By a vote of 235-193, the House passed H.J. Res 123, the Continuing Appropriations Act.
Upon passage, H.J.Res 123 was sent immediately to the Senate, where it passed by a vote of 81-14. The Bill now goes to the president wherein he is expected to sign it into law.
Today’s action extends government operations and programs until Dec. 22, including vital immigration programs such as EB-5, Conrad 30, E-Verify, and Religious Workers.
On Dec. 4, 2017, the Supreme Court issued an order allowing President Trump’s Proclamation on Travel Ban to go fully into effect. With certain exceptions, this ban places entry restriction on nationals of eight countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. As previously reported, in September a U.S. District Judge in Hawaii blocked the Proclamation from taking effect, except for nationals of North Korea and Venezuela. On Nov. 13, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily put part of the lower court’s ruling on hold, allowing the Proclamation to take effect, but only for those individuals from the impacted countries who do not have bona fide ties to the United States.
A Continuing Resolution (CR) has been filed as of last Saturday, Dec. 3, 2017, to serve as a vehicle to extend government operations through Dec. 22, 2017, thus preventing a government shutdown. The CR may be voted on as early as Wednesday or Thursday of this week. There is also talk of doing another short-term continuing resolution into January of 2018, but that is the subject of ongoing negotiations. If signed, the new CR will extend the EB-5 program as-is until Dec. 22, 2017. We will provide an update as soon as the CR has passed and been signed.
For more information on Continuing Resolution, click here.
Kate Kalmykov recently presented at the EB-5 Conference with the USCIS Investor Program Office (IPO) hosted by The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute – Baruch College. Kalmykov’s panel addressed a hot topic for attendees on the EB-5 program, including redeployment of funds, visa backlogs, and the future of the EB-5 program under the Trump Administration. Thanks to the comments of Kate Kalmykov and her panel, Julia Harrison of the USCIS IPO stated that USCIS had heard the issues relating to bridge financing and that they would be re-visiting their policy.
We previously reported on the disturbing Request for Evidence (RFE) trend where investors and their attorneys were not receiving RFEs in the mail even though the case status showed that one was issued. We are now reporting on another trend, this time in the substance of the RFEs and the results from submitting responses, specifically to the RFEs that request additional evidence from third-party money exchangers.
On Nov. 7, 2017, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) held an EB-5 stakeholder program at their New York City field office. GT attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Kristen Ng attended the in-person session. During the engagement, key members of the IPO addressed: 1) updates from the IPO; 2) priorities for FY 2018; and 3) stakeholder questions from both the phone and the live audience. Below is a summary of the engagement:
The U.S. Mission in Turkey has resumed limited processing of nonimmigrant visas following the earlier suspension of nonimmigrant visa services in all U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey back on Oct. 8, 2017. The U.S. Mission in Turkey will process nonimmigrant visas on a limited basis with a reduced number of appointments in both Ankara and Istanbul. Applicants with previously canceled visa appointments may access the internet-based appointment system to select any open date to schedule a new visa appointment. Please contact your GT attorney for more information on options for visa appointments in Turkey. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor this matter.
For more information on visa services in Turkey, please click here.
Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Jennifer Hermansky will participate as presenters at the 2017 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) EB-5 Investors Summit, Dec. 8-9, 2017, in Las Vegas. Kalmykov’s panel “Regional Center Investments: Understanding The Deal And The Capital Stack,” will address the Regional Center and NCE roles, differences between loan and equity project models, and capital stack and escrow structures. Hermansky’s panel “Navigating The Requirements And Challenges In The I-829 Removal Of Conditions Process,” will discuss I-829s including the legal framework and components, challenges, and concerns, I-829 investor interviews and site visits, denials, and proposed legislative and regulatory changes to I-829 requirements. The summit will provide vital insights on the state of proposed policy shifts and the EB-5 regional center program.
To join the AILA Summit in Las Vegas, Dec. 8–9, register here. This year’s multidisciplinary faculty features a cross-section of EB-5 experts: government officials; economists; immigration, business, and corporate attorneys; and more.
Investors and their attorneys alike have taken note of a disturbing trend recently: when USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE), it is oftentimes not received by either party. Typically, RFEs are mailed in hard copy, and a copy is mailed to the Investor, and a second copy is mailed to the attorney of record. In almost all cases with I-526 RFEs, the Investor is given 87 days to respond if he or she resides in the United States, and 98 days to respond if he or she resides outside of the United States. Recently, upon checking the status of a case using the USCIS online portal, the Investor and/or attorney will find that “A Request for Additional Evidence Has Been Mailed,” on a specific date; however, frequently the RFE is never received by either party, including the attorney of record that should receive a copy of all communications from USCIS. Common protocol is to follow up with USCIS via email, but some have experienced 1) unresponsiveness from USCIS, sometimes taking a several weeks to respond; and 2) the officer responding is unwilling to attach the RFE to the email correspondence without proof the RFE was not delivered, a standard which is impossible to prove given that USCIS mails the RFEs via U.S. Postal Service with no delivery tracking.
Out of thousands of blogs, GT’s very own EB-5 Insights immigration blog has been nominated for inclusion in the Expert Institute’s Third Annual Best Legal Blog Contest in the AmLaw category. Now, it’s up to the readers to vote. To cast your vote please click the link below!