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  • Major Developments for the Israeli E-2 Visa

    by Matt Galati | Jun 25, 2018

    After years of fits and starts, Israeli media is now widely reporting that the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee has approved its long-anticipated reciprocal immigration regulations, which was ostensibly the final legal roadblock in allowing American and Israeli Investors opportunity to apply for each other’s investment visas. The news was published in major national media including Globes and The Marker.

    As we explained previously, the Israeli E-2 visa rises from June 2012 legislation signed by then-President Obama which implemented a bilateral investment treaty with Israel. The terms of the implementation required the Israeli government to provide reciprocal immigration status for American investors seeking immigration status in Israel. The Knesset did not approve the reciprocal agreement until August 2014, paving the way for Americans to acquire the Israeli B-5 visa. Despite optimism that the visas would be available to both countries’ investors in early 2017, delays have plagued the rollout process.

    Nevertheless, this month’s positive developments reflect major administrative progress and we are cautiously optimistic that the E-2 nonimmigrant investor visa will soon become available to Israeli nationals. Favored around the world, many technology companies, multinational businesses, and startups have leveraged the E-2 to bring talent to the U.S.  

    We are delighted to offer prospective Israeli E-2 investors and companies a complementary consultation regarding this new opportunity. Contact us today to schedule a time to speak with an experienced member of our team.

  • Green and Spiegel’s Jonathan Grode Named Distinguished Leader by The Legal Intelligencer

    by Mulaho Hassan | Jun 22, 2018

    The oldest daily law journal in the United States, The Legal Intelligencer, has named Green and Spiegel LLC’s U.S. Practice Director Jonathan Grode as a 2018 Distinguished Leader. He will be honored at a ceremony before the Pennsylvania legal community at Philadelphia’s famed Crystal Tea Room on June 27, 2018.

    Each year, The Legal Intelligencer selects Pennsylvania law firm leaders that have “achieved impressive results in the past year and demonstrated clear leadership skills that helped them achieve those results.” Across the entire Commonwealth, Grode was only one of five law firm leaders selected.

    “We are extremely proud of Jonathan,” said Managing Partner Evan Green. “When the firm was looking to expand to the United States six years ago, we knew our firm could make a positive difference, but we had no idea how successful the United States practice would become.  We couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out with Jonathan at the helm.”

    Grode has practiced immigration law since 2009, although he boasts nearly twenty years of professional experience in the field. Notable victories in his legal career include securing U.S. residency for the Assali family, who were stranded outside the United States following the institution of the Travel Ban in January 2017, as well as his work in getting the U.S. State Department to expand the J-1 Visa designation to on-campus accelerators through the InAGrad Program.

    “Jonathan’s direction and leadership is truly outstanding,” said Marc Kaplan, Business Director at Green and Spiegel. “When we first opened our U.S. office in Providence, the two of us were working out of a single small office. In less than six years, we have expanded to twelve attorneys across three offices. He’s made the right hires and found the right clients for sustained success. We look forward to continuing to provide the strongest services to our international clientele under his guidance.”

    Green agrees, noting that the Firm’s reputation has always been among the strongest in Canada, but has quickly risen to become a go-to for clients of all sizes, including Fortune-listed corporations, EB-5 immigrant investors, families seeking reunification, and vulnerable populations in need of humanitarian relief.

    Green and Spiegel was founded in Toronto, Canada in 1962. Although practicing U.S. immigration law since the 1990s, its first U.S. office opened in 2012. Practicing exclusively immigration and nationality law, the firm has offices in Philadelphia, Providence, Rhode Island, and Vail, Colorado.

  • USCIS Changes I-829 Receipt Procedure; Status Now Evidenced For 18 Months Instead of 12

    by Mulaho Hassan | Jun 12, 2018

    USCIS today announced that investors filing Form I-829 to remove their conditions upon residency will now be issued receipt notices evidencing continued status for 18 months past the expiration date of their conditional permanent resident cards. The revised receipt notices will also apply to married couples removing conditions through Form I-751.

    This is a welcome change that will make the condition removal process easier. We have previously reported that Form I-829 processing times are very long and were recently updated to be 29 to 37.5 months. USCIS’ recent Policy Manual update clarified that investors with expired CPR cards may receive ink passport stamps showing ongoing status while Form I-829 is pending.  Taken together, these two developments will significantly alleviate the administrative difficulties associated with long processing times.

    USCIS still has significant work to do, as the relevant immigration laws mandate significantly faster adjudications. Nevertheless, the agency should be applauded for this recent development.

    The lawyers at Green and Spiegel have considerable I-829 experience, including the drafting of Condition Removal Templates, investor representation in problematic cases, and even representation in removal proceedings. Contact us today for more information regarding Form I-829 adjudications and processes. 

  • Matthew Galati Selected to AILA Leadership Positions

    by Mulaho Hassan | Jun 12, 2018

    Green and Spiegel Senior Associate attorney Matthew Galati was recently selected to American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) leadership positions at the local and national levels.

    On May 31, Galati was elected by fellow AILA Philadelphia Chapter members to its Executive Committee. Specifically, Galati will serve during the 2018-19 year as the Chapter’s Treasurer. Galati has held previous positions with the AILA Philadelphia Executive Committee since 2016.

    In June, Galati was named by the AILA President-Elect to the organization’s national Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Committee. As described by AILA, its liaisons and committee members play an integral part in helping AILA achieve its mission to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

    At Green and Spiegel, Galati currently serves as a Senior Associate and head of the Firm’s U.S. Investors and Entrepreneurs Division, dedicated to representing individuals and companies seeking use of foreign investment in the immigration context. He has experience with nearly every aspect of immigration law and focuses the majority of his practice on EB-5-related matters. In addition, Galati regularly represents U.S. in worksite compliance matters and attendant governmental investigations. He also assists foreign nationals of extraordinary ability seek immigration benefits in the U.S.

  • Shocking Report: India EB-2 Backlog Calculated to be 151 Years

    by Mulaho Hassan | Jun 11, 2018

    On June 8, author David Bier of the Cato Institute published a sobering analysis of the employment-based Green Card backlogs for India-born beneficiaries:

    As of April 20, 2018, there were 632,219 Indian immigrants and their spouses and minor children waiting for green cards. The shortest wait is for [EB-1 visas]. The[se] immigrants from India will have to wait “only” six years. EB-3 immigrants—those with bachelor’s degrees—will have to wait about 17 years. The biggest backlog is for EB-2 workers who have advanced degrees. At current rates of visa issuances, they will have to wait 151 years for a green card. Obviously, unless the law changes, they will have died or left by that point.

    To put this in perspective, the Republic of India gained its independence from the United Kingdom only 71 years ago. EB-2 applicants filing today would have to wait over twice as long as the entire history of Indian independence!

    Because current immigration policy counts spouses and children towards preference category allocation, the report notes that over 430,000 India-chargeable applicants are waiting for their EB-2 priority dates to become current.  Based on worldwide demand and per country caps, only 13% of all available EB-2 visas were issued to Indians in 2017. The report notes that EB-2 demand this year is higher, however, throttling advancement in the “Green Card queue” even more.

    Truth be told, no one knows exactly how long wait times will be. Bier himself notes a few caveats with his analysis, such that Indian EB-2 applicants may soon downgrade to EB-3 (the opposite of what was happening a few years ago), and many may give up on U.S. immigration. Indeed, many applicants might consider immigrating elsewhere, such as to Canada; a “substitution effect” of sorts. Some of the petitions may also be duplicates.

    Additional caveats not mentioned in the article that would shorten the wait are that many children will “age out” and thus not be eligible to immigrate as derivatives of their parents, and certain beneficiaries may marry individuals born elsewhere and thus avail themselves of cross-chargeability. What is abundantly clear, however, is that the wait times for Indian-born applicants in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories are prohibitively long to be practical.

    Without significant changes in the law or policy, perhaps the only solutions are immigrating through EB-1 (for the few who have the work histories or accolades to qualify) or EB-5 (for those who have the capital to invest). Regarding the latter, join us on June 19 for an informative webinar regarding EB-5 for Indian investors. We also invite you to contact us today with your inquiries regarding immigration to the U.S. or Canada.

  • June 19: Join Us for Our Webinar With Pathways EB-5

    by Mulaho Hassan | Jun 06, 2018

    On June 19 at Noon EST, Green and Spiegel will host an EB-5 Webinar with Pathways EB-5, a company owning regional centers coast to coast. Click here to register.  

    Our Webinar, “Indian EB-5: A Faster Route to a Green Card”, will focus on the large quota backlogs plaguing India-born immigrants. Within the U.S., thousands of families are stuck in the visa queue waiting for their priority dates to become current in the second- and third-preference employment categories (EB-2 and EB-3). Such families must perennially face H-1B extension filings, which can be costly for employers and the adjudications uncertain amidst a challenging climate. Applicants from abroad accordingly must turn to investment and entrepreneurship, lest they be faced with a potential decades-long wait outside the country. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa is therefore the only realistic and timely solution for many families seeking to relocate to the US permanently.

    Join EB-5 Section Head Matthew T. Galati and Pathways CEO and Immigration Attorney Jeff Campion as the two renowned EB-5 practitioners discuss the ins and outs of the EB-5 visa. Although the presentation will concentrate on India-specific issues, anyone interested in EB-5 is encouraged to attend.

    Click here to register

  • From Our Archives: “For the Indian-born, Entrepreneurship is the Fastest Way to a Green Card”

    by Matt Galati | May 23, 2018

    Over a year ago, we covered the dysfunctionally-long quota backlogs for Indian-born prospective immigrants in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories with our article For the Indian-born, Entrepreneurship is the Fastest Way to a Green Card.

    Since that time, Indian demand for the EB-5 immigrant investor visa has exploded, even generating significant media attention from national outlets such as CNN and CNBC. Meanwhile, the India EB-1 visa faces light retrogression as more and more prospective immigrants seek classification as Multinational Managers and Executives, nevertheless a much more efficient option than India EB-2 or EB-3, ​which require decades of waiting.

    We are excited to announce that in the coming weeks the Firm will produce a webinar focused on how Indian professionals can seek quota relief under these categories, together with special guests. We will announce the details ​on our blog soon and hope you will join us for this  informative discussion.

  • Galati & Grode Once Again Named as Super Lawyers Rising Stars

    by Matt Galati | May 23, 2018

    Green and Spiegel is pleased to announce that U.S. Practice Director Jonathan Grode and Senior Associate Matthew Galati were once again named as “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers magazine. This year marks the seventh straight selection for Grode, who was first named in 2012. Galati was selected for the third time, having received the honor in 2016 and 2017. Their selections were published in the organization’s May 2018 Pennsylvania and Delaware issue and will also be featured in the June 2018 edition of Philadelphia Magazine.

    The goal of Super Lawyers is to provide a current and comprehensive state-by-state catalog of the most outstanding lawyers as a resource for attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. Super Lawyers annually selects attorneys from all firm sizes and over 70 practice areas throughout the United States using a multiphase selection process. This lengthy vetting method includes a combination of independent research alongside peer nominations and evaluations. No more than 5% of attorneys state-wide can be selected as a Super Lawyer, while only 2.5% of attorneys under 40 or practicing law for 10 years or less can be named a Rising Star.

    Grode serves as the Firm’s U.S. Practice Director, managing all operations in the United States and serving as counsel to corporations of all sizes. Galati focuses his practice running the firm’s U.S. Investors and Entrepreneurs Division with a particular emphasis in assisting prospective immigrants and companies navigate the EB-5 visa’s requirements.

    Green and Spiegel is one of North America’s oldest immigration law practices with over 50 years of experience assisting a diverse global clientele and a role as thought leaders on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. The Firm is headquartered in Toronto, Canada with U.S. offices in Philadelphia, PA, Providence, RI, and Vail, CO.

    With a U.S. practice founded in the early 1990s, Green and Spiegel offers a full range of inbound immigration services for employers, temporary workers, individuals and their families. Expanding upon the Firm’s Canadian roots, the U.S. practice represents clients operating in the healthcare, insurance, professional sports, information technology, and many other industries. As a boutique firm, Green and Spiegel also caters to entrepreneurs, investors, and start-ups seeking immigration benefits.

    Web: www.gands.com/us

    Twitter: @GreenSpiegelUS  

  • DHS Postpones Final Action Date on EB-5 Regulations to August 2018

    by Matt Galati | May 09, 2018

    Following attempts by lawmakers to finalize EB-5 regulations last month, the recent release of the Office of Management and Budget Spring 2018 Unified Agenda now estimates the Final Action for sweeping EB-5 regulatory reform to be finalized in August 2018.

    This marks the most recent development in a protracted process that has been seeking finalization since January 2017 when they were released in draft form. As drafted, the regulations would raise the minimum investment amount substantially, as well as curtail present provisions allowing for the liberal designation of Targeted Employment Areas at the state level.

    This proposed date is already ​six months later than the date initially expected for finalization in February 2018.  As we reported previously, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson was urged in a letter from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) to finalize the regulations in April 2018. This letter followed a failed attempt by these lawmakers to enact legislation that would have completely changed the EB-5 program as we know it; and, as we maintained, legislation that would have been not for the better.

    Much remains uncertain. It is still not clear what effect this pressure from lawmakers, or indeed, the many public comments submitted in opposition to the regulations will have on their final form. As DHS has already surpassed one regulatory Final Action date, so too this date may prove to be inaccurate. It is also unclear how long it will take for the reform to take effect whenever the regulations are finalized.

    However, given the likelihood of significant and serious changes to the current regulations, investors considering EB-5 immigration should accordingly act with urgency. Contact our dedicated attorneys today for more information relating to EB-5 immigration.

    Article authored by Catriona Davenport, LLM* Not authorized to practice law.

  • USCIS Provides Important I-829 Policy Update

    by Mulaho Hassan | May 09, 2018

    Earlier this month, USCIS updated the EB-5 section of its Policy Manual with important I-829 Removal of Conditions-related instructions for officers to grant investors evidence of status.

    By way of background, successful EB-5 investors and their families are granted conditional permanent residency for a period of two years. Within 90 days of the expiration of their Green Cards, they must file Form I-829 to remove conditions upon their residency. The regulations provide that upon filing the I-829, residency “shall be extended automatically, if necessary, until such time as [USCIS] has adjudicated the petition.”

    The Immigration and Nationality Act, as well as the regulations, mandate timely adjudication of I-829s. Yet, I-829 processing times are currently published at an absurd 25-30 months. Virtually all applicants therefore will have their conditional Green Cards expire before their I-829s can be adjudicated. This creates a logistical problem for investors and their families who want to travel abroad, apply for a job, or renew a driver’s license.

    The new section to the Policy Manual provides some assistance in this regard:

    D. Extension of Conditional Permanent Residence While Form I-829 is Pending
    USCIS automatically extends the conditional permanent resident status of an immigrant investor and certain dependents for 1 year upon receipt of a properly filed Form I-829.  The receipt notice along with the immigrant’s permanent resident card provides documentation for travel, employment, or other situations in which evidence of conditional permanent resident status is required.

    Within 30 days of the expiration of the automatic 1-year extension, or after expiration, a conditional permanent resident with a pending Form I-829 may take his or her receipt notice to the nearest USCIS field office and receive documentation showing his or her status for travel, employment, or other purposes.

    In such a case, an officer confirms the immigrant’s status and provides the relevant documentation. USCIS continues to extend the conditional permanent resident status until the Form I-829 is adjudicated.

    An immigrant investor whose Form I-829 has been denied may seek review of the denial in removal proceedings. USCIS issues the immigrant a temporary Form I-551 until an order of removal becomes administratively final. An order of removal is administratively final if the decision is not appealed or, if appealed, when the appeal is dismissed by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

    USCIS’s updated policy is accordingly a step forward in the right direction. However, as IIUSA points out, significant problems remain regarding the timely and accurate issuance of receipt notices and the availability of INFOPASS appointments where applicants can meet with immigration officers to obtain temporary I-551 (i.e. lawful permanent residency) stamps in their passport.

    We applaud USCIS for this small, but important step in the right direction. Yet there is much to be done to improve Form I-829 processing.  We have previously advocated for reforms, including the introduction of electronic and template-based I-829 processing (akin to an I-829 exemplar process), which would greatly accelerate adjudication timeframes. As the agency works to clear its processing backlog, hopefully it will take these ideas into consideration.

    The lawyers at Green and Spiegel have considerable I-829 experience, including the drafting of Condition Removal Templates, investor representation in problematic cases, and even representation in removal proceedings. Contact us today for more information regarding Form I-829 adjudications and processes.