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Can I Hire Independent Contractors for My E-2 Business?

Can I Hire Independent Contractors for My E-2 Business?

Are you considering running your E-2 business with an all-independent contractor staff? We have helped many clients obtain their E-2 visas by crafting immigration business plans that show only independent contractors in their personnel plan. However, there are some nuances and important considerations you should keep in mind to ensure you stay within the bounds of the law and avoid potential issues down the road.

Understanding the Distinction: W-2 vs. 1099

Firstly, it's crucial to understand the fundamental difference between W-2 employees and 1099 independent contractors. These terms are derived from the tax forms they receive each year: the W-2 and the 1099-MISC.

• W-2 Employees: W-2 employees are individuals who receive a regular salary and employee benefits. Taxes are withheld from their paychecks by their employer. They generally work in a location provided by the employer, and their tasks are closely related to the core functions of the business.

• 1099 Independent Contractors: On the other hand, 1099 independent contractors have more autonomy over their work. They are often paid on an hourly basis or per project. Independent contractors are responsible for paying their own self-employment taxes and handling their own tax obligations.

Beware of Misclassification

Misclassification of workers can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Some employers may classify workers as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees, leading to potential tax evasion issues.

Government agencies like the Department of Labor and the IRS have become increasingly vigilant in cracking down on misclassification. If your business hires and compensates individuals as if they were 1099 independent contractors but exercises significant control over their work as if they were W-2 employees, you could find yourself facing penalties and legal troubles.

Following Industry Practices and Norms

To avoid misclassification and ensure compliance with the law, it's essential to follow industry practices and norms when determining whether a position should be filled by a W-2 employee or a 1099 independent contractor.

Here are some positions that are typically hired as 1099 independent contractors:

• Sales Staff: Independent sales representatives are often hired as contractors.

• Photographer: If you need photography services for your business, photographers are typically engaged as contractors.

• Realtor: Real estate agents often work as independent contractors.

• Website Designer: Freelance web designers are commonly hired on a contract basis.

• Virtual Assistant: Virtual assistants who provide administrative support can be independent contractors.

• Bookkeeper: Many businesses hire bookkeepers as contractors to manage their financial records.

By aligning your staffing decisions with industry norms, you can reduce the risk of misclassification and ensure that your E-2 business operates within the bounds of the law.

In conclusion, while it's possible to run your E-2 business with an all-independent contractor staff, it's crucial to understand the legal distinctions between W-2 employees and 1099 independent contractors. By following industry practices and being aware of potential misclassification issues, you can navigate this aspect of your E-2 business successfully and avoid any unwanted legal complications. If you need further guidance on this topic, consult with legal and tax professionals who specialize in employment and immigration law.

And when the time comes to craft your E-2 business plan, give us a call. As business consultants, our deep understanding of how businesses operate is at the core of our expertise. We recognize that comprehending the intricate dynamics of a business is paramount, especially when it comes to implementing a personnel plan comprised entirely of independent contractors. Our ability to grasp the nuances of your business model, industry norms, and the legal landscape allows us to guide you towards a successful outcome. We appreciate that every business is unique, and by aligning our insights with your specific goals and vision, we can help you navigate the complexities of staffing with independent contractors effectively, ensuring that your business not only complies with the law but also thrives in the process.


The information provided in this blog is intended solely for informational purposes. While we strive to offer accurate and up-to-date content, it should not be considered legal advice. Immigration laws and regulations are subject to change, and individual circumstances can vary widely. For personalized guidance and legal advice regarding your specific immigration situation, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified immigration attorney who can provide you with tailored assistance and ensure compliance with current laws and regulations.


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 four 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 investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.


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