By: Matthew Beatus, Esq
With the beginning of the New Year, it is also the time to start preparing H-1B visa petitions for the 2016 fiscal year lottery, which is now less than three months away! Starting on April 1, 2015, individuals will be able to try and submit their petitions into the H-1B lottery, where a Cap of 65,000 visas will be allotted for those with a Bachelor’s degree education or higher, and an additional Cap of 20,000 visas will be set aside for individuals who have earned at least a Master’s degree or higher from a qualifying, public or not-for-profit U.S. institution of higher education. The petitions chosen for adjudication will be randomly selected from among all of the H-1B petitions filed with USCIS during the first five business days in April. In last year’s lottery, over 172,000 petitions were submitted to USCIS during the brief 5-day filing window. All indications point to a similar situation this year, so it is most important that H-1B petitions are perfectly in order and ready for delivery to USCIS on April 1st.
USCIS has released helpful H-1B petition filing tips to assist individuals in avoiding petition rejection, as well as the issuance of tricky and complicated Requests for Additional Evidence. To start, it is essential that individuals understand whether or not they even qualify for an H-1B visa, which is meant for those with U.S. job offers in “specialty occupations,” i.e., that require at least a Bachelor’s degree to undertake. However, it is also essential to understand whether an individual is even subject to one of the H-1B visa Caps listed above, and if so, whether it is the Bachelor’s Cap, or the U.S. Master’s Cap. For instance, certain employers, including universities and nonprofit and government research institutions, are not subject to either H-1B cap. Furthermore, some U.S. Master’s degrees may not qualify an individual for the U.S. Master’s Cap if the institution of higher education that issued the degree is private and/or for-profit. These issues can often involve nuanced and complex questions that can best be addressed by an experienced immigration attorney.
Once it is determined that an individual is qualified for an H-1B visa, and is subject to one of the Caps mentioned above, it is critical that the petition be submitted without any errors that might cause USCIS to reject it from participation in the H-1B lottery. Common mistakes made in H-1B filings are often seemingly small, clerical, or technical errors – but such errors can be disastrous – causing USCIS to reject the petition all together. For instance, a signature may be missing, a wrong box may be checked, a filing fee check may be dated incorrectly, or the wrong letter was typed into the form somewhere. Having your petition rejected due to oversight—or for any reason—can be fatal, as the H-1B filing window is only guaranteed to be open for five business days. By the time you receive the rejected petition back from USCIS, it will likely be too late to re-file, and thus your petition will miss its chance to be selected in this year’s H-1B lottery. As a result, early preparation and attention to detail are essential for successfully securing your place in the H-1B lottery.
If you have any questions about the H-1B Cap system, the H-1B lottery, or the H-1B petition process in general, the experienced immigration attorneys at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP can help you navigate this complicated process.
2015年2月19日标志着中国新年的开始。 这是以羊命名的一年，羊有着坚毅，优雅和善良的本性。 羊也被认为容易焦虑，但在外力强加与艰苦环境下，羊会表现出柔弱外表下的坚韧。 与此同理，EB-5项目将在2015年蓬勃发展。
截至9月30日，2014财年美国移民局批准了5115个EB-5申请。今年下半年只有198个申请被拒绝，批准率超过91%。 最终阶段的I-829申请的批准率有95％甚至更高，几乎是有史以来最高的批准率。 移民局裁量申请的速度也加快了， 2014年11月就处理了超过1000个事项。请见以下图表。
2015年羊年将会分配10224个EB-5签证名额，其中9050个名额是为中国出生的公民准备的。 这比2014年9128位中国公民获得EB-5签证略少。来自中国的移民占获得EB-5签证总人数的85.4%，225名投资者来自韩国，为第二大来源国，占2.1%。 墨西哥位居第三，有129投资者。俄罗斯有100个投资者，占不到1%。 巴西有30个投资者，占不到0.5%。 见下图。
中国EB-5的配额，或排期，通常也被称为“排期倒退”将成为一种必然。中国EB-5的截止日期将在2015年5月或6月启动。 等待最后面试的时间将大约为2年。 所以2013年5月之前递交的申请有望赶上2015年5月或6月的最后一批面试。2015年二月中旬将会公布2015年3月的移民排期通告，届时很有可能会正式宣布中国EB-5截止日期。
2015年5月至2015年9月期间，等待最终面试的时间将从大约2年延至3年。 虽然有提议只按申请案件数额或按家庭计数，而非计算人头，但奥巴马当局更倾向于在准许投资人在排期排到前入境。 此外，中国的主申请人如在美国境内有合法身份，在没有签证名额的情况下，也可以提交调整身份申请。在等待绿卡期间，提交调整身份申请的投资人可以拿到工作许可和旅行证。
97％的投资者选择通过区域中心投资。 2014财年只有316位投资者申请直接投资或者投资独立项目，不到总数的3％。 因此，区域中心计划是一个巨大的成功。
对于那些还在考虑申请EB-5签证的投资者，抓住现在的时机。 区域中心项目将在2015年9月到期，需要美国国会通过才能延期，尽管国会之前已经很多次通过了该项目的延期，但这个延期批准可能会附带条件。 举例来说，50万美元的金额是大约25年前定的，基于消费者购买力指数（Consumer Price Index），1990年的这个数额目前也只有275235美元的购买力。国会是否会提高投资额要求？我的猜测是他们会这么做。
涉及200亿美元和每年成千上万的新增就业机会，EB-5计划将继续成长。 这可能是唯一无需美国政府支出毫厘就能创造就业的计划。 新财富创造的浪潮中涌现出更多高净值投资者，EB-5计划愈发受到欢迎。
对于那些考虑申请的人，时机就在当下。 因为预计未来最低投资额要求会大幅增加，中国出生的投资人预计会有2-3年的排期。在提交申请时获批资格已经确定，所以请做好尽职调查并果断决定。 EB-5项目就像山羊，能屈能伸且足智多谋。
Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP会定期就很多移民议题举办免费网络研讨会。 在2015年1月20日的网络研讨会将会与Henley . . . → Read More: EB-5 2015羊年前瞻
By Bernard Wolfsdorf, Esq.
February 19, 2015 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. This will be the Year of the Goat, an animal known for its determination, elegance and good nature. The goat is also known to worry too much and while others impose on it, it is stronger than it seems and . . . → Read More: EB-5 Predictions for 2015 the Year of the Goat
By: Joseph J. Shepherd, Esq.
Several of the President’s initiatives for improving our broken immigration system will provide much needed relief to foreign entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, highly-skilled workers, STEM graduates and students, and the U.S. businesses and investors that require their skills and expertise. More updates and analysis will appear here as further . . . → Read More: Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration: Business Edition
President Obama will address the nation on Immigration Reform, Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 5:00 PM Pacific at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Live where he will unveil his executive action plan on immigration that is projected to affect up to 3 million undocumented immigrants. The President will most likely provide deportation relief for the parents of children who are U.S. . . . → Read More: Executive Action Immigration Reform Imminent
By: Matthew Beatus
In an address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), President Obama announced today that the U.S. and China have come to an agreement to extend the validity periods of business, tourist, and student visas. Currently, these visas are only issued for one-year increments. Under the new agreement, multiple entry business and tourist visas will . . . → Read More: New Agreement Between U.S. and China Extends Validity Period for Business, Tourist, and Student Visas
By Vanessa Sanchez, Esq.
Online registration for the U.S. diversity (DV) immigrant visa program for fiscal year 2016 will begin on October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and will remain open until Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST). As in prior years, the U.S. government has made 50,000 . . . → Read More: DV Lottery Opens October 1, 2014 – 50,000 Green Cards to be Issued
By: Joseph J. Shepherd, Esq.
Beginning Saturday, September 6, 2014, the Department of State will charge new fee amounts for all immigrant visa applications, certain nonimmigrant visa applications in the E and K categories, and for J-1 waiver recommendation applications, among others. The highlights:
Immediate relatives and family-based immigrant visa applicants will see a significant hike in fees . . . → Read More: Department of State Releases New Fee Schedule
By Bernard Wolfsdorf, Esq. (in cooperation with AILA’s EB-5 Committee)
On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Department of State Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, announced that, effective immediately, the EB-5 preference category had become “unavailable” for Chinese applicants. This announcement was made at the sold-out AILA EB-5 Conference in Chicago during the . . . → Read More: China EB-5 “Unavailable” for Remainder of FY2014 – What Does This Mean?
By Jessica L. Marks, Esq.
The August 2014 Visa Bulletin is out and brings some exciting developments in several employment-based categories. The following major movement forward will take place on August 1:
The EB-2 category for those born in China advances three months to October 8, 2009, while the EB-3 category advances 25 months to November 1, 2008! . . . → Read More: Visa Bulletin Updates for August and Some Predictions for the Remainder of the Fiscal Year