The EB-5 program, a plan designed to grant EB-5 visas or temporary residency status, to foreign investors was thought to be a great initiative to boost the economy and create employment for Americans. The program requires that foreign investors provide a minimum of $500,000 in American business situated in places of high unemployment and little economic vitality. Additionally, the business venture would produce at least 10 new jobs over the course of two years.
Met with much skepticism at first by industry moguls, many thought that at best it would be a minor source of financing for developments that were both questionable and had no other means of financing. Today, the program is met with much more avid participation by investors as it has proven to be an inexpensive and viable means of substantial financing. In fact, this year alone the government has issued more than 3,000 temporary visas, a considerable jump from only 640, four years ago.
Moreover, according to a recent article posted by the New York Times, industry players like the Marriot Hotel have been paving the way towards more credibility behind the program, as they have been able to endorse 14 major development projects using EB-5 financing with financial commitments of over $165 million.
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.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a caution on June 4, 2019, stating that H-1B petitions will be rejected if they fail to include names and addresses on Part 1 of Form I-129. Specifically, applicants are cautioned not to list outside counsel, clients, or other third parties, in such fields requesting the names and addresses of the petitioning U.S. employer. This measure, which goes into effect starting August 5, 2019, comes as part of the current administration’s moves to raise barriers to entry for the H-1B category overall.