My brother and I started a game company about 5 months ago. We are a general partnership. We recently went to a hackathon and I brought a friend from school as our dedicated game designer. We worked so well together that we decided to bring him on board as a partner.
The problem is that he's here on a H4 visa (he's from Canada). His Dad is here on an H-1B and he's an H4 as a dependent.
Is there absolutely anyway for him to be a part of our company?
From my research, the only thing I have found is that he's able to invest in the company, but he can in no way shape or form actually work for the company. This will not work for us since we want him to be our lead game designer on all our games, which would constitute as work.
Is a H1-B sponsorship the only route for us? We would like for him to start work right away, and it looks like you have to apply for an H1-B 6 months before work starts for the particular person. Six months is far too long of a wait for us.
There are several potential solutions to this problem if it is still a problem:
Solution 1 Under H4 Visa a person cannot be employed in the US but there is nothing to indicate that he or she cannot own a business, so your company can simply contract a company that the H4 holder opens in the US and you don't have to have USCIS involved in this. One thing that I would do is consult an Immigration Lawyer with respect to that just to confirm.
Solution 2 Since I would have to assume that the H4 holder is a Canadian citizen you can hire him under TN Professional visa which basically implies that he or she will have to leave the country and re-enter the country with an offer from your company stating that you are hiring him for the duration of 1-2-3 years and his Canadian Passport and that's it. This one of course depends on the Canadian citizenship and additionally on whether or not this person is over 18 years old.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-immigration-a-step-in-the-right-direction/2011/08/03/gIQA2bGgsI_story.html Have you seen this which references an update on H-1B Questions & Answers: USCIS Issues Guidance Memorandum on Establishing the "Employee-Employer Relationship" in H-1B Petitions