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Loan proceeds qualify as cash for EB-5 investment

D.C. Circuit Court ruled that loan proceeds qualify as cash under the EB-5 Program. Under a contrary interpretation, USCIS treats the investment as indebtedness rather than cash subject to additional requirements. Specifically, a loan may qualify as capital for EB-5 investment only if they are secured by assets owned by the investor. The court rejected such collateralization interpretation.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline only one aspect of the latest development of EB-5 green card process. If you would like to obtain an investment (EB-5) green card, call our experienced EB-5 green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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New proposed H-1B “wage-based” selection process

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to
change the process of selecting H-1B registrations for filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions from a random lottery selection to a wage-level-based selection process.

If more registrations were received during the annual
initial registration period than necessary to reach the
cap, USCIS would rank and select the registrations received generally on the basis of the highest OES wage level in the area of intended employment, beginning with OES wage level IV and proceeding in descending order with OES wage levels III, II, and I

These proposed changes would incentivize petitioners to offer higher wages
to H-1B workers or petition for positions requiring higher skills By changing the selection process, DHS would increase the chance
of selection for registrations or petitions seeking to employ beneficiaries at wages that would equal or exceed the level IV or level III prevailing wage. The DHS data shows that only 28.53% of H-1B petitions received in FYs 2018 and 2019 were filed for level IV and III wages.

The 30-day comments period starts on November 2, 2020.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline the proposed changes to H-1B selection process. If you would like to obtain an H-1B status, call our experienced H-1B attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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How will new H-1B prevailing wage increase effect H-1B eligibility?

On October 8, 2020, Department of Labor (“DOL”) published an interim final rule changing its method for calculating the prevailing wage rates in the H-1B program. DOL altered the level 1 prevailing wage from the 17th percentile of the OES wage distribution to 45th percentile on the false
assumption that the wages paid to individuals with a master’s degree represent the entry level wages for H-1B workers. Based on that upward adjustment, DOL increased the level 2 prevailing wage rate from 34th to the 62nd percentile, the level 3 prevailing wage from the 50th to the 78th percentile and the level 4 prevailing wage from the 67th percentile to the 95th percentile.

The upward adjustment of prevailing wage rates results in an overnight increase in wage rates and may likely result in many employers not hiring foreign workers. Lawsuits were filed seeking injunction to stop the DOL interim final rule.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline only some proposed changes to H-1B rules. If you would like to obtain an H-1B status, call our experienced H-1B attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Is US-Canada border still closed for non-essential travel?

The land border between the US and Canada remains closed until October 21, 2020 for “non-essential” travel. The travel restrictions do not apply to travel by air, sea and to freight rail. The “essential travel” includes but is not limited to: (i) U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, (ii) international students, (iii) people traveling to receive medical treatment, (iv) emergency responders and public health officials, (v) truck drivers moving cargo or other individuals engaged in international trade, (vi) official government and diplomatic travel, and (vii) members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.

Most U.S. ports of entry interpret the restrictions that only B1/B2 travel is prohibited, while other ports of entry interpret the restrictions more narrowly and require proof of “essentiality”. The Customs and Border Protection is still performing routine adjudications of TN and L-1 petitions at the land ports of entry, although some land ports are requiring proof that the proposed employment is “essential”.

Canada’s Quarantine Act requires anyone who is permitted to enter Canada to self-isolate for 14 days following entry to Canada (unless they are flag-poling).

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline the law. If you to schedule a consultation, call our experienced immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Does a position shared by several employees count as one full-time job for EB-5 job creation?

In order to get an EB-5 green card through investment, the investor has to create at least 10 full-time jobs. A client wanted to invest in a restaurant where several employees would share some positions. Does that qualify?

To be considered a full-time job, it requires 35 hours a week. Where two or more employees share a full-time position it counts as one-full time job if they combine at least 35 hours per week. To demonstrate a full-time position is shared by more than one employees, the investor may should a written job-sharing agreement, we weekly schedule or evidence of the sharing of the responsibilities or benefits of a permanent full time position. However, two part-time jobs do not count.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline only one aspect of the EB-5 green card process. If you would like to obtain an investment (EB-5) green card, call our experienced EB-5 green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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What happens to the conditional (EB-5) green card of the investor’s wife in case of divorce?

One way to obtain a legal permanent resident status in the US is through investment (under EB-5 category). The first step is to file a petition for classification as an alien entrepreneur. The petition must be accompanied by evidence that the investor has invested or is actively in the process of investing lawfully obtained capital in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. which will create at least 10 full-time jobs. One the petition is approved, the investor can obtain an immigrant visa or adjust his or her status to the conditional resident.

If the spouse of the principal EB-5 investor obtains a divorce after the conditional EB-5 resident status is granted, the ex-spouse may still file the petition to remove conditions, and if it is approved, the ex-spouse becomes a legal permanent resident (green card holder).

The petition to remove conditions in conditional resident status must be filed within 90 days before the second anniversary of the conditional status. The petition must document that the conditional resident (i) invested or was actively investing the required capital that (s)he continuously maintained the capital investment over those two years, (ii) created or can be expected to create within a reasonable time ten full-time jobs.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline only one aspect of the EB-5 green card process. If you would like to obtain an investment (EB-5) green card, call our experienced EB-5 green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Can E-2 investment “count” toward EB-5 investment?

E-2 visa is for investors from treaty countries who invest “substantial” amount of capital into a US business. E-2 visa allows them to manage that business. E-2 visa has to be renewed every few years, depending on the treaty. A major downside of E-2 visa and a significant motivator for converting to the EB-5 green card is the problem of children of E-2 investors who are not eligible for E-2 dependent visas once they turn 21.

While there is no dollar amount for E-2 visa, in order to get EB-5 green card, the investor has to invest at least $900,000 in certain targeted employment areas or $1,800,000 anywhere else. While the E-2 capital investment may be counted towards the EB-5 investment, retained earnings or revenue generated by the E-2 investment may not be counted toward EB-5 investment. The investor must draw funds from the E-2 business and invest personal funds in order to “count” towards EB-5 investment.

In addition, the business must already have created the requisite ten jobs, or demonstrate that it will create the remaining jobs needed to meet the ten-job threshold within two years of the grant of conditional permanent resident status.

Planning and navigating the transition from E-2 to EB-5 can be a complicated process. If you would like to transition from E-2 investment to EB-5 investment and obtain an investment (EB-5) green card, call our experienced EB-5 green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline only one aspect of the transition from E-2 visa to EB-5 green card.

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What are the income requirements for marriage green card?

In order to obtain a green card (legal permanent resident status), the green card applicant must submit an affidavit of support by a sponsor.   The sponsor must be a US citizen or legal permanent resident, 18 years of age, domiciled in the and have an income 125% above the federal poverty line. In 2020, an income 125% above the federal poverty line for a household of 2 people is $21,550, for a household of 3 people $27,150 and for the household of 4 people is $32,750.   The income of certain household members may be included.  If the sponsor cannot meet the minimum-income requirements, (s)he may provide evidence of assets that are readily available or seek a joint sponsor.  The affidavit may not be necessary if the green card applicant already has 40 quarters of earnings in the US.     

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one aspect of the marriage green card process.  If you would like us to obtain a marriage green card, call our experienced marriage green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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Does “trade” include only international exchange of goods for purposes of E-1 visa?

E-1 visa requires (a) a treaty, (b) the individual or business possess the nationality of the treaty country, (c) the activities the applicant will engage in constitute “trade”, (d) the trade is substantial and (e) principally between the US and the treaty country, (f) if an employee is the applicant, (s)he is destined to an executive or supervisory position or possesses essential skills to the US operation and (g) intends to depart the US when the E-1 status terminates.

The items of “trade” include but are not limited to goods, services, international banking, insurance monies, transportation, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some news-gathering activities.   As you can see, it does not have to be only physical goods.  Here is an example.

My client owns a Canadian franchised custom home building and renovation company that offers its clients the home building and renovation services through the company’s network of franchisees. My client formed a US company to engage in the business of offering and granting franchises in the United States.  The Canadian company provides accounting, legal, broker, marketing and training services to the US company.  There is an actual exchange of services and moneys that create transactions considered “trade”.   E-1 visa was approved quickly.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one aspect of E-1 visa.   If you would like us to discuss if you qualify for E-1 visa and help us get you an E-1 visa, call our experienced E-1 visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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How long does the adjustment of status takes in Phoenix?

My clients met online and at the end of the foreign national US visit, they decided they don’t want to be separated any longer and got married.  We filed the petition with the USCIS and an adjustment application last July and the adjustment interview was scheduled for March.   In this case, it took7 months to have the adjustment application approved.  

The USCIS average processing time of the adjustment applications in Phoenix is now 9.5 – 29.5 and it’s been updated regularly.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one marriage green card processing time.  If you would like us to obtain a marriage green card, call our experienced marriage green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online