16 June 2019

Immigration Nightmares For Small Business Slows Hiring

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Jamison Door Company makes the giant walk-in refrigerators that chill produce and milk at Costco and Wal-Mart.

The story of Jamison Door Company’s struggles with U.S. immigration laws is a cautionary tale at a time when the nation is embroiled in a controversial debate about outdated immigration laws.

It all started two years ago when Jamison wanted to make a new high-speed, roll-up freezer door that had already been perfected in Italy. Jamison was betting that adopting the new technology would lead to new demand and create as many as 15 new jobs at its factory.

A key step involved tapping into the technical know-how of Italian business owner Danilo Benotto, an expert in the roll-up doors. Jamison CEO John T. Williams wanted to bring Benotto to the U.S. in order to grow his business.

So Jamison got into a joint venture and tried to get Benotto into the United States on an investor visa called E-2. Over the course of two years, Benotto invested in real estate, equipment and materials, all requirements for the visa.

Finally, Benotto got his visa last November, months after filling out a final 73-page, single-spaced application. But Bonotto was stuck in Italy because the IRS recently rejected his request for a tax identification number he needs that to get paid in the United States.

If Congress does tackle new immigration laws, the E-2 investor visa is among those poised for a redo. Both the Senate and the House have proposed significant changes.

Jamison's expansion woes are one of the many reasons that big business groups like Chamber of Commerce are pushing Congress to simplify and overhaul immigration laws.

If Jamison Doors can get Benotto into the United States, it will start hiring skilled workers like these already working there. And these are good jobs that pay an average of $23 an hour, along with health care and retirement benefits.

Jamison Operations Manager David Briggs said he'd hire three new workers tomorrow, if Benotto got the green light to land in this country. 

Click here for the original article from CNN Money. 

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