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By: Megan Glenn from FranchiseTimes

 

Few have experienced as large a change as Andre and Rebecca Ogorzolka. The Caring Transition franchisees moved from Germany to North Carolina after obtaining E-2 visas with the help of their brand.

Wanting to give their children a better education in the United States, they began looking at their options several years ago. Among them was the E-2 visa, a type of working visa that immigrants can secure by investing in a U.S.-based business. While not uncommon for franchisors to support, the process can be daunting.

 

“The idea to move abroad and to live outside of Germany we had for almost 10 years,” said Rebecca Ogorzolka. “We started to look for our options and a friend in Florida introduced us to a kind of business consultant.”

 

E-2 Visa, Explained - Boundless

 

The Ogorzolkas waited for the right time to make their move, ideally when it would benefit their children the most to live abroad and learn a second language. The couple had no knowledge of how franchise systems worked, so they connected with Jeremy Bollington, a franchise broker at Your Franchise Is Waiting.

Bollington showed the Ogorzolkas several franchise options, including Caring Transitions. Their previous business in cable assembly was successful, and they still help with operations from a distance, but the pair wanted something different. Caring Transitions provides seniors with relocation, downsizing and estate sale services.

“We always said that we wanted to do something that helps people,” Ogorzolka said. “We wanted something that we could do with passion and help people.”

Serving others wasn’t the only reason the concept proved attractive. A flexible operating model was also an important factor as the Ogorzolkas want to be involved in their children’s lives and sought a franchise to fit that lifestyle.

Once they decided on a franchise, the more challenging process began. This included visiting the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt to apply for the visa, waiting for approval, consulting with lawyers and eventually moving to the U.S. in August 2023. The whole process took roughly 18 months

 

 

There were some bumps in the road, mostly in regards to reading through documents. “I’m not a native speaker, especially when it comes to legal documents,” said Ogorzolka. “I’m still trying to translate it all into German, but it’s getting better from day to day.”

 

Through it all, the Ogorzolkas had the support of the Caring Transitions team. Ray Fabik, president of Caring Transitions, makes it a goal to help entrepreneurs like the Ogorzolkas more easily start their businesses.

“It really just happened through the brokers,” said Fabik. “People who want to come over to the U.S. can come over on the visa but they have to prove that they’re going to run a business that meets certain volume.”

An investor must “have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States,” per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service criteria. There is not a specific dollar figure requirement, but the capital amount must be “sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise.”

As a qualifying business, Caring Transitions handles eight E-2 visa applications per year on average. In order to stay in the U.S., immigrants must meet certain success criteria. If they don’t, their investment into the franchise is returned before they go back to their country of origin.

The pressure is also on the franchisor’s side, Fabik said, as helping franchisees meet the criteria is paramount to making these relationships sustainable. Caring Transitions has a specific six-month training program for E-2 visa franchisees.

“Everyone has an interest in how we make this a smooth process,” said Fabik. “We want them to have clarity about what they’re getting themselves into.”

The Ogorzolkas run two Caring Transitions locations in North Carolina. Since they’ve started, it’s been exactly what they hoped for. Opening their first location on October 1, 2023, they’ve been consistent in meeting their goals for the visa. Any questions they’ve had through it all, they were able to turn to their support team.

“Everybody that was around us was such a big and immense help,” said Ogorzolka. “I can’t complain at all. So far, things are running very good.”

 

 All credit given to Megan Glenn from FranchiseTimes