I have been interested in starting a company as an immigrant but don't understand what the law is for paying myself from the company or in what capacity I could legally work in the company. I have discovered that it's very commonplace for undocumented migrants to get legally paid as worker-owners in co-operatives. According to a document I found from Harvard Law (page 18):

federal immigration law does not expressly prohibit undocumented immigrants from working for a business that they own, such as a cooperative, so long as the worker-owner does not fall within immigration law’s definition of "employee.”

What considerations need to be taken when forming a company or when doing taxes in order to follow the law? Can immigrants who otherwise might not have work authorisation do this in general? Does this also work for people with temporary visas that don't have work authorisation?

  • 1
    Which country, the default one?
    – Greendrake
    Apr 9 '18 at 0:29
  • Sorry, I've changed the title. It is of course the default US of the anglophone internet. This is what's covered in the linked document too.
    – kiliantics
    Apr 9 '18 at 0:56
  • 2
    Stack Exchange doesn't have a default. If you don't state a jurisdiction, it is taken to mean any and all of them.
    – Nij
    Apr 9 '18 at 4:14
  • Yes, that makes sense. My comment was meant more tongue-in-cheek since one is often presumed american online, while I am not. But here I fell into the same trap.
    – kiliantics
    Apr 9 '18 at 16:00

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