Greenberg Traurig EB-5 attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Laura Reiff were recently featured in the first edition of Immigration Times magazine*. The magazine is published in China and features industry expert articles, immigration Q & A, regional center success stories and more. The magazine exists to provide key updates on EB-5 regulations and policies, educate investors abroad about the EB-5 Program and provide a one-stop resource for investors to learn the new projects currently on the market.
*Note: This publication is in Chinese.
On September 9, 2014 the U.S. State Department (the State Department) issued the October 2014 Visa Bulletin which reflected the EB-5 visa category as “current” for mainland-born Chinese EB-5 investors. However, there is speculation and anticipation that the EB-5 visa for mainland-born Chinese EB-5 investors will become unavailable during the U.S. government’s 2014-2015 fiscal year (the U.S. government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30). If this occurs, there will be impacts felt throughout the EB-5 industry.
Doing Business in China: Strategies to Mitigate Corruption Risk
China continues to be a critical market for many U.S. companies, but conducting business in China or with Chinese companies while avoiding liability for corruption is increasingly difficult. Join Greenberg Traurig and Marsh Risk & Insurance Services for complimentary interactive seminars that will help you mitigate corruption risk when doing business in China. Discussion topics will include:
- Red flags U.S. companies should note when doing business in China or with Chinese companies
- How training, internal investigation and self-reporting can help you avoid, reduce or limit the risk of liability for corruption
- Effective anti-corruption best practices to monitor agents, distributors, consultants and vendors
- Insurance coverage
In order to demonstrate continued eligibility for the Regional Center designation, the Regional Center must file Form I-924A (Supplement to Form I-924A) and supporting documentation between September 30th and December 29th of the fiscal year. Thus, all Regional Centers who were designated on or before September 30, 2014, will need to submit their Form I-924As between October 1, 2014, and December 29, 2014. Without properly and timely filing the Form I-924A, USCIS may issue a Notice of Intent to Terminate (NOIIT) the Regional Center’s designation.
Pictured, left, is Greenberg Traurig shareholder Kate Kalmykov, and, right, associate Jennifer Hermansky, both speaking to conference attendees.
Greenberg Traurig EB-5 shareholder Kate Kalmykov and associate Jennifer Hermansky recently attended the Cityscape Global exposition in United Arab Emirates. Cityscape Global is the largest real estate conference in The Middle East and draws more than 280 exhibitors from 27 countries with thousands in attendance from the real estate industry. During the event, Greenberg Traurig attorneys met with investors from the countries throughout The Middle East, including The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, Pakistan, India and more with interest in the EB-5 program as an immigration option to the United States through investment.
Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Act) requires registration of any broker-dealer effecting securities transactions by means of interstate commerce unless an appropriate exemption is available. In order to register as a broker-dealer in the United States, an application for registration—called Form BD—must be made to the SEC and a self-regulatory organization (SRO), which, in most instances, will be the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Form BD asks questions about the background of the broker-dealer and its principals, controlling persons, employees, affiliates, parent entities and subsidiaries. The broker-dealer must meet the statutory requirements to engage in a business that involves high professional standards, and quite often includes the more rigorous responsibilities of a fiduciary. Form BD is filed on FINRA’s Central Registration Database, an online system designed by FINRA and the state regulators to centralize broker-dealer registration. Once filed, the SEC has 45 days to issue an order granting registration or institute a proceeding to determine whether registration should be denied. The SEC does not charge a fee for filing Form BD.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets in the United States.
FINRA is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization that acts as a self-regulatory organization (SRO). SROs were created by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to enforce certain industry standards and requirements related to securities trading and brokerage. FINRA is subject to the oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
FINRA licenses individuals and admits firms to the industry, writes rules to govern their behavior, examines them for regulatory compliance, and disciplines registered representatives and member firms that fail to comply with federal securities laws and FINRA’s rules and regulations. FINRA maintains the Central Registration Depository, a database of all registered individuals and firms. In addition, FINRA provides education and qualification examinations for securities industry professionals.
On September 9, 2014, USCIS held a stakeholder conference call for individuals interested in the EB-5 Program with John Lion, Julia Harrison and Nicolas Colucci. This was the first stakeholder conference call for the new deputy director of EB-5, Julia Harrison, who has had a long career with USCIS.
Mr. Colucci gave a run-down of recent developments with the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IIPO) in his opening remarks. The IIPO currently has 83 employees and expects to hire another 10-12 in October. The IIPO goal is to hire approximately 110 employees by the end of the calendar year 2014. USCIS is also working on an interagency symposium with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal banking regulators, and the Departments of Commerce and Labor to increase EB-5 Program awareness, share knowledge and solicit ideas from each other for regulatory changes. Mr. Colucci also discussed the anticipated creation of a new engagement tool known as “EB-5 Interactive,” which would increase engagement with stakeholders, provide filing tips and discuss commonly issued RFEs and how to avoid such RFEs. USCIS is also implementing the Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendation to partner with the Department of Commerce to conduct a study on the economic impact of the EB-5 Program. Mr. Colucci anticipates that study to release its findings in the summer of 2015.
The U.S. State Department (the “State Department”) issued good news for Chinese EB-5 investors today. The October 2014 Visa Bulletin reflected the EB-5 visa is current for mainland-born Chinese EB-5 investors. As we noted in August, the State Department made an announcement that as of August 23, 2014, EB-5 immigrant visa numbers for Chinese nationals in the EB-5 category would be unavailable through September 30, 2014. This is consistent with our prediction that new EB-5 immigrant visa numbers would become available at the beginning of the government’s next fiscal year on October 1, 2014.
As a follow-up to our webinar on September 3rd regarding potential legislative and administrative action on EB-5 and other immigration relief, the White House has decided to postpone any administrative action until after the November elections. As explained during our webinar, we did believe that such a delay could be precipitated by the political tensions between the parties and the upcoming elections. We will continue to watch the developments coming from the White House and will continue to advocate for much needed reforms to business immigration in general and for the EB-5 practice.