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

Finding a qualified eb-5 lawyer

What to Ask When Choosing an EB-5 Immigration Lawyer

Finding a highly qualified EB-5 immigration lawyer to assist you with your immigration journey is of utmost importance in ensuring that you and your family have the best possible chance for approval. However, there are many immigration attorneys out there who have started to take on EB-5 work without having the skills and experience to provide that chance. Considering the political climate of the U.S. government as we head into 2018, it’s more important than ever to choose an attorney who knows how to navigate the waters of EB-5 applications, including advising on projects and regional centers with proven track records. Here are three questions you should ask before hiring someone to help you obtain your EB-5 visa.

 

  1. What are your I-526 and I-829 approval rates?

 

This information, when provided honestly and accurately by a lawyer, is very valuable for potential investors. It is an insight into the end result that you are hoping to achieve yourself. Track records of approvals should be a material factor in making your decision of which firm, and which lawyer, to trust. If the EB-5 immigration lawyer you are talking with cannot or will not provide their approval rates, it’s time to find someone who will. (Please note that while past success does not guarantee future success, past success does enhance the possibility of future success.)

 

  1. What is your approach to proving source of funds?

 

The source of an applicant’s investment funds is one of the primary issues to be addressed with an EB-5 applicant. Tripping up in this area is a major reason for denial of an application. (If you use a third-party service provider in your home country, be sure to also ask them about their success rates.) Sourcing funds requires a knowledge of U.S. laws and also some familiarity with the applicant’s home country. Which leads us to our third question…

 

  1. What experience do you have with applicants from my country?

 

Every EB-5 application is different, and so is every EB-5 applicant. However, some things about the process can be generalized based upon the home country of the applicant, and it’s crucial that the chosen EB-5 immigration lawyer has proven experience with the applicant’s country. Ask your EB-5 lawyer how many applications they have processed from your country, and how many of those have been successful. If they have never worked with an applicant from your country before, don’t let yourself be the first test case!

 

Find an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer who knows the ins and outs, including how the tax laws of your country affect sourcing of funds in your application. 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

EB-5 Regional Center Program Extended Until February 8, 2018

EB-5 Regional Center Program Extended Until February 8, 2018

On January 22, 2018, President Trump signed a bill into law which extended Continuing Appropriations for federal government services to February 8, 2018. Congress and the President agreed on this bill to allow the U.S. government to start full operations after shutting down for three days. This action also extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program (with no changes) until February 8, 2018. Also extended were the Conrad 30, E-Verify, and Religious Workers immigration programs.

If you have any questions about how this extension will affect your EB-5 immigration plans or EB-5 Regional Center operations, please contact our experienced team of EB-5 professionals who will provide you with the best possible advice.

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

David Hirson & Nima Korpivaara Recognized by Eb5 Investors Magazine

David Hirson and Nima Korpivaara of David Hirson & Partners, LLP Recognized Again as Two of the Top Twenty-Five Immigration Attorneys by

Eb5 Investors Magazine

Hirson and partners recognized by eb-5 magazine top 25

Both Mr. David Hirson and Mr. Nima Korpivaara were again recognized as being two of the top twenty-five immigration attorneys in the EB-5 industry. Every year, Eb5 Investors Magazine polls the EB-5 industry to find out who is contributing most to the industry. David and Nima, both partners at David Hirson & Partners, LLP (“DHP”), have been recognized by this poll for the last few years. David and Nima are grateful and proud to be recognized by their hard-working peers. Both would like to thank the hard-working attorneys and staff at David Hirson & Partners, LLP who work tirelessly to ensure their clients achieve their corporate immigration goals.

The same issue of Eb5 Investors Magazine also included an article co-written by DHP’s Mr. Phuong Le (along with Aaron Goforth of Baker Tilly Capital and Osvaldo Torres of Torres Law P.A.). “Practical Steps for Investors in Traditional & Merging Markets Considering Regional Center Versus Direct EB-5 Investments” discusses some considerations potential investors should take into account when it comes to selecting the route for their EB-5 investments.

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

 

EB-5: A Tool for U.S Economic Revitalization [Infographic]

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma ravaged the southeastern United States late in 2017, leaving behind billions in damage- both to homes and to businesses.

Rarely thought of, the capital raised by the EB-5 program is ready to be utilized in the rebuilding efforts: $274 Million in Houston and $885.5 Million in Miami.

This highlights the extraordinary power of the program to do good for local communities affected by natural disasters. Check out the following infographic to learn more.

EB-5 Capital & Disaster Relief

eb-5 visa vs eb-2 visa

Why the EB-5 Visa is a Better Option than the E-2 Visa

An ever-growing number of foreign investors are establishing their livelihood and their lives in the U.S. by choosing to inject their capital into the U.S. economy. Many investors are choosing to apply for one of the EB-5 visa spots, while some are going a more temporary route using the E-2 visa. Our Los Angeles EB-5 lawyers understand that the significant differences between the two require taking a look at the pros and cons of each for every prospective applicant. However, while the E-2 visa has many attractive attributes, including a significantly lower capital investment requirement, the EB-5 is a better and broader alternative for those looking to resettle in the U.S. Here are three important differences between the two types that showcase reasons why the EB-5 visa is the superior route.

 

The EB-5 Visa Allows You to Bring Family Members

 

The EB-5 visa can allow your immediate family members to come to the U.S. with you. This includes spouse and children only, but it is a significant advantage in the world of visas. The E-2 visa is only for the investor himself or herself and does not facilitate the entry of family members.

 

The EB-5 Visa is Open to a Broader Range of Countries

 

EB-5 visa holders come from a broader range of countries because this type of visa has fewer limitations on country of origin. E-2 visa holders must come from a treaty investor country, i.e., a country that is a party to the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. For many prospective visa applicants, this restriction bars them from applying for an E-2 visa altogether, but does not bar them from applying for an EB-5 Visa.

 

The EB-5 Visa Paves the Way for a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)

 

The EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa, which can lead to a green card and permanent resident status for its holder. An E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which can be renewed without limit but cannot lead to obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. This immigration intent is one of the reasons for the higher investment requirement of an EB-5 visa, which in most instances is $1,000,000 but in certain cases can be as low as $500,000. While an E-2 requires an initial investment of only $100,000, the applicant must show “non-immigrant intent” when applying with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Therefore, for those applicants seeking a way to permanently establish themselves in the U.S., the EB-5 visa is the obvious choice.

 

If you are considering the EB-5 visa or have further questions about the differences between the EB-5 and E-2 visas, contact David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.

 

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