Hello all -- please bare with me, this will most likely be a long post.
I am from Florida & am in the process of starting 2 businesses. One, a field service business, and the other, an equine training business. I am now at a point where I cannot handle the whole workload myself anymore so I've been speaking with my friend about her coming to the US to live & be a part of the businesses. She is 24 and from Finland. She came from a very bad family situation (fundamentalist religion/child abuse, then kicked out on her own when she attempted to speak out) so she has been on her own from 16. She is receiving a retirement pension right now which was set up by a brother, something which concerns me a bit when it comes to seeking residency in the US as I know they only want people who will not become reliant on the gov't and I fear that her already being reliant on the Finnish gov't will put an "X" on her file, so to speak. It is somewhere in the range of 800-1000 euros per month, or $1100-$1400/month, and from what she has been told, it is a retirement pension that will pay for the rest of her life, and should she move to the US it will still remain permanent. However, when it comes to employment she was told that she should not work, but if she feels she must, she can only make a minimal amount of money while receiving the pension, something like what a part time job would pay (I believe she stated 400 euros is the limit but I could be wrong). I am unsure as to the rules & regulations of immigration, and if this hinders her chances at a green card at all.
My initial plan was to include her in my field service business as a partner and 50% shareholder however I was told that wouldn't work, so my next idea was to hire her as a groom/caretaker for my horses. She has extensive knowledge of horses & their care, and I have plenty of jobs for her to do relating to both businesses but another question arose from that idea. In the equestrian world we have positions we offer called "working student" positions, where the person cares for & rides the horses in exchange for training & free room/board. She would be living with me, as I have a large guest house available to her, and with the pension she's already receiving, there's more than enough for her to live off of since we'd be splitting the basic costs of living. Is it possible to hire someone under those terms, or must a salary be paid? My main issue is appeasing both parties (Finland and the US). I don't want to cause trouble with her pension, but I also don't want the US denying her a green card because she doesn't make enough money. So can I sponsor her for employment under the conditions of a working student (free room/board)? Or if I have to pay a salary, how much should I offer to appease both countries? She is coming to the States in November for the holidays, and then we are returning to Finland in February to get her visa, then coming back to the US and would like to begin the filing process immediately upon our return. So if anyone has any suggestions as to what course of action to take, I'd be very thankful.