, would like to contact either of us, here’s our information. Please feel free to reach out any time. Marianella, it’s been a pleasure.
Marianella: Thank you, Angie. Always a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Angie: Thanks so much. And thanks for watching.