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April 2015
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UNDERSTANDING EB-5 CUT-OFF DATES & RETROGRESSION

By Bernard Wolfsdorf, Esq

Our office will host a FREE webinar on Thursday, April 16 at 7 pm Pacific/10 pm Eastern [10 am April 17, Beijing time].  Simultaneous Chinese translation will be provided. During the webinar we will be able to answer your questions.

Register here

1. WHAT IS THE “QUOTA BACKLOG”?

The Immigration and Nationality Act sets limits on how many green card visas may be issued each Fiscal Year (October 1 through September 30) in all visa categories.  The law provides that no one country may have more than a specific percentage of the total number of visas available annually.  If these limits are exceeded in a particular category, for a particular nationality, a waiting list is created and applicants are placed on the list according to the date of their case filing.  This date is called a “Priority Date.”  The priority date is the single, most important, factor in any immigration case.

2. WHAT IS THE “PRIORITY DATE”?

For EB-5 applications, the priority date is established on the date USCIS receives your I-526 petition.

3. WHY IS THE PRIORITY DATE IMPORTANT?

In order for an individual to obtain an immigrant visa, a visa number must be available to you. This is referred to as the priority date being “current.” The priority date is current if there is no backlog in the category, or if the priority date is on or before the date listed as current in the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin. This Bulletin is accessible at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin.html. You may sign up online to have the Visa Bulletin automatically e-mailed to you by the State Department each month.

4. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VISA CATEGORY BEING “U” (UNAVAILABLE) AND “MM/DD/YY” (QUOTA BACKLOG)?

Unavailable means that there are no more visas available at all for the month.  If there is a date noted (i.e. 05-01-13), it is considered to be the cut-off date, and that means that there is a “quota backlog”.  Only individuals who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date i.e. 04-30-13 may move forward with the permanent resident process.

5. WHAT DOES “C” MEAN?

“Current” – this means that there is no quota backlog in this category.

6. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “CURRENT”?

If there is a “C” in your employment-based (EB) category on the Visa Bulletin, then there is no quota backlog and you may proceed with your I-485 adjustment application or immigrant visa application.

7. IF THE VISA BULLETIN SHOWS A DATE OF 05-01-13 AND MY PRIORITY DATE IS 05-01-13, IS MY PRIORITY DATE CURRENT?

No.  In order for the priority date to be current, it must be a date prior to the date published in the visa bulletin.

8. HOW OFTEN DO THE BACKLOGS CHANGE AND WILL THEY IMPROVE?

Each month, the State Department issues the visa bulletin, usually in the middle of the month.  When the bulletin is issued, it will provide information that will take effect on the first day of the following month.  (i.e., on 05-09-15, the DOS will release the dates effective as of 06-1-15).  Depending on the availability of immigrant visas, the priority dates in each category and for each country can change each month.  However, please note that the priority dates can also stay the same.  They can move very slowly or progress by several months or even by years.  They can move forward or backward.  Therefore, it is very hard to anticipate what the priority date will be in a future month or when a category will become current.

9. THE CUT-OFF DATE IS MAY 1, 2013. DOES THIS MEAN THAT IT WILL TAKE 2 YEARS BEFORE THE PRIORITY DATE WILL BECOME CURRENT?

No.  It all depends on how many visas are used, it could take 2 ½ years, or maybe 3 years.  Please see the answer to the above question.

10. VISA AVAILABILITY IS BASED ON COUNTRY. IS THAT COUNTRY OF CITIZENSHIP OR COUNTRY OF BIRTH?

Your country of birth is what determines your country of chargeability.

11. MY SPOUSE WAS BORN IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY THAN I WAS. SINCE THE I-485 IS BASED ON MY INVESTMENT, DOES MY SPOUSE’S COUNTRY OF BIRTH HELP ME?

Your spouse’s country of birth may also be used to determine chargeability.  For instance, if you were born in China (mainland), but your spouse was born in Taiwan and there is a quota backlog for China (mainland), but no quota backlog for Taiwan in your preference category, you and your spouse may proceed with your immigrant process based on your spouse’s country of birth.  Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are charged separately from Hong Kong.  However, your child’s country of birth cannot be used to determine chargeability.

EB-5 PRACTICE ADVISORY CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CHINA EB-5 CUT-OFF DATE

By Bernard Wolfsdorf, Esq.

Bernard Wolfsdorf & Charlie Oppenheim (Chief, Visa Control)
IIUSA Conference Washington, D.C. April 13, 2015

Our office will host a FREE webinar on Thursday, April 16 at 7 pm Pacific/10 pm Eastern [10 am April 17, Beijing time].  Simultaneous Chinese translation will be provided. During the webinar we will be able to answer . . . → Read More: EB-5 PRACTICE ADVISORY CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CHINA EB-5 CUT-OFF DATE

China EB-5 Cut-off Update-May 2015 or June 2015 that is the Question?

By Bernard Wolfsdorf, Esq.

The Department of State April Visa Bulletin has now clearly stated that, “The establishment of [the China EB-5 cut-off] date can be expected no later than June [2015]”. Item D of the February 2015 Visa Bulletin advised that the expected increase in demand would require the establishment of a cut-off date during the . . . → Read More: China EB-5 Cut-off Update-May 2015 or June 2015 that is the Question?

EB-5 HOT TOPICS – THE IMPACT OF CHINESE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS; AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE IMPENDING VISA QUOTA CUT-OFF DATE, OR “RETROGRESSION”.

By Bernard Wolfsdorf, Esq.

Introduction

Two events have recently impacted the popular EB-5 program and many are anxious to understand their impact. The Chinese economy has slowed from a dizzying double digit annual GDP growth rate, down to about 7.5% and, as a result, real estate prices have slowed. In addition, the anti-corruption campaign has caused anxiety among . . . → Read More: EB-5 HOT TOPICS – THE IMPACT OF CHINESE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS; AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE IMPENDING VISA QUOTA CUT-OFF DATE, OR “RETROGRESSION”.

Awaiting Executive Actions on Business Immigration: Potential Alternatives to H-1B

By: Joseph J. Shepherd, Esq.

It has been over 3 months since the President and the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor published their initial statements and affirmations of their intended business immigration reform efforts.  While USCIS recently announced its final rule amending the regulations to permit certain H-4 spouses to apply for EADs starting in late . . . → Read More: Awaiting Executive Actions on Business Immigration: Potential Alternatives to H-1B

Unrestricted Employment Authorization Now Available to Certain H-1B Dependent Spouses Effective May 26, 2015

By: Gerry Tzekova, Esq.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced this week that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-1B dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants. The rule will go into effect on May 26, 2015 and will provide work permits upon application for H-4 spouses . . . → Read More: Unrestricted Employment Authorization Now Available to Certain H-1B Dependent Spouses Effective May 26, 2015

California DMV Update – 415,000 “AB 60” driver license exams in the first month

By Richard Yemm, Esq.

This week, the California DMV released new statistics regarding implementation of Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60) since the law went into effect on January 2, 2015.

Under the new “AB 60” law, applicants who are unable to provide proof of legal presence in the United States may still be able to obtain a driver’s . . . → Read More: California DMV Update – 415,000 “AB 60” driver license exams in the first month

H-1B Season on the Horizon—The Time to Prepare is Now!

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 . . . → Read More: H-1B Season on the Horizon—The Time to Prepare is Now!

EB-5 2015羊年前瞻

由伯纳德▪沃尔夫斯多夫律师撰写

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。

原因如下:

2014财年,约有11000新的I-526申请,代表了55亿的新投资,比上年同期增长72%, 由于EB-5项目涉及至少5-7年的交易量,这是200亿到250亿的投资。
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。

2015羊年的行动计划

如果I-526申请提交的时间太接近孩子的21周岁生日,作为受益人的孩子会有超龄危险,请考虑基于目前USCIS指导方针提交加速处理请求 。
如果您还没有递交EB-5申请,但有18周岁以上的孩子,考虑让孩子作为主申请人提交申请。
如果您的申请已被批准,并有未满21周岁孩子作为受益者,根据儿童保护法,一定要采取以下措施“锁定”孩子的年龄:填写提交DS-260,并支付国务院费用账单,或者如果可能的话,提交境内调整身份申请。
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。

结论

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

EB-5 Predictions for 2015 the Year of the Goat

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