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  • Big EB-5 News: Regional Center Program to Be Extended Without Change to December 8; New Regulations May be Finalized by April 2018 (UPDATED)

    by Matt Galati | Sep 11, 2017

    By Matthew Galati

    On the legislative front, this year continues to mirror the previous two, as the EB-5 Regional Center program is virtually certain to be granted a short-term extension until December 8, 2017. There are no substantive changes to be made to the EB-5 requirements.

    Specifically, the program is to be extended through the H.R.601 - Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017 which passed both the U.S. House and Senate by overwhelming margins. The President is expected to sign the bill into law as the extension is part of a larger package where he backed Democratic Party proposals to keep the U.S. government funded and paying its bills. Notably, Congress could enact EB-5 reforms before December 8 as it is poised to take up immigration reform following the announcement that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would be wound down.

    Separate from the legislative front, we have also been covering proposed Administrative EB-5 reforms which would be effectuated through the regulatory process. In the past week, the Office of Management and Budget provided an updated timeline for rulemaking indicating that a finalized regulation will be published in April 2018. The substance of the finalized regulation – virtually certain to raise investment amounts and change the process of targeted employment area designations – remains unclear.

    Our “crystal ball” predicting when reforms will be in place, and what those reforms will be, is still very cloudy. It is important to keep in mind that (1) the regulatory reforms could be published earlier than in April 2018; (2) the rule will almost certainly not go into effect the first day it is published; and (3) further complicating the regulatory process is the possibility of preemptive Congressional action, as discussed above. Accordingly, we recommend that prospective investors contact us soon to discuss their plans and evaluate whether EB-5 immigration is right for their families.

    UPDATE: President Trump has signed the extension into law.
  • La Vida and Green & Spiegel Announce Partnership for EB-5

    by Matt Galati | Aug 10, 2017

    Leading European advisors La Vida recently added EB-5 to their portfolio of Golden Visa offerings, appointing Green and Spiegel as their preferred attorneys to handle client applications.

    La Vida has been promoting second residency and citizenship programs in Europe since 2012 with clients from over 50 countries worldwide. Paul Williams, CEO for La Vida Europe said “we are delighted to be associated with Green and Spiegel. Having met at several conferences internationally when the time came to move forward on EB-5, we knew who to call”.

    Attorney Matthew Galati, Manager of Green and Spiegel’s U.S. Investors and Entrepreneurs Division, echoed these sentiments.

    “We are honored and most pleased to be working with La Vida as they expand their offerings to North America,” said Galati. “The La Vida team is made up of consummate professionals, working abroad to connect potential clients with options for U.S. immigration. Together, we look forward to providing investors and their families the highest quality of services as they embark upon exciting new futures.”

    The European programs are very much geared towards a second residency and a large proportion of La Vida’s clients choose not to live in the country where they invest in real estate. Tax planning, security for the future and more freedom to travel are all key considerations.

    At the same time, La Vida has had demand from its client base of families looking to relocate on a permanent basis to the United States. The EB-5 Program offered one of the most attractive options worldwide for prospective clients given the power of the U.S. Green Card. Unlike some programs in the U.S. and abroad, there is no language requirement for EB-5, nor is any pre-existing management experience required. The U.S. also boasts favorable business opportunities and education offerings.

    “The EB-5 minimum investment amount is within range for many of our clients,” said Williams. “At $500,000 USD, it came in below some of our key offerings in Europe, including the Portugal Golden Visa program and enables us to offer a more varied choice for our clients.”

    La Vida’s roots are in the Portuguese Golden Visa program, which has proved to be one of the more attractive residency investment programs in Europe. By investing €500,000 in real estate, applicants can gain residency through which a residency card allows freedom of travel throughout the EU Schengen zone. After six years of holding residency, the applicant and their family can apply for citizenship and a European passport.

    Portugal attracts over 2,000 applications each year compared to 10,000 total visas through EB-5, which has grown in demand significantly since 2007.

    Through the EB-5 program, prospective immigrants must make a qualifying investment into a new commercial enterprise which will create jobs for American workers. For many without family or employment ties, EB-5 provides a relatively straightforward path to a Green Card. After five years of residency and meeting certain other requirements such as good moral character, permanent residents may obtain U.S. citizenship.

    “Obtaining residency or a second citizenship can at first seem overwhelming and an uncertain process,” said Galati. “But through EB-5, investors and their families can largely control their own destinies and do so in a predictable timeframe, compared to other U.S. immigration routes. Further, the program is a win-win for immigrants and the American economy more generally given that the centerpiece of EB-5 is job creation.”

    Headquartered in Toronto, Green and Spiegel has represented investors and entrepreneurs seeking immigration benefits since its founding in 1962. The firm has practiced U.S. immigration law since the early 1990s and boasts three American offices exclusively practicing inbound immigration. With a staff of over 100 professionals capable of assisting clients in over 30 languages, Green and Spiegel takes great pride in helping individuals and businesses succeed by connecting them with the right immigration programs based on their needs and circumstances.

  • More Pessimism Regarding the Israeli E-2 as Delays in Implementation Continue

    by Niki Edwards | Aug 08, 2017

    By: Matthew Galati

    This year has proven to be a series of false starts for prospective Israeli E-2 investors.

    In January, we expressed optimism that after years of waiting the E-2 visa for Israeli nationals was finally moving forward. In April, we tempered our expectations by reporting how the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) that certain regulatory reciprocity requirements had not been met. Because the Israeli government’s first regulatory draft was perceived to be unfair to U.S. investors seeking the E-2 equivalent in Israel, DOS had not yet opened the visa for Israelis. DOS projected that the E-2 would not become available until October at the earliest.

    But perhaps DOS’ projections were also too optimistic. Stakeholders are now bracing for additional delays due to lack of Israeli action to fix the noncompliant regulations. A friend of our Firm reports the following from discussions with knowledgeable State Department officers:

    Earlier this year, DOS reviewed regulations drafted by Israel for creating a visa category, reciprocal to the E-2, for American investors. DOS was not satisfied that the proposed regulations sufficiently reflected the benefits available to foreign investors under the E-2 classification, and returned them to the Israeli government with detailed comments and suggestions.

    Because the expectation was that the Israeli government would promptly rework the proposed regulations, DOS informed AILA at the Spring AILA/DOS Liaison Meeting that "we anticipate that E-2 visas will be available for nationals of Israel by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2017."

    This expectation has proven overly optimistic: The Israeli government has apparently not even begun the regulatory redraft. Accordingly, the anticipated timeframe given to us by DOS will likely not be met.

    When the reworked regulations are eventually sent back to DOS, they will again be reviewed for consistency with the provisions of the E-2 classification. If, this time, DOS is satisfied that the Israeli regulations faithfully parallel the E-2 provisions, the two governments will finalize arrangements for the birth of a new era in bilateral investor relations.

    The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv continues to report that the E-2 is not in effect. We are disappointed to hear this news and hope that a suitable regulatory redraft will be soon be undertaken and accomplished, opening the doors for international investment and economic growth in both countries.

    Presently, Israelis without dual nationality may only avail themselves of the E-1 treaty trader visa, which requires companies to engage in substantial international trade to qualify. Additionally, a majority of the trade must be with Israel, disqualifying many entrepreneurs seeking to utilize the visa for more “domestic purposes”.

    Israeli applicants accordingly would need to acquire a second nationality that holds an E-2 treaty with the United States, such as Grenada, which provides citizenship by investment.

    We will continue to keep our readers updated with future developments relating to the E-2 implementation. Contact us today to discuss immigration options relating to your investment in the United States.

  • Green and Spiegel’s Matthew Galati Co-Authors Article with CanAm’s Walter Gindin for EB-5 Investors Magazine

    by Niki Edwards | Aug 04, 2017

    Manager of Green and Spiegel’s U.S. Investors and Entrepreneurs Division, Matthew Galati recently co-authored an article for EB-5 Investors Magazine with CanAm Enterprises’ Director, In-house Immigration Counsel, Walter Gindin. The article, "Most importantly, the EB-5 Submission Must be Credible", stresses the importance of honesty and thoroughly documenting EB-5 submissions in the I-526, I-924, and I-829 contexts.

    Gindin and Galati argue that USCIS values the level of credibility presented in EB-5 filings as the most important element of adjudication. Immigration counsel’s role is to “maintain a fanatical devotion to ensuring the petition is presented consistently and substantiated across thousands of pages.”

    In this article, the two investment immigration attorneys reviewed analogous federal court decisions addressing the issue of applicant credibility and covered common pitfalls in the EB-5 process. The co-authors further discussed the best practices in approaching EB-5 filings to ensure the chances of successful adjudication. More specifically, the article addresses how to avoid supplemental Requests for Evidence (RFE) and/or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID), each commonly issued when the USCIS questions a Petitioner or Regional Center’s credibility.

    Founded in 1962, Green and Spiegel is one of North America’s oldest and largest immigration law firms, assisting entrepreneurially-minded immigrants achieve their immigration goals for over five decades. Led by five partners. 17 associates and a supporting team of over 100 individuals, the Firm offers solutions for the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, as well as representation for Canada’s Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Green and Spiegel also assists investors seeking immigration benefits in Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Spain, and Portugal.

    CanAm Enterprises, LLC (CanAm), has more than 30 years of experience in promoting and administering private and government immigration-linked investment funds. In 1987, CanAm had its beginning in Canada’s Business Immigrant Investment Program (BIIP). Beginning in 2002, CanAm shifted its focus to the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Since then, it has had designated or reaffirmed seven Regional Centers that have cumulatively raised more than $2.5 billion in EB-5 capital for 54 projects, representing over 5,000 immigrant investor families.

     

     

     

  • EB-5 China Quota backlog now 10 years long? Time to look to the Grenadian Passport and E-2 Visa for Some Relief!

    by Niki Edwards | Aug 04, 2017

    By: Matthew Galati (马修 加拉蒂) 

    The EB-5 Program continues to be a popular option for foreign investors wishing to immigrate with their families to the United States. But it might now be too popular for Chinese-born investors. According to the USCIS 2017 Ombudsman Report, as of September 2016 “there are just over 10,000 approved investor petitions awaiting an…immigrant visa” The high demand for EB-5 filing has created a visa backlog since 2014. In the report, USCIS estimates that the backlog for Chinese nationals to receive conditional residency is now 10 years or longer.

    USCIS’ sobering news further highlights the need for alternatives. As we have mentioned before, Chinese investors can alleviate the pain of the EB-5 quota backlog by obtaining an E-2 Nonimmigrant Investor Visa through Grenadian citizenship. The E-2 visa can be issued for a period of five years, with no limit on the number of E-2 visa extensions that one might secure. Spouses and dependent children can obtain their own E-2 visas, which allow them to work in the U.S. and attend public or private school until the age of 21, respectively.

    Only citizens of countries that have treaties with the U.S. are able to apply for an E-2 visa. While China does not have an E-2 treaty with the U.S.,  Grenada is the only country in the world that offers citizenship by investment and also holds an E-2 treaty with the United States. The processing period for obtaining Grenadian citizenship and then an E-2 visa takes mere months, enabling a family to reside in the U.S. while their EB-5 priority dates become current. Families which have already filed EB-5 petitions are not precluded from applying.

    Contact us today for more information:

    mgalati@gands-us.com

    WeChat: mgalati

  • Grenada Liberalises Passport Policy to accommodate Muslim Citizens

    by Niki Edwards | Aug 03, 2017

    In a progressive move, the government of Grenada has announced a new measure that will permit Muslim women to wear the traditional hijab headscarf in official passport photos and identification. This legislature is a testament to the Eastern Caribbean island’s promotion of Western democracy and social inclusion. It similarly provides yet another reason why immigrant investors across the globe continue to chose Grenada's CBI program.

    For more information on Grenada, please contact us here

  • Green and Spiegel's MATTHEW GALATI TO LEAD INTERNATIONAL EB-5 CONFERENCE AND PANEL IN VIETNAM AND TAIWAN

    by Niki Edwards | Jul 24, 2017

    Senior Associate Attorney and Manager of the Firm’s U.S. Investors and Entrepreneurs Division, Matthew Galati (马修 加拉蒂) has been invited to provide his expertise in international migration for two major EB-5 conferences in East Asia this week. 

    On July 26, Matthew will be a featured guest speaker of the EB-5 panel in Taipei at the ILW Taiwan Expo 2017. ILW.com is major immigration law publisher and provider of the largest content repository of immigration materials online.  

    On July 28, Matthew will be leading the conference in Ho Chi Minh City for the ILW Vietnam Expo 2017.  After China, Vietnam is the 2nd largest EB-5 market and continues to grow steadily this year as well. 

    Green and Spiegel offers a multitude of international immigration services to clients across East Asia, and holds language capacities to cater to Chinese and Vietnamese investors. For more information, please contact us here

  • TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SET TO DISCARD INTERNATIONAL ENTREPRENEUR PAROLE RULE

    by Niki Edwards | Jul 23, 2017

    In what will surely be a blow to the tech industry, which relies heavily on foreign-owned start-up companies as innovators and job creators, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to effectively dismantle the International Entrepreneur Rule promulgated by the Obama administration on January 17, 2017. 

     As described in greater detail in our previous blog post, the International Entrepreneur Rule would have provided a temporary “parole” status for certain foreign nationals whose start up business demonstrated the potential for rapid growth and job creation.  U.S. Immigration law does not currently provide for a start-up visa, so the International Entrepreneur rule would have filled a critical need in our immigration system, especially for those individuals not yet able to qualify for an E-2 investor visa or a National Interest Waiver. 

     The International Entrepreneur Rule was proposed on August 31, 2016.  The final rule was published on January 17, 2017, and set to go into effect on July 17, 2017.  Citing the Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13767 - prescribing improvements to border security and immigration enforcement - DHS has announced its intention to delay the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Rule until March 14, 2018, and to ultimately rescind the International Entrepreneur rule and eliminate the parole entirely.  

     Although we are disappointed in the announcement by DHS, Green and Spiegel’s mission to facilitate investment by foreign nationals in the United States remains undeterred.  If your company is now affected by the rescinding of the International Entrepreneur Parole Rule, contact us today to discuss potential alternative options. 

  • USCIS IPO Adds EB-5 Suggested Order of Documentation

    by Niki Edwards | Jul 21, 2017

    By: Matthew Galati (马修 加拉蒂)

    The USCIS Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) recently update the EB-5 Resources website with a comprehensive list of application materials for the EB-5 application process.

    For Form I-526,  Form I-829, and Form I-924, ​all evidentiary types to accompany the filings are now itemized in sequential order. USCIS has similarly done this in other high-volume filing contexts, such as the H-1B cap season filings. Utilizing checklists and sequential order of documentation is similarly done for other programs, such as in the QIIP and Grenada CBI programs.

    Hopefully, these new suggestions will be of great assistance to adjudicators and help reduce the lengthy processing times. We applaud USCIS for being proactive in this matter.

    That being said, the presentation of evidence in this matter is not mandatory, only recommended. USCIS’ format will not match most existing templates in any event. We also think their sequencing in the I-526 context is a bit cumbersome and not ideal.

    Specifically, the agency wants to see evidence of investment in Section 7 (of 12) and evidence of lawful source of funds in Section 8. This makes sequential exhibit numbering difficult for petition templates, as the number of exhibits will vary from investor to investor. We have always found that the better practice is to organize static project documents in the beginning of template filings and allow for investor-specific documentation to be provided at the end.

    Contact us today for any questions relating to your EB-5 immigration or use of immigrant investor funds for your project.

  • Green and Spiegel’s Matthew Galati Opines on Inaccurate USCIS Data in The Real Deal Interview

    by Matt Galati | Jun 22, 2017

    U.S. Investors and Entrepreneurs Division manager Matthew Galati was featured in a June 21, 2017 article published in The Real Deal, “Government releases crucial EB-5 data – but beware, it could be full of flaws.”  The article discusses how USCIS had recently published I-526 and I-829 performance data by Regional Center, but was viewed by many stakeholders as ​providing inaccurate information.

    In the​ interview, Matt stressed that prospective immigrants should not use the data to make any decisions as to where to invest because the accuracy of I-526/I-829 figures was called into question. “My advice to investors is this data doesn’t change anything,” he said. “If the data is inaccurate, it can’t be relied upon, and I would discard it completely.”

    By June 22, 2017, USCIS had removed the data.

    Founded in 2003, The Real Deal is a New-York based real estate website described by the New York Post as "the hot sheet for NYC real estate professionals." The publication frequently covers EB-5 developments on a nationwide basis given the usage of the program by developers. 

    For more information regarding ​whether the EB-5 visa is right for your family or whether raising immigrant capital is right for your business, contact Matt at mgalati@gands-us.com.