T&T-born United States immigration attorney, Nyasha Pendleton says it is important for artistes to invest in immigration counsel.
The former junior Carnival queen, who describes herself as an ardent mas-player, fete-goer and lover of culture, said she has seen many incidents with T&T artistes, particularly when they are in the US, which raises concerns about their knowledge of immigration protocols.
Pendleton, a graduate of Morgan State University, and the University of Maryland Francis King Corey School of Law, was named to Top 40 under-40, in Pennsylvania by the National Black Lawyers last year.
She was also listed in the 2021 and 2022 Best Lawyers: One to Watch recognition for Immigration Law and Labour and Employment Law: Employee, in Philadelphia, and an extraordinary ability visa as a scientist and a model immigration attorney.
She has been involved in immigration for 14 years, has been practising for six and has experience in various stages of litigation, including serving as a second chair at trials. She was described as a diligent advocate for her clients and a stickler for doing the right things.
As an immigrant herself, she says she easily and clearly understands what her clients are going through and what they need. She said attorneys should not just push paper but should educate and empower.
“One of my missions is to assist artistes to navigate the complex immigration landscape,” she said.
“Behind each application is a person or even an entire family, and my goal is to help them realise and enjoy their dream; their stay or purpose in the US to perform or otherwise. I’m quite familiar with requisite immigration-related documents, adept in legal writing skills and drafting position papers and support letters. Artistes will enjoy quality and competent legal representation before the US government, as it pertains to immigration law.
According to Pendleton, while an artiste’s initial approach might be for a business-related matter, such as a visa related to performing arts, assistance on other family-related matters, they can also explore other options, such as investment visas or even executive-level visas, especially if they own a company.
She said: “When I see clients happy that they can realise their immigration dream, grow and lawfully expand their business beyond T&T’s shores, it makes my day and sometimes my week!
“At times, immigration forms are incorrectly filled and the ramifications of such, can go far beyond just a visa denial. It may impact one’s ability to file for other types of visas, obtain a green card or citizenship, should those be future needs. Also, incarceration becomes imminent or necessary when immigration laws are breached or misinterpreted.
“Performing or existing in a country that is not your own, is a serious business that comes with calculating risk, thus, considering an immigration attorney as risk management is key.
“Artistes need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. More importantly, they need to know all their options.
“There are varying types of visas that may be useful to what they want to achieve in the US, so drawing from the old adage, don’t be caught ‘pennywise’ and ‘pound foolish’.”
Pendleton also advises that as artistes become more successful, begin to diversify their portfolios and become entrepreneurs, they learn other laws such as trademark, tax and contract.
“Artistes are actually brands and should be the first ones to understand the beauty and benefits of the brand. They should value it, and obtain the requisite education and assistance,” she explained.