Immigrant entrepreneurs and investors have always been at the core of the American economy. Immigrant-founded companies have generated billions of dollars in revenues and contributed intellectual property leading to significant socio-economic advancements within the United States. Foreign-born entrepreneurs are a critical component to the advancement of the U.S. emerging technology space and it is important to note the variety of visa options available. This initial post will provide an overview of the nonimmigrant and immigrant visa options available to entrepreneurs and investors in the emerging tech space with future posts focusing on the visa specifics. Continue Reading
On Dec. 5, 2014, USCIS’ Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) hosted a stakeholder engagement to discuss the state of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, including current trends. A summary of the engagement’s most salient themes was posted on the EB-5 Insights blog. The agency made an executive summary available to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) this week, which can be accessed here. Over 700 stakeholders participated in the engagement, in which subject matter experts from IPO provided EB-5 program updates from Fiscal Year 2014 and discussed initiatives for Fiscal Year 2015.
As we previously remarked, EB-5 filings constituted over $5 billion in potential EB-5 investment funds for FY 2014. These large capital injections into our economy spur domestic growth and job creation for U.S. workers, which is why the EB-5 community and certain congresspersons have been so vocal about its reauthorization on a permanent basis. Continue Reading
EB-5 has been alive for 25 years. As part of the program’s silver anniversary celebration, we should be working diligently towards making the Regional Center program permanent. This is not just a wish, but a distinct possibility with the right efforts made by the stakeholders.
The Regional Center program has grown much more popular in recent years. It has attracted the majority of EB-5 capital and aided in the most job creation in the history of EB-5. The Regional Center program has remained a pilot program subject to renewal every three years, and it is scheduled to expire Sept. 30, 2015.
The regional center program has been extended every three years since 1993.
While the program has come under political attack in recent months with a few members of Congress intimating that it should expire or be revamped, the EB-5 Coalition, a broad-based group of trade associations and stakeholders, believes this opinion is misplaced as a result of a small number of bad actors in the EB-5 space.
The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Report regarding the “Investigation into Employee Complaints about Management of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ EB-5 Program” was released March 24, 2015. This report follows a long investigation and inquiries by several congressional offices about the appropriateness of the communications between certain stakeholders in the EB-5 program and upper management at USCIS. Although the report does highlight communications that have been deemed inappropriate by members of the immigration bar and stakeholder community, it doesn’t make substantive recommendations or criticisms about the program itself.
It is incumbent upon us all to work within existing processes and procedures as we advocate for important reforms. Please see Greenberg Traurig’s EB-5 Insights blog post about appropriate ways to request expedited review for pending cases.
We hope this serves as an important lesson to the community as a whole.
The EB-5 program is currently at risk of expiring Sept. 30, 2015. Congress needs to act immediately to reauthorize this program which has a proven record for stimulating the economy and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. On March 23, 2015, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) released a statement explaining the merits of the EB-5 program and the reasons why this program should not be further delayed in partisan debate.
On Jan. 28, 2015, Congressmen Jared Polis and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced The American Entrepreneurship & Investment Act of 2015 [HR 616] in a push to permanently authorize the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program. The bill has received strong support from the real estate, business, and tourism industries, also evidenced by the EB-5 Coalition’s final letter supporting HR 616 released earlier this month. The legislation makes the following proposals: Continue Reading
Each month, the Department of State (DOS) issues a visa bulletin which contains information regarding the availability of immigrant visas. The availability of immigrant visas is subject to numerical caps imposed by Congress, which limit how many foreign nationals may obtain immigrant visas each year. In the employment based green card category Congress allots 140,000 immigrant visas (green cards) to be issued annually. The employment-based categories are subdivided into five preference categories:
- EB-1: Priority Workers (Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, and Multinational Managers or Executives)
- EB-2: Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
- EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers
- EB-4: Certain Special Immigrants including Religious Workers
- EB-5: Immigrant Investors
No one country in each of the five categories is allowed to exceed more than 7 percent of the category per the requirement of 8 U.S. Code § 1153.
- EB-1: 优先工作者（特别杰出的能力，优秀的教授和研究人员，跨国公
- 司经理或高 管）
- EB-2: 拥有高等学历的专业人员和有特殊能力的人才
- EB-3: 技术工人，专业人员，以及非技术工人
- EB-4: 一些特殊移民包括宗教工作者
- EB-5: 投资移民
As many of you are aware, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center pilot program is scheduled to expire in September. In early February 2015, Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced the American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2015. The bill would update and permanently authorize the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa program. In February 2015, a copy of the sign-on letter was circulated by the Real Estate Roundtable and the EB-5 Coalition. Earlier today, the EB-5 Coalition released the final coalition letter from real estate groups and EB-5 regional centers supporting H.R. 616, American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act.
Greenberg Traurig’s EB-5 team attended the 2015 Invest in America Summit events in Shanghai from March 14-16 to kick off the largest U.S.-themed investment conference and exhibition in China. In celebration of the event’s fifth anniversary, the Summit will travel to three Chinese cities: Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing.
Invest in America welcomed U.S. investment projects, regional centers, real estate brokerage firms, franchises, private equity and venture capital companies, financial services, attorneys, CPAs, international trade agencies, government officials, and colleges to participate in exhibitions and presentations. The Summit provided information to investors and business executives who were eager to learn more about investment and business opportunities in the United States.
Fact: The EB-5 program is a highly regulated employment-based permanent residence application that takes years to complete. The initial application requires detailed proof of investment in a qualified project. It also requires evidence of an investment of either 1 million USD or 500,000 USD and the creation of 10 jobs for U.S. workers. The investor’s application is screened and, if approved, only a “conditional green card” is granted. The same in-depth review of the project and the investor’s background are conducted two years after conditional status is granted to ensure the individual’s continued eligibility for the EB-5 immigrant investor category.
Myth 2: Loophole for Criminals/Terrorists – The EB-5 program provides an easier way for potential immigrants to go through background clearances, providing a loophole for potential criminals and terrorists.
Fact: As described above, the EB-5 program requires an investor’s record to be reviewed two times – once for a conditional green card and then again when obtaining a permanent green card. In addition to the normal screening process for other employment based permanent residence applicants, which is conducted twice for EB-5 applicants, the EB-5 applicant must have the project reviewed for compliance with regulatory requirements, including proving the requisite amount of investment and the requisite number of jobs to be created. Moreover, EB-5 applicants go through a rigorous vetting process to demonstrate that their source(s) of funds is(are) lawful and that those funds can legally be invested into qualified projects. Continue Reading