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E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Old Aug 16th 2018, 6:36 pm
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Default E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Hi all,
I recently found this incredibly useful site. Read loads of useful info. Now I am looking for some guidance on few specifics.
Quick info about me.
  • I run a UK limited company (IT consultancy business) past 20 years – through which I freelance.
  • Have an M.Sci with a postgraduate diploma in business management
  • British citizen. I don't have any other nationality.
Objective: To migrate to the US with family - mainly for personal and professional reasons. I understand that there is no direct path to a permanent residence from E2 but there is a hope that in 5 to 10 years time my business could grow to enable me for EB5 with 10+ employees.

Constraints:
  • At the moment, I can't afford $500K to go through EB5.
  • No multinational employers to get me L1 (all these years worked as a freelancer)
  • No US employers to sponsor me H1-B or the EB-1/2 directly (extremely difficult to get it even a response!!)
Basically, I am on my own with IT, management and consultancy business skills but they are in high demand in the US, fortunately.
Just about to do the following for E2 vias preparation.
  • Register an LLC company in the US focusing on IT Consulting services
  • Applying for ITIN for US tax
  • Once ITIN and LLC registration complete, I will apply for a business bank account in the US
  • Invest money into the business account to start the IT consulting business. (one of the problems for E2 - a large initial amount is not required for consultancy business - I plan to recruit US freshers and train them in my domain and send them out as my employees to various business for fixed-price contracts)
Please share your thoughts on the following, any help in guiding me is much appreciated.
  • Am I making any fundamental mistake with the idea of E2 given my background, constraints and goal?
  • Could you please recommend an immigration attorney/lawyer? Do they need to be UK based, just to address the local US embassy nuances? or US-based lawyers can do?
  • Did anyone try such E2 IT or other consulting business? please share your experience
  • Various sites suggest that for consulting business less than $70K is good enough provided we present a solid business plan and growth strategy. Is that true?
  • One of the big issues I face is that how do I prove a significant amount is irreversibly locked in the US? For a consulting business, a bunch of laptops, website and business stationaries and a small office room rental lease is not crossing even $20K :-(
Thank you for your time and valuable response.

Last edited by GeorgeSpark; Aug 16th 2018 at 7:00 pm. Reason: typo
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Old Aug 16th 2018, 6:48 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

One question I have for you is, why exactly do you need to physically be inside the USA to run the business?

Rene
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Old Aug 16th 2018, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Good question, thanks. Two reasons. My specific technology domain has much brighter scope in the US market than in the UK, it is extremely hard to develop the required business relationship from outside the US. The other is family reasons. I researched the family route (F4) but that has got a very long wait period and effectively beyond my productive age!!
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Old Aug 16th 2018, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Thanks. USCIS isn't going to care about the family part of your reason, so you must provide good evidence of why you need to be in the USA to run the business.

sorry, I don't know the answer to your other questions, other than that lawyer can be in the USA.

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Old Aug 16th 2018, 7:15 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Well noted. Thank you. I will ensure the business proposal provides evidence and rationale for the physical presence to develop the business.
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Old Aug 16th 2018, 8:34 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Consultancy generally means you'd attend client sites right? - I work in IT, and I've got various relationships with vendors and consultants, namely on the big data / analytical side - but, i can't work with them remotely, i need them in the same building as me.

Out of interest, what's the specific technology ?
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Old Aug 16th 2018, 9:00 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Yes, client onsite engagement is absolutely required. Tech is Applied AI, ML, and DL.
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Old Aug 16th 2018, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Jack8602,
Are you from Dallas/FW area? It is one my target area for setting up the business other than NY and CA.
Please advise if there is good demand there in my domain. How is the Bigdata, Data Science market there?
Did you use E2 route or usual H1-B/L1 route?
Thanks.
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Old Aug 16th 2018, 11:27 pm
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

OP, you say you want to move to the US “with family.” The E-2 is a really undesirable visa for a family, as children age out and have to leave the country at age 21.
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Old Aug 17th 2018, 2:24 am
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

One thing I have noticed is a lot of companies here seem to do things in-house, especially as far as data is concerned. The company I work for were looking at third party entities to provide some data work for us, in the end we hired a Data Scientist and two new DevOp guys.

For reference I work in the financial/digital sector for one of the top 3 financial/currency companies, and I'm a Technical Architect. Not saying there isn't a market for consultancy, but it would seem to me that your best bet would be to get in with company that would be willing to transfer you and your family out further down the road. Have you explored that avenue? As Nutmegger said, E-2 isn't a particularly good visa to be on.
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Old Aug 17th 2018, 2:33 am
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

This is a good market to be in and I can see the "need" to be physically present.

Presumably you could invest in people, right? I know it's a tougher sell, but you cant just up sticks and move back to the UK if the company is dependent on it's employee's knowledge and said employees are US based. You're chatting about "recruiting freshers" and "training" them - do you intend to invest in them monetarily, or just in time?

It's not uncommon for employers in the US to sponsor further education and training for employees and put an employment clause that if they leave in x years they have to refund the cost of said training.

Presumably if you take 3 freshers and enroll them in 2 or 3 training courses over a two year period, these will run to 10k per person at least - that's irreversible investment in your business. (to the tune of 20-30k)

As it is, I see your biggest market being Industrials, actually. Industrial IOT and big data is still very dependent on contract resources.

I'm a Sr Manager for Digital Engineering for a major US conglomerate, if it helps for reference.
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Old Aug 17th 2018, 9:05 am
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
OP, you say you want to move to the US “with family.” The E-2 is a really undesirable visa for a family, as children age out and have to leave the country at age 21.
Hi,
Thanks for the response. My understanding is that it is the same case for H1B or L1 visa too - children age out and have to leave the country at age 21. Please correct me if I am wrong.
The plan is at the age of 21 my children would be in university hence easy to switch them to F1. After graduation (at least M.S), recruit them in my company as E2 employee or they have the option to go for H1B with another company. If they like to move to any other country I don't mind too. How does that sound?
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Old Aug 17th 2018, 9:20 am
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Originally Posted by BenK91 View Post
One thing I have noticed is a lot of companies here seem to do things in-house, especially as far as data is concerned. The company I work for were looking at third party entities to provide some data work for us, in the end we hired a Data Scientist and two new DevOp guys.

For reference I work in the financial/digital sector for one of the top 3 financial/currency companies, and I'm a Technical Architect. Not saying there isn't a market for consultancy, but it would seem to me that your best bet would be to get in with company that would be willing to transfer you and your family out further down the road. Have you explored that avenue? As Nutmegger said, E-2 isn't a particularly good visa to be on.
Hi,
Thanks for the response. Great to know that you are a Tech Arch.
You are right. In the UK too, we (consultants) go in and do the proof-of-concept, develop a minimum viable product (MVP) or solution and handover to internal staff ( or help them to recruit right staff) and we are off to the next gig. Roughly every engagement last for 12 to 24 months (some tend to be exceptionally long). I take your point, to join an L1 capable multinational company in the UK but I have to work for at least 1 year here as a permanent employee (which pays peanuts!) - it is my last or worst-case option.
Other than the children aging out issue, do you see any particular professional issues with E2? In terms of contracting/consulting with US companies particularly in our domain (data science, advanced analytics, AI and machine/deep learning side). Thanks a lot.

Last edited by GeorgeSpark; Aug 17th 2018 at 9:44 am.
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Old Aug 17th 2018, 9:42 am
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

Originally Posted by TheKingOfHearts View Post
This is a good market to be in and I can see the "need" to be physically present.

Presumably you could invest in people, right? I know it's a tougher sell, but you cant just up sticks and move back to the UK if the company is dependent on it's employee's knowledge and said employees are US based. You're chatting about "recruiting freshers" and "training" them - do you intend to invest in them monetarily, or just in time?

It's not uncommon for employers in the US to sponsor further education and training for employees and put an employment clause that if they leave in x years they have to refund the cost of said training.

Presumably if you take 3 freshers and enroll them in 2 or 3 training courses over a two year period, these will run to 10k per person at least - that's irreversible investment in your business. (to the tune of 20-30k)

As it is, I see your biggest market being Industrials, actually. Industrial IOT and big data is still very dependent on contract resources.

I'm a Sr Manager for Digital Engineering for a major US conglomerate, if it helps for reference.
Hi TheKingOfHearts,
Very good suggestion, Thank you. Training budget is a great idea to increase my financial investment commitment. Yes, I will recruit CS graduates and put them on domain-specific training. I will do the research on US training providers and obtain a quotation.
Also, it is encouraging to know that there is a good scope for contracting roles. At the moment I am thinking of the following 3 main regions - not in order of preference, please share your thoughts and experience.
1. NY (Finacial sector) - I have done many years of Banking (Investment and Retail) and Financial IT. (Should I consider Chicago too?)
2. CA (any sector) - Using hardcore IT skills (make use of all hot in-demand stuff)
3. TX (Dallas/FW or Austin) - Any sector - using standard IT stuff
But not interested in "sweatshops" like Amazon, Facebook, etc

Having spent 20 years in London, I would prefer a smaller town and quieter place than NY/Chicago but not sure if the Banking/Finance sector IT (back office) is popular elsewhere in the US. Any advice? Hence, I am open to any other sector (but stick to IT only) in favor of better quality of living.

Thanks.

Last edited by GeorgeSpark; Aug 17th 2018 at 10:19 am.
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Old Aug 17th 2018, 11:56 am
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Default Re: E2 - IT Consulting business - Please guide..

The E2 will have to be renewed every few years, and USCIS is notoriously picky about those renewals - unless you can prove you are gainfully employing USCs and the business is more than subsistence it seems they are routinely denied. Not advice specifically, but something to bear in mind.

Good luck.
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