Coronavirus ... what a nightmare! Volatile markets, scandalous news, new laws and regulations ... so many things happening simultaneously might make you consider postponing your immigration to the United States. But, are you sure you are making the right decision? Think twice!
Contrary to what some investors may think, this is not the time to postpone your immigration plans. In fact, right now is the perfect time to apply for your visa. Here are 3 reasons:
1. US economic recovery vs other countries
In the midst of crises, we tend to forget that everything will pass and that the world's economies will recover. The coronavirus crisis is no exception.
The speed at which different countries recover will depend largely on the financial muscle that each nation has to face the crisis. Historically, the United States has had the capacity to recover quickly and, in turn, be the recovery engine for many other economies around the world.
To be more precise, the World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) has estimated that the United States economy will recover in the third quarter of 2020. The economy of the European Union, on the contrary, is projected to take twice as long, with a recovery estimated closer to the first quarter of 2021.
The outlook for Latin American economies is even less optimistic. According to the International Monetary Fund, the economies of Latin America, which were already showing signs of weakness before the coronavirus crisis, will take even longer to recover, with improvements estimated for some time in 2021 (https://www.latinfinance.com/ web-articles / 2020/3 / latam-2020-economic-recovery-will-not-happen-imf).
2. Long waits at consulates and USCIS
The USCIS and U.S. Consulates are working at half capacity. Although visa petitions entered within the U.S. are still being processed, American consulates abroad remain closed. Consequently, there is a delay in visa processing.
Once the consulates begin activities again, they will have a list of people waiting for their appointments to be rescheduled. As a result of this delay, the consulates will have to add the new requests that are introduced to those already waiting to be processed, naturally resulting in an increase in the number of visa applications.
As if this were not enough, the coronavirus crisis and many countries’ inability to face it will result in more investors seeking to settle in the United States.
As a consequence, only petitions that are ready to be introduced as soon as consulates open can escape the inevitable delay that is expected. In the past, even under normal conditions, appointments at some consulates have taken several months to be granted.
A similar situation will arise at the law firm with which you work. Your lawyer today probably has more time to spend on the laborious process of preparing a visa case. Once everything is normalized and investors come rushing to hire immigration attorneys, it is likely that they will have to wait longer than normal for their visa package to be completed.
The time to work on your petition is now. While the others are glued to the TV, nervous about what the newscast says, you should spend your time collecting your documentation and sending it to your lawyer. Only those attorneys who have the visa applications ready to enter will be able to obtain appointments for their clients. Therefore, if you slow down your visa preparation process with your attorney, you will end up in a long queue. Moments like the one we are living in call for proactivity, and we encourage you, instead of worrying, to take advantage of this time and work together with your lawyer to complete your visa petition. Taking this action now is not only an opportunity to put your name at the top of the long list of applications, but also to be the first to enter into a market where some competitors will probably have disappeared.
3. Support programs for small businesses
The United States government has supported small businesses as a matter of long-standing policy. Our current crisis, once again, confirms the importance operations with fewer than 500 employees have in the United States economy. This is a significant fact that invites reflection.
It is likely that the level of direct help local entrepreneurs receive from the United States government is higher than that provided by foreign governments to their entrepreneurs. For example, last week the federal government approved a financial aid program that exceeds $350 billion for small businesses.
One important aspect of the program is that if qualifying entities use the funds to cover personnel expenses and rent payments, they will not have to pay the government back. You may wonder why the United States government is giving away "free money." The United States understands that a very high percentage of its income as a nation comes from small businesses. In fact, small businesses account for 64% of the jobs across the country, and the federal government recognizes the important and irreplaceable role that small businesses, including those formed through E and L investor visas, play in its economy. In no other country are there business support programs that have the reach and speed of those in the United States. All of us who have the good fortune of living in this great country, know that when crises like the coronavirus happen, the United States government will continue to resolutely support small businesses.
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in 4 different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and individuals with business planning services in the areas of immigration and SBA loans.