On June 3, 2015, Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Chuck Grassley of Iowa introduced Senate Bill S-1501. The proposed bill would reauthorize and reform, as well as extend the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Program by five years, from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2020. The reform most notably would raise the minimum investment amount required to $800,000 for Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) investments, and $1,200,000 for non-TEA investments. In addition, S-1501 would help create jobs, such that of the 10 jobs each investor must create only 90% may come from indirect job creation, only 30% of capital provided from non-EB5 sources can be counted towards indirect job creation, and at least 50% of the estimated indirect job creation must occur within the combined statistical area or metropolitan statistical area in which the TEA is located. Other notable changes in this bill include Regional Center compliance with all law, including increased annual reporting requirements, codified background checks for individuals, and maintenance of records. Each regional center sponsored investment must be pre-approved before filing I-526 petitions, and DHS will certify TEA’s without input from any other state or the federal government valid for 2 years.
USCIS has announced the formal implementation of the new rule which requires H-1B petitioners to pre-register electronically in order to be eligible to file a petition for the immigration fiscal year which commences October 01, 2020. The earliest date for filing H-1B petitions in April 01, 2020, however the pre-registration period commences March 01, 2020.
This month, our law firm, together with Co-Counsel Louis A Gordon, won a major victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case impacts many immigrants who have suffered from bad or ineffective advice from prior Counsel. The Court in its published decision, Flores v Barr, overturned a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling which denied our client, the Petitioner, the opportunity to have his case reopened because of ineffective assistance of his prior immigration lawyer.
Investors and EB5 industry professionals have been anxiously waiting for the publication of a final regulation regarding the EB5 Program. USCIS has now published the final regulation which modifies the proposed rule which was announced in February this year.
New Zealand citizens can now obtain E-1 and E-2 treaty trader and investor visas to work in the U.S. These categories, which allow up to 2 years’ renewable stay, are determined by trade treaties secured between the U.S. and the foreign country or by Congressional legislation.
Citizens of New Zealand who are already inside the U.S. may file Form I-129 to change status – a spouse or child of such an applicant should file Form I-539 to change status to match the E-category applicant.
The latest Visa Bulletin, published by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) earlier this month, confirms industry predictions of a waiting list for Indian-born EB-5 investors. Starting in July 2019, EB-5 visas will be available only to those Indian-born investors who filed their petitions before 05/01/2017. This cut-off date creates a waiting list of approximately two years, which is significantly shorter than the waiting list currently facing mainland Chinese-born investors, which currently stretches back to 10/01/2014.
Starting June 10, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will resume Premium Processing for all remaining H-1B petitions. This completes a trial arrangement whereby USCIS allowed limited Premium Processing starting May 20 for H-1B petitions with a Change of Status. The approach was introduced after recent years eliminated Premium Processing altogether, resulting in lengthy delays, with some H-1B petitions remaining under adjudication even after the usual annual start date of October 1.