David Hirson & Partners and Baker Tilly Capital: EB-5 and Foreign Wealth Management Seminar

A panel discussion for legal practitioners and service providers on navigating EB-5 program requirements and critical investment, tax and estate planning considerations for U.S. inbound clients.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

4 – 7 p.m.

Location: The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

404 S Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA 90071

Complimentary seminar

Note: CLE credit is pending approval.

 

With 10,000 green cards per year issued to participants in the U.S. EB-5 program, many immigrant investors are obtaining U.S. permanent residency. But before your client boards a plane and relocates to the U.S. there are critical investment, tax, estate and wealth planning considerations. Making informed decisions at the onset will protect your clients’ quality of life and that of their family members when they arrive in America.

Join Baker Tilly Capital and David Hirson & Partners for a valuable overview on investing through the EB-5 program and global mobility considerations for foreign nationals immigrating to the United States, as well as new green card holders.

Attendees will gain a thorough understanding of the continually changing EB-5 program and the many tax and personal financial planning challenges faced by foreign nationals immigrating to the U.S. The goal is to help advise high net-worth individuals on understanding the larger impact of their EB-5 investment and relocation decisions, and most importantly provide them with solutions to mitigate risk and improve success.

Discussion points to include:

  • EB-5 overview and legislative update
  • The role of the broker dealer in EB-5 transactions, complying with U.S. securities laws and the rules of professional ethics
  • Common NOIDs, RFEs, and adjudication trends
  • Overcoming investor hurdles (source of funds, money transfer, etc.)
  • New markets

This panel discussion is geared towards legal practitioners and service providers seeking to help make their high net-worth clients’ transition to the U.S. smoother and more economically advantageous.

Register for this event now.

Benefits of Using an L-1 Visa to Start/Grow Your Business in the U.S. [Infographic]

 

The L-1 visa program gives employers an avenue to grow their business in the U.S., either by expanding an existing U.S. office or establishing a new one. This program is aimed at high-level employees such as managers and specialists. There are two subcategories to the L-1 visa. The first is L-1A, which is designed for workers such as managers and executives of all types. The second is L-1B, which focuses on workers with specialized knowledge. When utilized properly, the L-1 visa can be an advantageous program for workers and employers.

 

 

Benefits to the Worker in the L-1 Visa Program

Unlike the annual caps placed on the H-1B program, which limits how many applications are approved each year, the L-1 visa does not have a congressional or statutory limit. While there are any number of reasons that an L-1 application can be rejected, including not following proper steps in the application process, at least there is no danger that an application will be rejected due to the sheer number of L-1 applications received so far that year.

Workers who come into the U.S. through the L-1 visa program can even bring their spouses and dependents. Not only that, but spouses of the L-1 visa holder can obtain Employment Authorization Documents allowing them to also work in the U.S. This increases household income and also household spending.

Benefits to the Employer in the L-1 Visa Program

Compared to other visa programs, the L-1 visa may have requirements that are easier to fulfill. If the U.S. company is already operating, no substantial investment by the employer is required, other than costs associated with the application itself and the continuing cost of paying the worker’s salary. Many workers who cannot qualify for other programs can still qualify for the L-1 visa.

If the employer does not currently have a U.S.-based office of operations, the L-1 visa program can be utilized to establish one. An experienced L-1 visa attorney can explain the restrictions on using the L-1 visa program in this way, but when used correctly it can be extremely advantageous to the business owner. The experienced corporate immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP can advise you on starting your U.S.-based operations in connection with and L-1 visa.

If you have questions or concerns on utilizing the L-1 visa program, call David Hirson & Partners, LLP, an experienced business immigration law firm. We regularly assist clients in obtaining business visas of all types for themselves and their employees. Contact us today for help with your application process.

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

Fast Facts on the E Treaty Visas Program

The E Treaty Visas program is one of the most popular ways for foreign nationals of countries that have trade treaties with the U.S. to come live and work in the U.S. Some of the countries whose citizens qualify for E Treaty Visas include: Argentina, Canada, Finland, Germany, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Austria. All of these countries, and others, have maintained treaties with the U.S. promising mutual trade and investment.

What are the E Treaty Visas?

E Treaty Visas are non-immigrant visas. This means that it allows the holder to enter the U.S. legally and work for their designated employer, but it does not put the holder on the path to legal permanent residency and U.S. citizenship. In addition, the holder must be a citizen of a qualifying treaty country.

There are two E Visas: the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Generally speaking, the E-1 Visa is for foreign employees of foreign companies that engage in substantial trade principally between the U.S. and the foreign-owned company’s treaty country. The E-2 Visa is for foreign nationals who invest a substantial amount of capital in return for at least 50% ownership or operational control into an operating company in the U.S.

What are the necessary employee qualifications under the E Visa?

Proposed foreign employees must meet certain criteria. For starters, the employee must originate from the same home country as their employer. In addition, they must fall either into the category of manager/executive or that of an employee with specialized skills.

How long does an E Visa stay last?

It is important to note that an E Treaty Visa applicant has two avenues through which to apply: 1) U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (“USCIS”) and 2) the U.S. embassy in a foreign treaty nation. The duration of an E Visa depends on which application avenue is used and the reciprocity agreement between the U.S. and the foreign nation. Luckily, unlimited multi-year extensions are available under this program.

Must an employee under the E Visa stay within the U.S.?

There are no travel restrictions under the E Visa program, which means that the employee can visit their home country as often as they like and still come back into the U.S. – as long as they maintain their good status in the program.

Who can enter the U.S. with the applicant?

One of the best aspects of the E Visa program is that the employee can bring family members with them to the U.S. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age can be brought along, and can potentially work in the U.S. themselves.

Applying for the E Visa program involves many moving parts, and to assure your best chance of success, you should have an experienced immigration lawyer on your side. Call the E Visa lawyers at David Hirson & Partners today to discuss your options with us.

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

EB-5 Retrogression and Vietnam: Answers to the Most Frequent Questions

 This post is created to answer the following:

  1. What is EB-5 retrogression?
  2. What will happen at the end of the fiscal year to visas that have not been used and how will they be allocated to the “oversubscribed” nations such as China and Vietnam?
  3. How long will retrogression for Vietnam last and why is July 22, 2014 the cut-off date?
  4. What is the impact of retrogression on children who are close to turning 21 at the time of I-526 filing?

Each question is answered, in order, below:

 

  1. General EB-5 Retrogression

Visa Allocation

10,000 visas are allocated annually for the EB-5 category and applicants from all countries are treated equally until it appears that the entire annual allocation will be used up during the fiscal year. When this happens, applicants from countries that use more than seven percent (7%) of the worldwide total (also known as “oversubscribing countries”) must wait for a future year’s allocation to be available before they can obtain a green card.

 

7% Cap

This does not mean that 7% of visas are set aside annually for each country in the world. Nor does this mean that any single country has only 7% of allocated visas annually. All this means is that any one country’s allocation is capped at 7% so long as other countries are taking up available visas. When other countries are not competing, then any visas that are “unused” are allocated to the waiting line in a first in first out (“FIFO”) order exclusive of per-country limits.

 

Exceeding the 7% Cap

When more than one country exceeds the 7% cap, then the oversubscribed countries are issued cut-off dates designed to let applications from not-oversubscribed countries proceed first. Once qualified applications from other countries have been accommodated, then simple FIFO order is instituted, i.e. oldest priority dates get the first visas until all visas for the year are taken, China being the biggest benefactor.

 

  1. Allocation of Unused Visas for Vietnam

Currently, China is at the head of the line for leftover visas, since it has been held back for years and thus applicants from China have the oldest applications on file. Applicants from Vietnam will now find themselves behind longer-pending Chinese applicants as per the FIFO rule discussed above.

 

Given the situation that Vietnamese applicants are not faced with, the positive is that Vietnam will at least receive 7% of visa allocations a year when they need it and likely will not exceed that cap by very much. If an applicant from Vietnam is held back this year, then he or she will be one of the older Vietnamese applications next year and therefore in a favorable position to receive one of the 700 new visas available to Vietnam at that point. Vietnamese applicants will not necessarily be able to rely on receiving a visa left over from the rest of the world, since thousands of Chinese applicants have earlier claim on any leftover visas.

 

  1. July 22, 2014 Cut-Off Date

As of the May 2018 Visa Bulletin, only Vietnamese EB-5 applicants who filed before July 22, 2014 will be eligible to receive an EB-5 immigrant visa. Please see below:

 

The Department of State, who is responsible for establishing cut-off dates, does not release how priority dates/cut-off dates are calculated or even when and how the priority date will shift. Each month, we check the visa bulletin to check and see if dates are progressed, however, until then, we are working with EB-5 priority date of July 22, 2014 for Vietnamese applicants.

 

  1. Impact on Children Reaching 21

As you are aware, once a child reaches the age of 21, he or she is no longer eligible for immigration benefits based on their relationship to the primary parent applicant. This is known as “aging out.” For applicants whose children are close to aging out, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) provides relief in some cases, but not in all.

 

CSPA

CSPA was created by the U.S. Congress to prevent children from aging out during the USCIS petition approval process. This Act, freezes a child’s age on the date the I-526 is filed through the date the petition is approved. The law allows the child to deduct the time the petition took to be adjudicated from his or her actual age, which allows the child to remain under the age of 21 at the time of applying for an immigrant visa abroad or filing for adjustment of status in the U.S. Once the I-526 petition is approved, the child’s age unfreezes and he or she must seek to acquire permanent residence within one (1) year of a visa becoming available.

 

Effect of Retrogression

However, when EB-5 retrogresses for a country such as Vietnam, protecting under CSPA becomes more complicated. If the period of retrogression is less than the period of USCIS I-526 adjudication, a child who has turned 21 will likely still be able to immigrate with his or her parent. However, if the visa cut-off date is too far back, the child may still “age out” even after using CSPA to reduce the child’s age. An analysis of CSPA will need to be conducted on a case by case basis at the time of filing Form I-526.

 

Please note, this post is created solely as general information. You should consult a licensed attorney for legal advice to determine the best course of action for your situation. The experienced EB-5 attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP are available to help you.

 

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

 

The Final Step in EB-5: Getting Your Form I-829 Petition Approved

The last step for investors in the timeline is getting their I-829 petition approved. This involves a fair amount of work and organization, since the petition must show that all requirements of the EB-5 visa, including job creation and project’s progress towards completion, have been met. However, once these milestones are met, an EB-5 visa petitioner can finally be on their way to legal residency and, eventually, U.S. citizenship in the future.

 

Luckily, EB-5 regional centers help with putting together the necessary compliance documents for I-829 approval. In addition, working with an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer is crucial to making sure that every step of the immigration process and each document is done in the right order to ensure maximum chance of I-829 approval.

 

Job Creation Requirements

One of the most crucial aspects of the I-829 approval process is proving that the required 10 full-time jobs per investor were created during the proper timeframe. The EB-5 regional center and investors, along with their EB-5 immigration attorneys should review the economic analysis first submitted to USCIS in the I-526 petition and compare that to how the project was completed. Were all of the project’s funds spent in the same economic input categories as originally contemplated? If there were significant differences between the original project plans (and associated economic analysis inputs), the involved parties should consider obtaining a revised or new economic impact analysis. This could have an impact on the number of jobs created by the project and jobs credited towards and EB-5 investor’s job creation requirement.

 

Timing

An EB-5 investor has a specific window of time in which to file his or her I-829 petition. This petition and all necessary evidence must be submitted between the day the two-year conditional permanent status in the U.S. expires and 90 days prior to that date. An EB-5 lawyer should be involved with preparing to file the I-829 petition some time before the 90-day window starts. The experienced EB-5 attorney knows how to evaluate economic analyses and other necessary documents prior to submission.

 

Whether you are nearing your I-829 application, or you still have some time before your conditional permanent residency ends, consider a call to David Hirson & Partners, LLP. We are an experienced EB-5 immigration law firm focused on the needs of investors in this and many other visa programs. Contact us today for help with your application process.

 

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

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

Tips to Ensure a Smooth Immigration Process

Relocation to a new country is exciting, but also challenging. The immigration process to the U.S. in particular is not always an easy one. However, there are many preventive measures that can be taken which increase the odds that any given immigration will go smoothly. David Hirson & Partners, your Los Angeles EB-5 visa lawyers, can offer several tips for those seeking to enter or remain in the U.S. under any program.

Tips to make the immigration process smoother

 

Prepare for delays

It is well-known that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is very backed up and takes a long time to process applications. Those needing to submit an immigrant application should submit ahead of time for any deadline. Do not wait until the last minute to turn in paperwork – those that have an expired legal status can be arrested or deported.

Explore various visa options

Sometimes, immigrants have several paths to citizenship available to them. The EB-5 visa is available to those who meet specific investor requirements. Other visa programs can be pursued if the investor’s family members are currently living as citizens in the U.S.

Follow program regulations

It is critical that the requirements for your visa, work permit, or green card application are thoroughly and correctly understood. Violating a seemingly small requirement can delay the processing of your visa, possible cancellation of your visa, or even deportation for you and/or your family members.

Hire a qualified law firm

The best tip is to hire an experienced lawyer to help you with the process. Trying a “do it yourself” approach often ends with your visa being denied based upon technical issues, such as lost paperwork or missing minor documentation. Working with the skilled lawyers at David Hirson & Partners will maximize your chances of a smooth immigration process from start to finish.

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