By

New areas (TEA) allowing lower EB-5 investments

On November 21, 2019, new EB-5 regulations became effective. They brought some changes to the EB-5 program.

One of the likely consequence of the new EB-5 regulations is that the Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designation (enabling a lower investment threshold) will be harder to get and urban TEAs will be driven to lesser-developed locations.

In order to be designated as a TEA, the EB-5 project must be located in either a rural area or in a location that has high unemployment. 

Prior to the effective date of new EB-5 regulations, the TEA designation was made at state level and most states had very liberal TEA’s designation policies, even in economically robust urban zones. Consequently, more than 95% of EB-5 investments were made in TEA-located projects. Under the new EB-5 regulations, USCIS is no longer deferring
to TEA designations made by state and local governments and is
directly reviewing and determining the designation of high-unemployment TEAs.

Under the previous regulations, it was quite common to aggregate census tracts to create Regional Center EB-5 offerings even in some of the nation’s most high-priced neighborhoods. Census tract combination for high-unemployment TEAs is now much more restrictive: census tract aggregation is limited to the project tract(s) plus some or all of the tracts that are “directly adjacent” to the project tract. Utilizing census block groups (a census tract is made up of several block groups) is no longer allowed. 

Some EB-5 industry experts (analysts and economists) estimate that approximately two thirds of the projects that had qualified before will not qualify for TEA status under the revised standard.

Please note that this articles does not constitute a legal advice.  We outlined only one aspect of new EB-5 regulations and its consequences.  If you would like to get a green card through an investment (EB-5), call an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

By

USCIS Clarified Guidance on Deployment of EB-5 Investment Capital

USCIS has updated its Policy Manual with clarifying guidance on the deployment of investment capital under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. It addresses the deployment of capital by a new commercial enterprise before and after jobs have been created.

Before the job creation requirement is met, a new commercial enterprise may deploy capital directly or through any financial instrument so long as applicable requirements are satisfied. The purchase of financial instruments traded on secondary markets generally does not satisfy these requirements.

USCIS further clarifies that once the job creation requirement has been met and the investment capital is returned, the new commercial enterprise may further deploy such capital within a reasonable amount of time (12 months or longer) into any commercial activity that is consistent with the purpose of the new commercial enterprise. Further deployment must continue to meet all applicable eligibility requirements within the framework of the initial bases of eligibility and must occur within the regional center’s geographic area, including any amendments to its geographic area approved before the further deployment. The further deployment, however, does not need to remain with the same (or any) job creating entity or in a targeted employment area.

For more information about EB-5 program, click here. If you would like to discuss if you qualify for an investor green card based on EB-5 category, call an experienced immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

By

Why hire an Immigration Attorney?

Because so much information is available online, you may feel that you can figure out what you need to do using Google and other online resources. Also, there is a misperception that immigration is about filling forms and submitting simple paperwork. While you can certainly gain knowledge of different visa and green card categories and forms to fill, keep in mind that there is lots of misinformation on the Internet, some information may be outdated or would not apply in your case. Immigration law is constantly changing. Even a minor regulatory or policy adjustment affects thousands of people. You may not be aware how the latest policy change, order or decision affects your case.

An experienced immigration attorney is up-to-date with all the government rules, policies, regulations, and various other local laws that may affect your case. His or her extensive experience and holistic view of even complex situations make him or her the best asset for you and can make a profound difference for you and your life.

We regularly advise clients who have already filed applications on their own with inadvertent mistakes that caused serious consequences. They may have filed a wrong form, missed a deadline, received a denial following a Request for Evidence that could have been easily addressed, or filed for visa, green card or naturalization when they were ineligible and face the threat of removal. One simple mistake on the form may be interpreted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services as misrepresentation or fraud with serious consequences. Your one mistake can make the process more complex and can even prevent your from ever achieving what you were trying to apply on your own (e.g., children may reach certain age, deadline is missed, etc.).

An experienced immigration attorney can get you the result that sometimes you would not be able to get on your own. An experienced immigration attorney can save you money, time, frustration, and anguish in dealing with a much harder case on your own. You have someone on your side ready to answer your questions, guide you and help you in every step of sometimes long and complex immigration process.

An experienced immigration attorney evaluates your situation, determines your eligibility and the best process to take to achieve your immigration goal, knows what forms you will need, how to fill the forms accurately, what documents to submit and how to best present your case . Therefore, when you hire an experienced immigration attorney, you will have peace of mind that this life-changing immigration process will be achieved successfully without unnecessary delays. In addition, unlike document preparers and various online immigration service providers, immigration lawyers have a professional and ethical obligations to ensure that they
competently provide legal services to you.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you achieve your dream of legally living and working in the U.S., call an experienced immigration attorney at (480) 425-2009 or contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.

By

Characteristics of H-1B Specialty occupation workers

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released its Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) Annual Report to Congress. Among other things, the report shows that the number of H-1B petitions filed increased by 0.4 percent from FY 2018 to 420,549. The number of H-1B petitions approved increased 16.9 percent from FY 2018 to 388,403.

Of the H-1B petitions approved in FY 2019, 71.7 percent reported that the beneficiary was born in India. The second most prevalent country of birth of H-1B beneficiaries was the People’s Republic of China, representing 13.0 percent of all beneficiaries. The third most prevalent country of birth of H-1B beneficiaries was Canada, representing only 1.2 percent of all beneficiaries. The beneficiaries from each other country represent less than 1% of all beneficiaries. The number of beneficiaries from India approved for initial employment increased by 54.7 percent in FY 2019

At the time their petitions were approved, 62.4 percent of workers granted H-1B status during FY 2019 were between 25 and 34 years of age and 85.9 percent of workers between 25 and 39 years of age.

The breakdown of the highest level of education achieved by H-1B beneficiaries shifted to upward trend towards master’s degree in recent years. The report shows that 54 percent of all H-1B petitions approved for workers in FY 2019 reported that the highest degree achieved by beneficiary was the equivalent of a master’s degree, 36 percent a bachelor’s degree and 8 percent a doctorate degree.

The reports shows the distribution of beneficiaries by occupational category. The category of computer-related occupations was the largest occupational category in 2019 representing 66.1 percent of approved petitions. The second largest category was category of occupations in architecture, engineering and surveying representing 10.1 percent of approved petitions, followed by categories in administrative specializations (5.5%), education (5.1%), medicine and health (3.9%), mathematics and physical sciences (3%), life sciences (1.6%) and managers and officials (1.2%), etc.

The corresponding shares for initial employment in computer-related occupations were 56.3 percent and 71.6 percent for continuing employment. The number of H-1B petitions approved for workers in computer-related occupations increased by 16.3 percent. The number of H-1B petitions approved for all other known occupation groups increased by 18 percent. USCIS found that the median salary of beneficiaries for FY2019 was $98,000 and 54% held a master’s degree.

Please note that this articles does not constitute a legal advice.  We showed only some data from the report to outline some characteristics of H-1B visa/status recipients.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for H-1B status, call our experienced H-1B visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or contact an experienced H-1B attorney via our website to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can help you obtain your H-1B visa.

By

Unemployment benefits for (non)immigrants

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are receiving questions from our immigration clients regarding whether or not they are eligible to seek unemployment insurance benefits in the event of a layoff, reduction in force or termination.

Are you eligible for unemployment insurance? It depends. Each state has different unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. In Arizona, for example, individuals filing a claim for unemployment insurance benefits must indicate that they are able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work. In order to be “available for work,” you “must be ready and willing to accept full-time work when offered without restrictions.” Consequently, it depends on your immigration status and applicable case law to determine if you are considered “available for work” when you are unemployed.

Thus, if you are only authorized to work in the U.S. for a single employer (e.g., holding H-1B or L-1 status) and lose your job, you generally would not qualify because you are not considered “able and available to work” when you are unemployed.

On the other hand, if you have an employment authorization document (e.g., adjustment of status applicants, spouses of E or L status holders,
certain H-4 spouses of H-1B workers, DACA recipients, refugee or asylee), you would generally be “available for work” for another employer. The same applies to lawful permanent residents. Undocumented workers are not “available for work” because they are not legally authorized to work in the U.S.

Please note at that this is only an overview of the unemployment benefits for immigrants and non-immigrants and is not intended as legal advice. IF you were laid off and would like to consult an experienced immigration attorney, calls us at 480-425-2009 or contact us via our website and we will help you determine the best options in your situation.

By

Investor (E-2) visa for hair salon purchaser from Canada

My clients were husband and wife. Husband had extensive management experience and wife had extensive experience in the hair design area. They purchased assets from an existing hair salon fora substantial mount of capital. The source of the investment was a gift from my client’s sister, which was well documented along with complete tracing of the funds to the purchase of the business assets.

My clients also created a business plan to create a unique, innovative upscale boutique salon. They leased the same premises as the seller and found employees when we filed the visa application. The interview went well and my client is now running a successful hair stalon.

Please note that this case study does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law in order to outline a case study of the treaty investor (E-2) visa.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for investor (E-2) visa, call our experienced investor (E-2) visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or contact an experienced treaty investor (E-2) attorney via our website to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can help you obtain your investor (E-2) visa.

By

O-1 visa for an Internationally Recognized Judo Champion

Our client, an alien of extraordinary ability in judo, has reached a high level of achievement and recognition.  She qualified for the new visa category O-1, by virtue of her fulfillment of more than three of the required criteria listed in the regulations:

(1) She is regarded as one of the world’s premier judo champions, and has competed in a number of the most competitive and prestigious women’s judo tournaments and the United States Open.  She won many international and national judo competitions.

(2) She was a referee at numerous national and international judo tournaments.

(3) She has been employed in a critical capacity at an organization with a distinguished reputations. She was the Head Coach of her country’s national women judo team and was also appointed as the Head Coach for her country by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

(4) There are published materials about her in professional major publications.

She was offered a position of a Head Judo Coach for one of the top Judo clubs that petitioned successfully for her O-1 status.

Please note that this case study does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law in order to showcase the O-1 requirements.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for O status, call our experienced O visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or contact an experienced O visa attorney via our website to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can help you obtain your O visa.

By

H-1B status for an Electrical Engineer from India

Our client, a civil and environmental engineering firm, has hired an Engineer from India who completed a Master degree in Electrical and Computer Networking in the US. She started working for our client as her optional practical training. Our client was very happy with her performance and wanted to petition for her H-1B status.

We guided our client what evidence we need to submit and established that the employee meets the requirements for H-1B status. We have established that the position of the Electrical Engineer requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent as a minimum requirement for entry into the occupation in the United States and the foreign employee is qualified to perform services in the specialty occupation because she has attained a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering.  Congratulations!

Please note that this case study does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law in order to outline the H-1B requirements.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for H-1B status, call our experienced H-1B attorney at 480-425-2009 or contact an experienced H-1B attorney via our website to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can help you obtain your H-1B status.

By

P-1 visa for a Canadian golfer

An elite Canadian golfer came to our office seeking assistance with his P-1 visa in order to compete in the upcoming US golf tournaments and events. His agent was the petitioner.

First, we had to establish that our client is an internationally-recognized and respected golfer. We submitted supporting documents of his achievements and reputation as a professional golfer:

( i ) Evidence of his participation to a significant extent in a prior season in a major United States golf tours events; 
( ii ) Evidence of his participation in international competitions;
( iii ) Evidence of his participation to a significant extent U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competitions; 
( v )   Evidence that he is ranked; and 
( vi) Evidence that he has received a significant honors and awards in the sport. 

We have also submitted an itinerary of the golf events he plans to participate. The petition was approved without any problems and his P-1 visa was issued based on the approved petition. Congratulations!

This blog does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law in order to outline a case study of the P-1 visa process for an internationally recognized athlete, in this case a golfer.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for P visa, call our experienced P visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or contact an experienced P visa attorney via our website to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can help you obtain your P visa.

By

Investor visa (E-2) for franchisee from Canada

Our client has been operating a successful franchise in Canada and identified an opportunity for her business in the fast growing Phoenix area. She formed an Arizona company and transferred her franchise territories to Arizona. We had to establish the value of the investment to establish that her investment is “substantial”. We has also established that the enterprise is real and doing business along with a business plan for Arizona operations. We had to also show that the investment is not marginal. The business certainly require employees to run the business and had healthy financials.

We guided our client through the E-2 visa process, prepared the investor visa (E-2) application and assisted her with the interview. The investor visa was approved in just a few weeks.

Please note that this blog does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law in order to outline a case study of the treaty investor (E-2) visa process.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for investor (E-2) visa, call our experienced investor (E-2) visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or contact an experienced treaty investor (E-2) attorney via our website to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can help you obtain your investor (E-2) visa.