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Thoughts about the current situation for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Thoughts About the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program’s Current Situation

This is an opinion piece adapted from ILW’s article, “Wishful Rumors,” that was published in an email blast on November 15, 2019.

November 21, 2019 marks the beginning of following new rules for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Some rumors have been circulating about whether anyone will try to stop these new rules. The rumored ways of stopping these rules focus around each of the three parts of the U.S. government. We believe that it is highly unlikely for anyone to stop these new rules from being enacted, so we should all be preparing to adjust to the new requirements.

1. Judiciary

Some have wondered if anyone will try obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) from a judge that would stop the new rules from being put into place. Attorneys familiar with the process of obtaining a TRO say that this is unlikely since a judge typically only grants a TRO if it looks like there can be changes made to whatever is being restrained. It is highly unlikely that any changes would be made on these new rules.

2. Executive

The only way anyone in the Executive Branch could stop the new rules is if there was a true national emergency, i.e. a war breaks out or a natural disaster causes extreme damage. Even the President is lawfully unable to issue an Executive Order that affects these new rules.

3. Legislative

The Legislative Branch is the only branch that could change these new rules. But there needs to be a strong group of legislators who are willing to take the lead and change these rules through either a Continuing Resolution (“CR”) or a new statute. This path has proven to be deadlocked for years. Many are hopeful that Congress will eventually pass long-term changes to the program, but everyone is unsure of when this will actually come to pass.

One bill that is currently being considered by Congress, S.2778 – Immigrant Investor Program Reform Act seems to be gathering some good support. We are hopeful that Congress will eventually pass legislation making the program stronger for the future.

If you have any questions about the new changes to the EB-5 immigrant investor program, or you have questions about your immigration plans, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Tel: +1-949-383-5358                      Email: info@hirson.com                                Website: www.Hirson.com

New Bill Extends Funding for EB-5 but Drops Key Program for Women

EB-5 Regional Center Pogram Extended into September 2019

U.S. Government Receives Funding Through September 30, 2019: Effects on EB-5 Regional Center Program and VAWA

On Friday, February 15, 2019, U.S. Congress and President Trump agreed on and signed Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, a spending bill that funds the U.S. government and extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program with no changes through September 30, 2019. This is another “clean” extension in a line of short-term extensions since 2013 of the EB-5 investment and job-creation program. The EB-5 regional center program has been a benefit to local U.S. economies and U.S. workers. Along with the rest of the EB-5 industry, we hope that this seven-month extension will allow beneficial updates to be made to the EB-5 program.

It is interesting to note that one key U.S. immigration program was not reauthorized in this latest spending bill: The Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”). VAWA was dropped from the spending bill near the end of intense negotiations to avoid another shutdown of the U.S. government. This U.S. government program was created in 1994 to fund programs that help victims of domestic violence. In addition to funding, VAWA created a special visa category that allows battered immigrants to petition for legal status in the United States without relying on abusive U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouses, parents or children to sponsor their Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) applications.[1] The VAWA provisions in the INA allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.[2]

If you have any questions about investment/corporate immigration or other avenues to immigrate to the U.S., contact us to speak with our group of experienced immigration attorneys.

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

[1] https://www.uscis.gov/archive/archive-news/fact-sheet-uscis-issues-guidance-approved-violence-against-women-act-vawa-self-petitioners

[2] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/battered-spouse-children-parents

Website now available in Vietnamese.

Trang web David Hirson & Partners, LLP hiện đã có ngôn ngữ tiếng Việt!

Để có thể phục vụ quý vị khách hàng Việt Nam tốt hơn trong ngành EB-5 nói riêng và lĩnh vực định cư Hoa Kỳ nói chung, David Hirson & Partners, LLP rất vui mừng thông báo sự ra mắt phiên bản tiếng Việt của trang web của chúng tôi! Dấu mốc quan trọng này minh họa cho cam kết không ngừng của chúng tôi với khách hàng Việt Nam trên khắp thế giới. Quý vị có thể truy cập trực tiếp trang web tiếng Việt tại https://www.hirsonimmigration.com/vi/ hoặc nhấp vào biểu tượng cờ Việt Nam ở phía trên bên trái của trang chủ.

Với nền kinh tế đang bùng nổ và đội ngũ nhân tài bao gồm các chuyên gia, nhà đầu tư, và doanh nhân thành công, nhu cầu định cư Hoa Kỳ của người Việt Nam đã tăng trưởng mạnh mẽ trong thập kỷ qua. Chúng tôi tự hào phục vụ nhu cầu định cư của cộng đồng người Việt ở hai bên Thái Bình Dương qua việc hỗ trợ hàng ngàn nhà đầu tư EB-5 và gia đình họ đạt được thẻ xanh vĩnh viễn, tư vấn thành công các chiến lược định cư cho các doanh nghiệp tại Việt Nam mở rộng sang Hoa Kỳ, và giúp vô số gia đình Việt Nam đoàn tụ tại Mỹ thông qua chương trình bảo lãnh gia đình. Vui lòng liên hệ với công ty của chúng tôi ngay hôm nay tại info@hirson.com để lên lịch tư vấn và tìm hiểu thêm về các giải pháp định cư tiềm năng phù hợp với quý vị.

David Hirson & Partners, LLP’s Website is Now Available in Vietnamese!

To better serve our Vietnamese clients in the EB-5 and immigration industry, David Hirson & Partners, LLP is excited to announce the launch of the Vietnamese version of our website! This important milestone illustrates our continued commitment to our Vietnamese clients around the world. You can now visit the Vietnamese translated site directly at https://www.hirsonimmigration.com/vi/ or simply click on the Vietnamese language flag on the top left of the homepage.

With a booming economy and a rich talent pool of entrepreneurs, investors, business people, and white collar professionals, Vietnam and its immigration needs have grown dramatically over the past decade. We are proud to serve the immigration needs of the Vietnamese community on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, including successfully helping thousands of EB-5 investors, advising businesses in Vietnam on expanding to the U.S., and countless families. Please contact our firm today at info@hirson.com if you’d like to schedule a consultation to learn more about potential suitable immigration solutions.

Congress and President Trump extend Eb-5 regional program for two more weeks.

U.S. Congress and President Trump Extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program for 2 Weeks

Last Friday (December 7, 2018), President Trump signed a 2-week “stopgap” (a.k.a. extension) spending bill that allows the U.S. government to continue operating until December 21, 2018. This extension also includes allowing the EB-5 regional center program to continue until December 21st. Congress and President Trump are still negotiating what to do after December 21st. There are a number of issues that are being debated right now, including funding to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border.

While we do not expect EB-5 to be discussed or debated in Congress right now, we do expect the EB-5 regional center program to be continued to some point in time next year. We will let our readers know more as soon as we learn more.

We urge you to contact us with any further questions you may have about the EB-5 immigrant investor program or any other U.S. immigration program. Our team of successful corporate immigration attorneys can help you.

Feature Article Show Keys to Success Between U.S. Law Firms and Vietnam

Feature Article Shows Keys to Success Between U.S. Law Firms and Vietnam

Keys to a Successful Partnership Between U.S. Law Firms and Vietnamese Migration Agencies – DHP’s Feature Article in First Vietnamese Edition of EB5Investors Magazine

David Hirson & Partners, LLP (“DHP”) is honored to have two of its dedicated Vietnam immigration professionals be the authors of a featured article in EB5Investors Magazine’s first-ever Vietnamese edition. EB5Investors.com and EB5Investors Magazine is known as being one of the leading platforms for all EB-5 immigrant visa knowledge. DHP is a regular contributor to all of EB5Investors’ magazines and international conferences.

The article can be read here: Keys to a Successful Partnership Between U.S. Law Firms and Vietnamese Migration Agencies

Attorney Phuong Le says, “This article has been published with perfect timing after our firm just returned from a two-week business trip to Vietnam. Many thanks to our clients and partners for a successful and productive journey across the country filled with seminars, lectures, consultations, and (way too much) food. Whether you’re an established or new Vietnamese migration agency, this article covers the important issues you’ll want to consider as you select a top tier law firm to support your business and investors. If you are considering EB-5 for you and your family’s immigration, this article can provide you with some tips on how to select the right team to help with your immigration goals.”

Contact us at David Hirson & Partners, LLP to schedule a consult with our team of professionals who can advise you on how to move forward with you and your family’s immigration goals.

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

 

Direct Investment as an EB-5 Visa Path

 

With EB-5 regional centers being the most popular avenue for EB-5 visa applicants, many do not realize that direct investment as a path for obtaining an EB-5 visa holds many opportunities as well. In fact, the direct EB-5 investment pathway is underutilized among foreign nationals seeking an EB-5 visa. What is even more notable is that while the regional center program must be reauthorized by Congress, and thus is currently not a permanent option for seeking an EB-5 visa, the direct EB-5 investment option is a permanent law. This means that, absent some affirmative action by Congress to repeal the law, is the direct EB-5 investment pathway will always be available to immigrant investors.

Passive versus Active EB-5 Investment

Part of the appeal of the regional center program is that EB-5 regional centers allow EB-5 investors to take a more passive approach to investing funds. For many visa seekers, this is simply an easier way to invest, and that is understandable. Perhaps that is why over 95% of EB-5 visas granted each year are given to investors choosing to utilize the regional center program. However, for those who wish to utilize direct investment, it is not nearly as difficult as one might assume. It’s true that direct investment projects often require more involvement, but for many investors, that winds up being a very good thing. It is also possible to structure direct EB-5 investments as a type of passive investment.

A Multitude of Opportunities – Franchises

By using the direct EB-5 investment option, EB-5 visa applicants have a wider variety of opportunities to pursue. One of the best avenues is to become a franchisee for a brand well-established in the U.S. There is a huge benefit to investors who pursue this choice, as franchises make a great deal of information available to potential investors ahead of time (i.e. franchise disclosure documents and other public records). Compared to the information typically available through EB-5 regional center investments, the franchise route may offer a greater chance to evaluate success. In addition, franchising is regulated by both federal and state governments; in most cases far more so than passive regional center investments. Many franchises typically undergo regular audits and provide annual (or other regularly-scheduled) updates to investors. The investor also retains more control over the course of a direct EB-5 investment.

There are some drawbacks to using direct EB-5 investment as a path to the EB-5 visa, but many advantages also exist. The best advice is to have an experienced EB-5 visa attorney evaluate your particular situation. Call the expert 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

Things to watch for in EB-5 extensions; contact an experienced immigration attorney at Hirson & Partners, LLP

3 Things to Watch in the Future of EB-5 Visas

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program begun in 1990 as a federal program to promote job and economic growth here in the U.S. by tying foreign investors and capital investments in qualifying projects in the U.S. These foreign investors were then given a path to a green card in return for their investments into the U.S. economy which are directly tied to creating at least 10 full-time positions for U.S. workers. While it was little-used at first, during the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, EB-5 investment funds became an important source of capital funding during a time when bank financing and other types of traditional credit dried up.

Since 2015, Congress has repeatedly attempted to modify the EB-5 program in one way or another, but has thus far fallen short of implementing any change and has simply extending, the program as is. The latest extension, in March of this year, has caused U.S. developers and investors to look elsewhere for funding to complete projects. The following are three things to watch for (and be aware of) as we wait to see how the EB-5 program changes in the near future.

Some developers will hesitate on future projects.

Although this is to be expected, there are developers this year who may wait to initiate projects they had hoped to fund by EB-5 investors. Some of these developers are simply waiting until the end of the current six-month extension to see if Congress extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program yet again or substantially raises the minimum investment amounts, while others are looking elsewhere for project funding. The good news is, developers with projects already underway using EB-5 funds are typically still operating with a “full steam ahead” mentality.

Projects may seek less EB-5 funds in the future – or not.

Some projects are likely to seek less EB-5 funding out of caution of the changing program; however, EB-5 remains a consistent and important driver of these projects. The percentage of development funds that originate from the EB-5 program tends to grow larger as the scope of the project grows larger. In relatively small development projects, such as those with a total budget under $40 million, it is not uncommon to see only around 20-30% of funds coming from the EB-5 Visa program.

Existing projects may scramble to raise EB-5 funds during this latest extension.

Some good news for investors is that developers currently in the midst of fundraising for projects are viewing this latest extension as a golden opportunity to get investors in at the current minimum amounts before there is any chance of the U.S. government raising the minimum investment amounts. Investors who can get their required funds and application materials in order prior to the end of the current extension are encouraged to do so, since it could be the last chance to invest at the $500,000/$1,000,000 levels. While the construction industry is optimistic about the future of EB-5, now may be the best time to invest, since it is unclear when the U.S. government will increase the investment amount for the program or enact changes to the program. Failure to extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program could be fatal to EB-5 Regional Center project investors who have not yet been admitted as conditional permanent residents

One of the best decisions a potential EB-5 investor can make is to partner with an experienced EB-5 attorney working on their behalf, long before their application is drafted or filed. Whether you are committed to the EB-5 program or just considering it as one of many avenues, call David Hirson & Partners, LLP. Our attorneys are experienced immigration attorneys who have helped a multitude of investors successfully navigate the EB-5 and other U.S. visa programs.

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

“Round the World” Investment Immigration

The landscape of U.S. immigration is changing more now than it has in the past 25 years. One area that is markedly feeling change is corporate investment immigration. The idea that successful foreign business people can bring their business talents, expertise, and funds into the U.S. has a certain logical appeal; this has been the guiding thought behind the EB-5 immigrant investor program. For a $500,000 or $1,000,000 investment into a qualifying business/project, a foreign national and his/her immediate family members could be granted a green card in exchange for creating at least ten full-time jobs in local U.S. economies. The overwhelming majority of foreigners who have participated in the EB-5 program were born in mainland China. Unfortunately, these Chinese nationals have created a significant backlog in the EB-5 program, extending the processing times for all EB-5 applicants. Long processing times, in turn, make the program less appealing to foreign nationals who are considering various immigration programs for their families.

 

There have been a number of additional factors causing the downfall of the EB-5 immigrant investor program in China (even though this program has been creating thousands of much needed full-time jobs for hard-working U.S. workers). First (as mentioned above), the large number of Chinese-born applicants have utilized all of their available federally-mandated allotment of EB-5 visas each year. Second, there is a lot of uncertainty in the program due to Congress repeatedly trying, and subsequently failing, to “modernize” and make permanent the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 industry was unable to unify in a strong front to bring the program and industry together to create a better program. Third, the Chinese national government has made it extremely difficult to move large amounts of funds outside of China (no matter the reason).

 

Due to the federally mandated limit on the number of EB-5 visas that are allotted each year, with a secondary limit on how many EB-5 visas are allotted per country as well, Chinese applicants who apply for an EB-5 visa today are now facing a wait time of approximately ten to fifteen years before they can bring their families to the U.S. This extended wait time has led to the rise of a certain phenomenon that we can call “’round-the-world immigration”: where a Chinese national “immigrates” to a county that is: 1) “selling” that country’s citizenship for money (which the U.S. does not do), and then 2) uses this second country’s citizenship to apply for an E-2 investor treaty visa (since China does not have E-1/2 treaty status with the U.S.). (An E-2 visa applicant makes a “substantial investment” into a U.S. company, boosting the U.S. economy. Note: “substantial investment” is not defined and is based on the facts of each case, including the ration of investor equity the whole of the business.)

 

While this process is lawful, it is possible that U.S. consular officers will deny Chinese immigrants who apply for a trade treaty visa by way of a Grenada (or similarly “purchased” citizenship) passport when the applicant is clearly Chinese and not Grenadian. The other complication here is that Chinese citizens legally forfeit their Chinese citizenship as soon as they obtain citizenship in another country. As such, the “foreign” Chinese national would be required to have a Chinese visa in his/her Grenada passport in order to be legally present in China to meet with the U.S. consular officer. When the “foreign” Chinese national is unable to present the immigration officer with a valid Chinese visa, the officer could then deny the E-2 petition and not allow the Chinese national into the U.S. based upon not having jurisdiction to adjudicate the case.

 

After facing such a denial, and not having many other options, many foreign nationals and their families decide to give up immigrating to the U.S. They are effectively giving up on their “great” American dream and end up not being allowed the chance to add to our nation’s strong entrepreneurial spirit. Our nation’s President seems to be set on making all immigration into the U.S. frought with hurdles that take years (if not decades) to overcome. In the meantime, other nations are welcoming entrepreneurial immigrants into their borders with open arms.

 

Should the U.S. be making it so difficult for good, law-abiding, hard-working, enterprising, and successful immigrants into our “Nation of Immigrants”? It may be that we should all take a moment to remember where we and our forefathers came from, a majority of whom crossed the oceans looking for a better life for their families and business ventures in a new land. What state would our nation be in if not for the immigrants who came to the U.S. and contributed to the rich fabric of our nation and its economy? One could argue that the U.S. is missing out on great contributions from people who have been successful in a wide variety of areas in the nations of their birth.

 

Contact an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

 

There are critical nuances in each of these visa categories and it is extremely important to obtain expert advice and planning. If you are contemplating bringing foreign investors into your business, or you are a foreigner planning to open a business in the U.S., consult with our experienced immigration lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP. Our team of immigration experts will expertly guide you along the immigration path that best meets your business and family needs.

 

www.Hirson.com                             Tel: +1 (949) 383-5358                                    info@Hirson.com

 

* The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney regarding your specific circumstances.

 

David Hirson, Esq. is the managing partner of David Hirson & Partners, LLP. David has over 35 years of experience in the practice of immigration law.  Although he practices in almost all areas of immigration law, including family law immigration and all aspects of business law immigration, he is internationally recognized as an expert in EB-5 investment immigration law. He has been certified as a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization continuously since 1990. As an immigrant from South Africa to the U.S., he is personally aware of what immigrant families and entrepreneurs go through.

 

This article was originally published in the June 18, 2018 issue of the Orange County Business Journal.

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.

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