Washington, D.C. – February 26, 2018: Two weeks ago, the Senate began negotiations for legislative changes to immigration law, using a “shell bill” introduced by...

As the H-1B visa program faces future uncertainty, especially under the Trump administration, many H-1B visa holders are turning to the EB-5 Program as a shorter alternative pathway to U.S. citizenship. The H-1B visa program has faced uncertainty ever since President Trump expressed a desire for U.S. companies to hire more Americans. A bill was proposed earlier in the year that would more than double the minimum salary requirements for H-1B visa holders as an incentive for U.S. companies to hire more Americans.
What is the difference between the H-1B visa and the EB-5 visa?
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations such as IT, medicine, or engineering. The EB-5 Program is an immigrant investor program, whereby foreigners can invest a minimum of $500,000 into a job-creating new commercial enterprise in exchange for a green card.
What are the advantages of EB-5 over H-1B?
  • EB-5 does not require the applicant to hold a Bachelor’s or higher degree.
  • EB-5 applicants do not have to work in specialty fields.
  • EB-5 applicant’s conditional permanent residency is not dependent upon employment. It is only dependent upon I-526 petition approval, whereas H-1B visa holders must continue working for their employer to maintain H-1B status.
  • If an H-1B applicant is terminated from their employment, they must leave the United States. USCIS may allow H-1B holders to change their status to another non-immigrant visa, but it can cause issues.
  • EB-5 can be a faster path to applying for citizenship.
  • EB-5 investors can live, work, and go to school anywhere in the U.S. They do not have to live by their investment and they do not have to be involved in the day to day management of their investment if they do not wish to.
  • An investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can all qualify for green cards under the EB-5 investor’s application.
  • Family members can gift an EB-5 applicant the funds required to invest in the EB-5 Program.
Due to the volatility of the H-1B Visa Program as well as the numerous advantages the EB-5 Program possesses over H-1B, many men and women, particularly from India, are looking at investing in the EB-5 Program rather than the H-1B program.
How can you get started investing in the EB-5 Program?
To get started, a potential EB-5 applicant will want to consult with an immigration attorney.

Last year, the DHS accelerated its rule making schedule to adopt proposed new regulations on the EB-5 regional center program in February of 2018. The new EB-5 regulations increase minimum investment amounts, centralize TEA designations at DHS and allow for certain EB-5 petitioners to retain their original priority date should they decide to re-file their EB-5 petition.

When an agency publishes a final rule, the rule is generally effective no less than thirty days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. If the rule is a “significant” or “major” rule, as defined by law, then the rule is required to have a 60-day delayed effective date. A “significant rule”, as defined by Executive Order 12866, is any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may “have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities.”

Based on the content of the new EB-5 regulation, it is likely that there will be a 60-day grace period if the final EB-5 regulation is actually published in February before the final regulation will take effect. This grace period may provide Congress with additional time to reach consensus on future reforms to the EB-5 Regional Center Program.

 
As negotiations on Capitol Hill continue to reach agreement on a bill to fund operations of the U.S. federal government, many wonder whether U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will shut down. USCIS continues to operate even if the other agencies of the U.S. federal government experience a shut-down. This situation occurs because USCIS is a fee-funded agency, meaning that the fees for its operations arise primarily from fees collected from applicants. 

Washington, D.C. – January 19, 2018: As negotiations on Capitol Hill continue to reach agreement on a bill to fund operations of the U.S. federal government, employers and immigrants are frequently anxious about whether U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will also shut-down.

The short answer to this concern is “no”, USCIS continues to operate even if the other agencies of the U.S. federal government experience a shut-down. This quirky situation occurs because USCIS is a fee-funded agency, meaning that the fees for its operations arise primarily from fees collected from applicants. Additionally, many functions of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection) are also considered essential government services that are required to remain operational even if there is a shut-down. So, in the past, the USCIS has actually remained open for business during a government shut-down. The U.S. Department of Labor, however, is not so lucky: it has to shutter operations for lack of funding.

Readers from abroad may ask themselves: “How many times has the U.S. federal government shut down because of disagreement over funding?”. The answer to this question would require a much longer response than available in this report.

Negotiations continue with most observers expecting an agreement to keep the U.S. federal government operating through mid-February or mid-March of 2018.

I.A. Donoso & Associates, LLC, is a law firm based in Washington, D.C., and is recognized as a leading immigration law firm with recognized expertise in visas for EB-5 investors, professionals and academics.

EB-5 PROGRAM EXTENDED WITHOUT CHANGES FOR TWO WEEKS Washington D.C., Dec. 8, 2017 - The House and Senate passed a Continuing Resolution, H.J. Res. 123 on...

Washington, D.C. – November 20, 2017: The recent USCIS EB-5 Stakeholder Engagement held in New York on November 7, 2017 provided some frank statements by...

USIF aims to help 250 Indian investors immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 program by raising USD 125 million in foreign investment from India over the next 15 months.
US Immigration Fund (USIF), an American foreign direct investment firm in the business of raising EB-5 capital, has said they aim to help 250 Indian investors immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 program by raising USD 125 million in foreign investment from India over the next 15 months. Funds raised from investors will be deployed in various current and upcoming commercial and residential real estate projects by leading developers and backed by prominent senior lenders. The company, in association with education firm The Chopras Group, said the capital is being raised for investments in key real estate projects across the United States as part of the EB-5 visa program which facilitates foreign investors to obtain a US visa for them and their family. The EB-5 Program was created by the US Congress in 1990 to enable high net worth Foreign Investors to obtain a US visa for themselves and their immediate family by investing a minimum of USD 500,000 in a US business that will benefit the economy and create 10 jobs for American workers. As per data available from the Department of State and USICS, while 65,992 I-526 approvals were received for the period 1991-2016, more than 60 percent of approvals have come since 2014. Previous USIF projects have been backed by major financial institutions including Blackrock, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan. USIF and The Chopras expect to secure 200 investors through 2018 having seen significant demand since the launch of the partnership in late September 2017. USIF has been actively working in the market since the beginning of 2017 and expects to raise USD 50 million by year-end. EB-5 visas for Indians have steadily increased over the last few years with 76 Indian EB-5 visas issued in 2012 to 149 visas issued in 2016. “Our partnership with the Chopras has allowed us to grow exponentially over the last six weeks and gives us the confidence to move forward and set clear milestones for ourselves for the next 12-15 months. Our intent is to gain majority market share in EB-5 capital raised from India and we strongly believe this can be accomplished as the market is expected to grow significantly. The Chopras’ credibility is an asset for us and truly provides assurances and comfort to our EB-5 investor families as they embark on what could otherwise be a very complex and difficult journey. The Chopras’ impeccable reputation, breadth and depth of service offerings, and longstanding history throughout India will allow us to reach families across the country enabling us to better assist them with immigration aspirations for themselves and their children,” said Nicholas A Mastroianni II, Chairman and CEO of US Immigration Fund. The Chopras have supported USIF in building a large platform for EB-5 and establishing a dedicated infrastructure for the offering across all their 26 offices in major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ludhiana. These operations will include investor relations and backend operations to support and educate investors through the entire EB-5 process. To date, investor interest and investment has primarily come from Delhi and Mumbai. However, following direct outreach and investor education programs undertaken by The Chopras and USIF, strong interest from regions like Punjab, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad has surfaced.
Nov 07 NEW DELHI: US Immigration Fund has tied up with education firm The Chopras group to promote EB-5 visa in India and aims to raise USD 125 million by next year from 250 Indian investors who want to immigrate to the United States through this route. US Immigration Fund (USIF) is America's leading EB-5 regional center operator. It is in the business of raising EB-5 capital for investment in the US real estate market. The EB-5 program, launched by the US government in 1990, enables high net worth foreign investors to obtain a US visa for themselves and their family by investing a minimum of USD 5,00,000 in a US business that helps create 10 jobs for American workers. USIF today said this program enables US residency for the investor, spouse and children under 21, as well as a full return of their investment. "We have partnered The Chopras group to help Indian investors immigrate through EB-5 route," USIF Director Business Development -India Andrews R Graves told reporters here today. USIF is targeting to raise USD 125 million from 250 Indian investors through this route, he said, adding that EB-5 visas have steadily increased over the last few years with 149 visas issued to Indians in 2016. Graves said investments are safe as funds are deployed in commercial and housing projects of leading developers and backed by prominent senior lenders. Asked about the return on investment, The Chopras group managing partner San Chopra said the Indian investors can expect a return of 2.5-3 per cent annually. However, he said: "Investors under this program put money not for interest but to become eligible for green card." An investor can expect to get a green card in 4-5 years, Chopra said, adding that investors should look at this route considering difficulties in getting H-1B visa. The US has tightened the norms for issuing the H-1B and L1 visas in line with the Trump administration's goal to protect American workers from discrimination and replacement by foreign labor. The Chopras group is supporting USIF in building a large platform for EB-5 and established a dedicated infrastructure for the offering across major cities. "The EB-5 program has helped tens of thousands of families across the world successfully migrate to the US," said Nicholas Mastroianni III, President, USIF. USIF has so far raised USD 3 billion through this route from across the world since it began operations in 2009. The Chopras group is a leading education group whose origins are in higher education, career management and student recruitment globally.