鉴于EB-5签证排期倒退迫近，现在就优先日期以及I-526申请批准书上涉及的有关内容做些基本介绍，正是一个合适的时机。美国联邦法律规定，每个财政年度EB-5签证的可用额度上限为10，000 名额. EB-5投资人提交I-526申请后，其I-526申请被美国移民局（USCIS）接收的日期，视为EB-5投资人的“优先日期”。排期倒退是指，签证额度达到上限后，美国国务院（DOS）必须根据过去的优先日期，给签证申请人划定一个截止日期，从而产生的时间滞期。打个形象的比方，EB-5签证好比是排队，EB-5投资人的优先日期就是其在长队中的位置。 Continue Reading
As many of you are aware, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center pilot program is scheduled to expire in September. In recent years, there has been a surge in the use of EB-5 funds as an expanding layer in the capital stack to help finance real estate, infrastructure, and other development projects/businesses.
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. It is based largely on H.R. 4178 from last Congress. A summary of the bill – H.R. 616 – and a copy of the sign-on letter is being circulated by the Real Estate Roundtable and the EB-5 Coalition. Please let Laura Reiff or Jeff Campion know if you would like to sign-on to the letter.
Last week, Greenberg Traurig EB-5 attorney Kate Kalmykov presented to students at the University of Michigan on the topic of “Post-Graduate Immigration Options with a Focus on the USCIS EB-5 Visa Program.” The lecture attracted a number of foreign students interested in learning about the various non-immigrant visa and immigrant visa options – with a focus on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program – allowing them to remain in the United States post-graduation.
Program highlights included a discussion on options for transitioning from the F-1 visa to other non-immigrant work authorized visas including the H-1B, O-1, E-2 and L-1 visas. Additionally, Kate discussed the various employment-based immigrant visa categories including EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 and EB-5. Attendees learned about the various non-immigrant and immigrant visa categories from the student perspective.
On Feb. 18, 2015, USCIS released performance statistics on I-526 and I-829 EB-5 related petitions. The following charts provide the case status as broken down by petitions received, approved, denied, or pending from fiscal year 2008 through the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 (October through December 2014):
|USCIS statistics on I-526 EB-5 petitions for FY2008 – FY2015|
|2015 (First Quarter)||2,941||1,652||133||13,526|
USCIS updated its processing times for the Immigrant Investor Program Office on Feb. 11, 2015. Unfortunately, the news is not welcome. Processing times ticked up slightly to 14 months for I-526 Petitions, 11.4 months for I-829 Petitions and 11.1 months for I-924 Applications. The I-924 Application processing time has risen a full seven months from a low of four months in June 2014. However, I-526 Petition processing time has held relatively steady in the past six months, only oscillating from a low of 13.3 months in July 2014 to a high of 14.7 months in October 2014. The processing times can be accessed by anyone here.
The Department of State’s March Visa Bulletin announced only a few modest changes in employment-based visa processing. Most significantly, the EB-3 subcategory for professionals and skilled workers will advance by six months for “All Other Countries,” with priority dates moving up from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 1, 2014. This brings adjudications under this subcategory just shy of eight months of being current.
Additionally, Indian nationals seeking classification under the EB-2 preference category will rejoice at the 16-month advancement announced for March, moving from Sept. 1, 2005, up to Jan., 1, 2007. Even with this considerable jump, the government is still virtually experiencing a “delay” of eight years. Priority dates for Chinese nationals under EB-2, in comparison, only advanced six months to Sept. 1, 2010. Continue Reading
Greenberg Traurig’s EB-5 team will sponsor the 2015 Invest in America Summit and Exhibition, the largest USA-themed investment conference and exhibition in China, with attorney Kate Kalmykov serving as Summit Co-Chair. In celebration of the event’s fifth anniversary, the Summit will travel to three Chinese cities. Event dates and locations are:
- March 14 – 15th, 2015 | Shanghai, China | Main Event – BOOTHS ALMOST SOLD OUT!
- March 18, 2015 | Shenzhen, China – BOOTHS SOLD OUT!
- March 21, 2015 | Beijing, China – BOOTHS SOLD OUT!
Invest in America welcomes 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 also promises investors and business executives who are eager to learn more about investment and business opportunities in the United States.
Last week, Greenberg Traurig EB-5 attorney Ali Brodie and Franchise & Distribution attorneys David Oppenheim and Alan Greenfield, spoke in Houston, Texas, at the Franchise Expo South sponsored by the International Franchise Association.
Ali provided a seminar on the EB-5 investor program as a tool for franchise network expansion. She discussed how the EB-5 program affords unique alternative funding opportunities for franchise companies to raise capital and expand their franchise networks by working with EB-5 investors from around the world.
David and Alan provided a seminar on structuring for franchise network expansion. They explored common expansion models used for both domestic and international growth, with an overview of the legal considerations for choosing one structure over another.
The Franchise Expo South, a three day convention, offered the greatest comprehensive networking and educational experiences about franchising in the industry. The Expo attracted thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners interested in franchise opportunities. Attendees had occasion to meet with hundreds of franchise representatives and join innovative seminars taught by experts in the field.
Matt Galati, an associate in Greenberg Traurig’s Business Immigration & Compliance Practice, wrote an article for EB5 Investors regarding India loosening currency restrictions, making it easier for the EB-5 investment funds to be transferred out of the country. Read the full article here.
In the wake of recent cybersecurity breaches, the SEC and FINRA simultaneously issued reports this week to the securities industry summarizing cybersecurity examination findings and to investors recommending certain precautions to safeguard online investment information.
In its Risk Alert – Cybersecurity Examination Sweep Summary, the SEC describes the results from examinations of more than 100 broker-dealers and investment advisors, the relative split between the two being unspecified. Nevertheless, the findings reveal that the vast majority of broker-dealers and investment advisors have made cybersecurity a priority and implemented appropriate cybersecurity policies and programs. The findings also suggest that broker-dealers have more thorough cybersecurity policies and programs in place than investment advisors.