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Thinking of Immigrating to America from SA? Now Is The Time
More South Africans are looking to get their Green Cards with the EB-5 visa. Here’s why – and how you can use this opportunity too.
South Africans are surging towards the popular United States EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa programme ahead of possible price increases that will likely place the EB-5 visa programme out of reach for many, other than for the uber-rich.
NES Financial, the leading EB-5 financial brokerage in the US, has estimated a 600% increase in EB-5 petition filings from South Africans this fiscal year from three years ago.
Increasing applications for the US Investor Visa
Bernard Wolfsdorf, a US EB-5 lawyer and former South African, has filed more South African cases in the past year than he has processed in the past ten years.
“I think it’s the fact that the investment amount could soon increase soon from $500 000 to $1,8 million that is driving many South Africans,” he says.
However, Wolfsdorf, Past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, speculates that there are other factors, such as the stable US economy, excellent business environment, and outstanding educational opportunities that are enticing many South Africans to invest in the U.S.
“The currency swing has convinced many South Africans I speak to that foreign investment in the US makes sense,” he adds.
Assisting with understanding your US immigration options
The Tier 1 top ranked US immigration law firm, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP has now set up a South African focused website and is regularly sending experienced lawyers to meet with South Africans and explain their immigration options.
“While on the one hand I am sad that many South Africans are choosing to leave, my hope is that, with global investment, many will continue to run and expand their South African companies and that the foreign investment will benefit South African trade and exports and create jobs locally,” says Wolfsdorf.
Other countries, such as China and Korea have many immigrants and they continue to drive trade with their ‘mother’ countries. “I expect to see many South African immigrants continue to develop trade and commerce with the US as this huge influx continues,” he says.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative confirms that US goods and services trade with South Africa totaled an estimated $18,9 billion in 2018. Exports were $8,4 billion; imports were $10,5 billion, creating a trade deficit with South Africa of $2,1 billion in 2018.
Some of the top imports from South Africa into the US include precious metal and stone; iron and steel; vehicles; and agricultural products like tree nuts and fresh fruit. However, the strong dollar greatly benefits trade and prices for many South African goods are high.
Why South Africans are immigrating to the US and not Australia
Other factors leading South Africans to choose the US is the fact that Australia and the United Kingdom have been less welcoming to immigrants recently, so while the US has been in third place as a choice, this is likely to soon change soon.
“In fact, Australia is becoming less and less friendly to immigrants on a personal level, with many Australians believing it’s time for its liberal immigration policies to end,” says Wolfsdorf.
“The country is implementing visa crackdown measures to limit work visas and ensure that foreign workers have the right skills and occupational licenses to conduct business. Additionally, with Brexit causing uncertainty, many South Africans have decided to look towards America for a Plan B.”
Joseph Barnett, a partner of the law firm who specializes in EB-5, is currently making his second trip to South Africa in the past six months.
“I really enjoy meeting with South Africans on my previous trip,” he says. “They are friendly, hospitable and hardworking. I’m sure this is the main reason most South Africans seem to do so well in the US.”
Why consider the EB-5 Visa
“The EB-5 Visa remains popular because there is no US employer sponsorship requirement, no education requirement, travel throughout the visa process is relatively simple, and because South Africans can choose to live wherever they desire once obtaining the green card,” the attorney adds.
“In short, the opportunity to live the American dream is open to anyone able to invest $500 000.”
South Africans should be aware that regulations first proposed in 2017 have now reached the final stage of the rulemaking process, review by the US Office of Management and Budget, before being finalized. The time to act is now.
For more information on how you can begin your US EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa process, visit Eb5greencard.co.za
This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com/sa.
What Is The Legal Impact Of Acknowledgements?
Why the old saying of “think before you ink” is not as dated as you may think.
Often, in the midst of a disagreement, we find ourselves reducing things to writing. As attorneys, we often consider this as the most useful or dangerous of situations. Specifically, when admissions are being made and the parties to the dispute are not even aware that this is what they are doing!
Let’s be practical about this. We often see correspondence between people whether in an email, SMS, Facebook or instant message “…I will pay you….” On the flipside of the coin – often people ignore invoices or payment demands. This is equally problematic.
The implications if you reply or state that you will do something
Firstly, it does not matter how this is done or which platform is used. The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 2002 as amended (ECTA) allows for the admission of documents, in court, which is of electronic origin on the same basis as documentary evidence.
The courts are facing an increase of evidence produced which is of an electronic nature. This includes communication such as emails/ WhatsApp messages/ social media communications albeit Facebook/ Instagram.
The problem is, if you state anything that could be construed as an admission or acknowledgement that the other person has a claim then this could be used as evidence in a court of law.
So, what is the problem of not saying anything at all?
In law, there is a common law presumption that when someone states that they have a claim against you and you do not respond, you agree.
So, be careful not to say anything at all.
Most people are aware of or have heard that marking correspondence as “without prejudice” keeps it off the record. Well, not always.
For the without prejudice privilege to apply and to protect communications or information from being used in court, the following must be present:
- An admission or statement must be made,
- In the course of settlement negotiations,
- [as a] Genuine attempt to settle the dispute (in other words it cannot be used to conceal facts or evidence and so obstruct justice ).
A without prejudice offer during settlement negotiations cannot be an admission in court by the party making it. The offer is only admissible if the parties are required to prove that an offer of settlement was made at all.
In support of this, in a case in the former Transvaal Provincial Division (TPD) (now called the North Gauteng High Court if seated in Pretoria and the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg) the court held that:
“Negotiations conducted without prejudice, are of course, designed to resolve disputes between the parties and if the negotiations result in a settlement then logically evidence about settlement and the negotiations leading up to it should be available to the trial court because the whole basis of the non–disclosure has fallen away”.
This means that in some instances without prejudice communications can become admissible evidence in court, losing their privilege regardless of whether or not all documents have been marked accordingly.
A more pressing problem arises when a communication aimed at settlement deals with other issues as well. In this case, the privilege only covers the part of communication containing the admission or concession aimed at settlement.
Another statement or admission within the correspondence can be quite irrelevant to settlement negotiations, which means that statement will not be entitled to privilege and therefore not protected as such.
If you find yourself in a dispute with someone, it is advisable to contact an attorney to advise you on a response from the start of the matter.
 Reinecke 2011: 131.
 Meyer v Provincial Department of Health and welfare and others – judgement of Mavundla (J) on 27 January 2006 –TPOD case number 9092/05.
 Reinecke 2011: 132.
DM Kisch, IP law specialists
As South African domestic and global markets become increasingly competitive, businesses wishing to grow are increasingly forced to innovate, improve products and differentiate themselves from a host of competitors.
Name of Service: Legal Assistance
As one of South Africa’s leading intellectual property law specialists, DM Kisch offers a combination of skills, commitment and experience in the protection and management of intellectual property, from creation, protection and commercialisation to litigation.
Established in 1874, DM Kisch has a long and distinguished history in intellectual property law, with the experience and understanding of the complex and diverse needs of business and society at large to deliver effective solutions to clients.
DM Kisch, with offices in Johannesburg and Pretoria and an international network of intellectual property management specialists, offers a focussed and dynamic team with specialised capabilities and expertise to deliver the best solution for clients.
- Requirements for subsistence of copyright – Slogans and sounds, names, computer generated symbols, software, distinctive packaging, person’s identity, image, artistic and musical works
- Registration of copyrights in cinematographic films
- Assignment of copyright – Author of a copyrighted work is the first owner in most instances and has the right to assign copyright in the work to another person
- Licensing – Copyright license undertaking by the copyright owner not to sue the party, which holds the license
Copyright is infringed when there is unauthorised copying, reproduction or adaptation of a substantial portion of a copyrighted work.
At DM Kisch, we conduct all intellectual property litigation on behalf of clients, including all patent, trade mark and copyright litigation, anti-counterfeit litigation, litigation relating to intellectual property licences, unlawful competition and passing-off. We also act for clients in laying or defending Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) complaints.
Intellectual property, such as patents, designs, trade marks, copyright, trade secrets and know-how, can be licenced to third parties (licensees) in return for some sort of remuneration.
Ownership of the rights are retained by the licensor. An owner authorises the licensee to use or apply the rights in terms of a licence contract.
DM Kisch Inc can assist with the negotiation and drafting of licence contracts, together with our commercial department, advising on deal and tax structuring.
At all times, trade marks should be protected in the manner in which they are used. Logos are also protected under copyright and it is essential to ensure you are the owner of the copyright. The commissioning party will not automatically hold copyright created by third parties.
Contact via email or phone for a quote
Offices in Pretoria and Johannesburg with an national and international applicabilities.