H-1B Visa Program: Upcoming Deadline and Info You Need to Know

One of the most desirable visa programs, and the one perhaps most familiar to both foreigners and U.S. citizens, is the H-1B visa. This is often referred to as the “work visa” because it is utilized by those brought into the U.S. as employees for companies in specialty fields. In order to come into the U.S. under an H-1B visa, the applicant must have been offered a position in a qualifying occupation. The specialty job offered must require at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). The offered wage must be at the prevailing wage for that occupation in its given location. Our immigration attorneys can assist you by advising on obtaining the prevailing wage rate as well as evaluating the offered position to see if it qualifies as a specialty occupation.

 

These occupations are primarily in technical and professional employment fields, such as information technology, finance, banking, teaching, engineering, and business. The applicant must show that they have the appropriate credentials for such a position as well as employer sponsorship. There are many hoops to jump through in order to obtain approval, and the paperwork can be technical. There is also a yearly deadline for applications. This year, the H-1B visa petition must be submitted no later than March 31, 2018 in order to arrive at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ offices on April 2, 2018, the first day of H-1B petitions being accepted.

 

Each year the number of applications approved through the H-1B visa program is capped, although there is some flexibility. For instance, this year the cap is 65,000, however, certain applicants can also apply for one of the additional 20,000 application spots that are only available to international students who have graduated from a U.S. school with an master’s degree or higher. In addition, the H-1B cap does not apply to certain applicants sponsored by non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and government research organizations.

 

Business immigration programs are a valuable way for the U.S. to get skilled workers while qualified foreigners obtain a legal way to live in the U.S. The H-1B visa program is especially desirable because it also offers a path to permanent residency, and the applicants are allowed to have a “dual intent.” This “dual intent” means that an applicant will not be screened for and denied a visa if they exhibit an intent to stay in the U.S. and become a permanent resident. They may also bring their family (spouse and unmarried children under age 21). In contrast, non- “dual intent” visas may not allow applicants to come into the U.S. for a temporary period of time and then decide that they want to stay permanently.

 

David Hirson & Partners, LLP, is an experienced business immigration law firm assisting clients in obtaining a wide variety of visas, including the H-1B visa. Contact us today for help with your application process.

 

 

Telephone: (949) 383-5358      Email: info@hirson.com      Website: www.hirson.com

EB-5 Program extended through September 2018

EB-5 Regional Center Program Faces Another Extension Through September 30, 2018

EB-5 industry groups announced today that the EB-5 Regional Center Program will be granted another extension (with no program changes) through September 30, 2018. This decision comes after weeks of negotiations over proposed program changes not reaching a consensus.

Some of the proposed changes that were being negotiated include:

  • Increasing the minimum investment amount from $1,000,000 to $1,025,000 for normal investment projects and from $500,000 to $925,000 for projects located in certain high-unemployment or rural areas or for certain infrastructure projects.
  • Increasing the job creation requirement from 10 full-time permanent jobs per EB-5 investor to 12 full-time permanent jobs per EB-5 investor in a normal investment project, or decreasing the job creation requirement to 9 full-time permanent jobs per EB-5 investor in a project that meets certain criteria such as being located in a rural area, high unemployment area, or in a closed military base.
  • A certain number of EB-5 visas being set-aside/reserved each year for projects that meet certain specifications (i.e. located in a rural or high unemployment area).
  • Increased reporting requirements for EB-5 Regional Centers (along with more annual fees to help fund increased integrity measures/programs).

These and other proposed changes are now being postponed until the end of the government’s fiscal year (September 30, 2018). There are already more rumors that another extension will simply follow this extension because of the fall elections this year. David Hirson & Partners, LLP is closely following all EB-5-related legislation and will let you know of more changes to the program when they occur.

Our experienced EB-5 team at David Hirson & Partners, LLP can help you apply for your EB-5 visa or help with your EB-5 project. Contact us today for help and advice regarding your EB-5 needs.

 

Telephone: (949) 383-5358     Email: info@hirson.com         Website: www.hirson.com

Variables Affect EB-5 Wait Times

Variables That May Affect EB-5 Wait Times

There are two overarching questions when it comes to EB-5 immigration: time and money. The money necessary to secure an EB-5 visa is relatively easy to predict. It depends, of course, upon whether the individual applicant is investing under the current normal minimum of $1,000,000, or investing into a Targeted Employment Area, in which case the minimum investment is currently reduced to $500,000. A much more difficult calculation is the one relating to the wait time to obtain an EB-5 immigration visa. Here are some of the more notable variables affecting wait times.

 

Country of Origin

 

The applicant’s country of origin can have a significant effect on the wait time between initial application and conditional permanent residency. Mainland Chinese-born applicants are overrepresented in the EB-5 program. As a result, there is a per-country limit that causes current estimated wait times for 2017 and 2018 mainland Chinese-born applicants to soar to 9+ years. Just a few years ago, in 2014, the anticipated wait time was around a third of that. Applicants from countries that have not reached the per-country cap have the chance to jump ahead of Chinese applicants. This can significantly reduce their own wait time, but consequentially increase those of Chinese applicants.

 

Annual Quota on EB-5 Visas

 

Another factor to consider is the annual quota on the number of available visas. The current annual allotment is 10,000 EB-5 visas, with some years issuing slightly under that amount and some years slightly more. There has been congressional talk to reduce the annual quota, which would extend current wait times for applicants from all countries, but especially for Chinese applicants. However, should the quota rise in the future, it has the potential to bump up wait times for all applicants. Even a 10% ceiling raise might notably decrease the wait.

 

USCIS Processing

 

However, another major constraint is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) capacity to process petitions. Even if the quota were to rise in years to come, we might still experience a bottleneck in the overall process due to USCIS capacity to get applicants through the I-526 adjudication and other processing steps. The limited capacity of USCIS to move applicants through the system is the third major variable to the EB-5 immigration timetable. USCIS has taken steps over the past two years to address this bottleneck with promising results.

 

Having an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer on your side is an important and invaluable asset when navigating the EB-5 immigration process. Contact David Hirson & Partners, LLP today for help with your EB-5 immigration process.

 

Telephone: (949) 383-5358       Email: info@hirson.com       Website: www.hirson.com

 

eb5 direct vs regional center investment

EB-5 Financing: Direct Investment vs. Regional Center Investment

The EB-5 Visa program is a tried-and-true method of U.S. job creation that enables foreigners to seek a green card while investing significant funds into U.S. enterprises. Foreign nationals from many countries, but most particularly China and India, pursue the EB-5 path to U.S. residency. An increasing number of U.S. businesses rely upon EB-5 money to fund projects which create jobs for U.S. workers here at home.

 

The minimum investment for EB-5 immigration is currently either $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending upon whether the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). If the area is designated as a TEA, that means it is either rural or experiencing an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average. Regardless of whether someone seeking an EB-5 immigration path chooses to invest into a TEA, there are two main ways that they can invest their funds: direct investment or investment through an EB-5 regional center. Either way requires the foreign investor to create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs, however, the methodology for counting created jobs is quite different depending upon the method of investment.

 

Direct EB-5 Investment

 

The first method is through direct investment. An example of a direct investment project could be an investor choosing to open a small hotel that will employ at least 10 people full-time. Unless the proposed hotel is located in a TEA, there is a minimum $1,000,000 investment requirement and the investor must clearly show that there is direct job creation of no less than 10 full-time positions to work at the hotel. Examples of direct job creation in this scenario would be a full-time manager, concierge, or maid. Under many circumstances, the minimum investment requirement does not feasibly create 10 jobs. The job creation requirement becomes particularly difficult when the minimum investment amount is lowered because the project is located in a TEA.

 

EB-5 Regional Center Investment

 

The second EB-5 investment method allows investors to invest in a qualifying project through an EB-5 Regional Center. By investing through a regional center, EB-5 investors can pool together funds into a single project and also be allowed to count indirect and induced job creation toward their 10-job minimum. An indirect job example would be a job created at an equipment manufacturer that supplies parts to an EB-5 project. Induced jobs would be jobs created within the community based upon the project’s needs or upon income spent by employees of the project (those that have “direct jobs” and do their shopping in the community).

 

There are many variables and moving parts when it comes to the EB-5 immigration path to residency. The best thing that a potential investor into the EB-5 immigration program can do is to hire an experienced and qualified law firm, specializing in EB-5 Visas, to guide them through the process. Contact the experienced EB-5 lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today to discuss your options with us.

 

Telephone: (949) 383-5358      Email: info@hirson.com      Website: www.hirson.com