Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Regional Center Amendments

If a Regional Center wants to add a project which has a new industry code, not previously approved for the Regional Center by the USCIS, an amendment must be filed. Significant (“material”) changes to the operation of the Regional Center also require an amendment.

Unfortunately, the USCIS has not been very forthcoming in explaining what types of changes constitute a “material” one.

Recently we received approval by the USCIS for two amendments I prepared for a Regional Center. One involved increasing the number of investors in a previously approved project as well as expanding the territory of the Regional Center. The other amendment involved a large new project. They were filed about four months apart and were granted the same day.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Do I Start the EB-5 Process?

Our EB-5 team at Lawler & Lawler will guide you step by step.

• We will set up a call to review the rules and procedures as well as explain how the investment should be made.

• We will provide you a list of items to gather and go over it to meet your needs and situation.

• We will then work with you to document the source of funds.

• Meanwhile, you may conduct your due diligence on the investment and decide in which Regional Center or business in which you will invest.

• The investment will be made and we will gather project and financial documents from the Regional Center or business including proof the investment has been received. We will then assemble the I-526 petition and file it with the USCIS.

• We will regularly keep you appraised as we advance the application.


Monday, September 19, 2011

EB-5 IIUSA Conference

I attended the IIUSA (Regional Center Trade Association) Conference in Seattle a few weeks ago. There was over 200 in attendance. There was a little interesting news including:

• The AILA EB-5 committee met with Alejandro Mayorkas. Premium processing (expediting case for a government fee) will be implemented in stages; the first being email questions by the USCIS' examiners to attorneys rather than a Request for Evidence (RFE). This started on September 1 (and is pretty useless). Otherwise when premium processing will begin remains unknown.

• The USCIS will not challenge a state's Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designation provided it does not contain a math error in calculating the unemployment rate and is not a gerrymandered district or used a totally unacceptable methodology. This is very good news and what I have been predicting based on the last USCIS stakeholder's call.

• The Economist Jeff Carr said many states have been intimidated by USCIS' reluctance to accept TEA letters and they are now more restrictive.

• The Canadian investor immigration program has so many applicants backed up (20,000) they have imposed a moratorium.

It was a good meeting for sharing ideas.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is There Any News on When the USCIS Will Start Its EB-5 Expedite Service?

Recently, the Head of the USCIS said on an EB-5 stakeholder’s call that he is committed to rolling out the new expedite service called “Premium Processing.” He refused to give a timeframe, but he did say that the government did not have to submit the program for formal rule making (under the Administrative Procedures Act which can take months), which is good news.

More recently, the USCIS issued an unclear pronouncement that seemed to say premium processing would begin in 30 days. What it stated is that the program will start 30 days after the USCIS reviews the comments on the program and decides when to implement it. USCIS says it has started to email attorneys rather than issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs), but premium processing remains a goal and no start date can be predicted.

As soon as there is any news about the premium processing program I will notify all our clients and post a message on this blog and on my web page.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Stages of an EB-5 Green Card

What are the stages of an EB-5 Green Card for a person investing from abroad?

The first stage is the filing of the EB-5 petition [Form I-526].

The second stage is processing the application at the National Visa Center [Form DS-230].

The third stage is the interview by the American Consul in the applicant’s home country after which the applicant is admitted to the U.S. as a “conditional” permanent resident for two years.

The fourth stage is to apply for removal of conditional resident status [Form I-829] and become a full permanent resident (green card holder).

We have easy to understand flow charts of the EB-5 process.

Martin Lawler

EB-5 Equity vs. Loan Plan

Each EB-5 investor must make an equity investment in a Regional Center or business. The Regional Center or business may then either make an equity investment in a project or loan the capital to the project. What is the difference?

Many like the loan plan as there is a due date on the note and the time is set for return of the capital. The equity investment requires refinance or sale of the project or some other source of funds for return of the investor’s capital. Both investments must be “at risk,” which means the capital is subject to loss.

The investor should discuss the “exit strategy” with the Regional Center for when the capital may be returned.

Martin Lawler

Use the Proper Visa or Else

The New York Times on June 22, 2011 reported the large Indian outsourcing company and labor contractor InfoSystems is being indicted for visa fraud. An employee has claimed workers were brought from India on B-1 [temporary work] visas but worked in the U.S. for which they should have had an H-1B visa for local work.

A word to the wise – use the proper visa. The government takes its restrictive rules very seriously. Feel free to consult with me about the type of visa for the service the employee will perform.

Martin Lawler