Back to Top skip to main content
 
 
Green and Spiegel - An Immigration Law Firm
Menu
  • Matthew T. Galati Wins Legal Intelligencer 2019 Professional Excellence Award

    by Esther Dressler | Apr 12, 2019

    GandS US Award Twitter 3 

    Green and Spiegel congratulates Matthew T. Galati, who has just received a 2019 Professional Excellence Award and named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by The Legal Intelligencer.

    Philadelphia, PA: On April 08, 2019 The Legal Intelligencer announced the Professional Excellence Award winners. These awards recognize the work and achievements of law firms and attorneys within the Pennsylvania legal community each year. There are ten categories of Professional Excellence, and Matthew Galati of Green and Spiegel was one of twenty five recipients of the “Lawyers on the Fast Track Award.” He will be honored at a ceremony on June 27, 2019 at Philadelphia’s famed Crystal Tea Room.

    “Lawyers on the Fast Track” recognizes the next generation of legal leaders by honoring Pennsylvania-based lawyers under the age of 40. Nominees are evaluated by an impartial judging panel, made up of members of the Pennsylvania legal community and only the highest ranking composite scores receive the honor.

    When asked about Matt’s accomplishment, U.S. practice director of Green and Spiegel Jonathan Grode said, “Matt is definitely on the fast-track. He has deftly carved out a practice niche that has provided tremendous growth for the Firm. What impresses me most about Matt is that he never rests on his laurels. He is always looking for ways to expand his practice and identify cutting edge areas of immigration law. We are proud of Matt and have no doubt that this success will continue”.

    At the age of 33, Matthew Galati is recognized as a rising star within the immigration law community, specifically in the representation of immigrant investors. In 2016 Matthew joined Green and Spiegel and expanded its EB-5 practice group over twenty-fold in less than three years, becoming one of the most recognized EB-5 firms in the United States. Earlier this year, Matthew was named a “Top 25 Immigration Attorney” by EB-5 Investors Magazine. His practice areas also include nonimmigrant investors, corporate counseling, litigation, and worksite compliance (Form I-9 and E-Verify).

    The Legal Intelligencer is the oldest daily law journal in the United States.Within the Professional Excellence Awards, there are ten categories, including Attorney of the Year, Distinguished Leaders, Lifetime Achievement, Litigation Departments, GC Impact, Best Mentors, Power Players, Law Firm Innovators, Unsung Heroes, and Lawyers on the Fast Track. Jonathan Grode won the 2018 Distinguished Leader Award last year, making this Green and Spiegel’s second consecutive Professional Excellence Award.

    ABOUT: Green and Spiegel is one of the world’s oldest immigration law practices specializing in North American immigration law. From large corporate employee transfers to difficult family sponsorships and humanitarian applications for permanent residence, Green and Spiegel can help. With top legal minds in corporate employee transfers, removal/deportation, immigrant investment, family immigration, immigration compliance, and resolving inadmissibility issues, the professionals at Green and Spiegel have been recognized as industry leaders.

  • Israeli E-2 Visas Confirmed for May 1, 2019

    by Esther Dressler | Apr 11, 2019

    The Israeli E-2 visa will soon become a reality. As reported by our office in late March, the long-awaited treaty investor agreement between the United States and Israel was expected to become effective in just few short weeks.  As an update, the U.S. Embassy has now confirmed that Israeli E-2 visa applications will be accepted as of Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

    Pursuant to the treaty, Israeli citizens will be able to apply for an E-2 visa at the U.S. Embassy Branch Office, Tel Aviv. A formal ceremony marking this historic accomplishment is tentatively scheduled to take place on Monday, May 6, 2019, with Ambassador Friedman as the keynote speaker.

    The E-2 visa provides relatively fast entry into the U.S. by allowing applicants the opportunity to apply directly to a consulate abroad with no petition to USCIS needed. For a country with as many burgeoning businesses and startups as Israel, it provides a fantastic option for Israelis looking to direct or develop their company in the United States.

    Contact us today to prepare for the opening of the E-2 visa to Israelis.

  • EB-5 Visa Demand Slows in Early 2019; Launching Vietnam Forward and Calling Into Question Whether India Retrogression Will Take Effect This Fiscal Year

    by Esther Dressler | Apr 02, 2019

    Last fall, we covered perhaps the most important EB-5 development of the year, DOS’ Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division Charles “Charlie” Oppenheim’s projections for various countries’ EB-5 visa backlog times, based on an October 2018 filing. Of particular note were longer than expected wait times for Mainland China and Vietnam, and a warning to the industry to brace for India’s backlog to begin “no later than July 2019.”

    However, more recent data calls these projections into question. As per the April Visa Bulletin,“Final Action Date movement in many Family-sponsored and Employment-based preference categories continues to be greater than might ordinarily be expected, and this is anticipated to continue for at least the next few months. This is a direct result of fewer applicants proceeding to final action on their cases at consular posts abroad and USCIS Offices.”

    Further, each month, the American Immigration lawyers Association (AILA) publishes a “Check-in with DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim” (paywalled) that is “designed to keep members informed of Visa Bulletin progress and to obtain his analysis of current trends and future projections, beyond the basic visa availability updates provided in the monthly Visa Bulletin.” The latest edition had vitally important information for EB-5 applicants from high demand countries:

    EB-5:

    In the April 2019 Visa Bulletin, the Final Action Date for EB-5 China advances one week to September 15, 2014. In China, the Consulate in Guangzhou is trying to get scheduling up to speed following the recent periods in which the EB-5 I5 and R5 programs were not authorized.

    A decrease in the level of expected demand is occurring for other countries as well. It is possible that applicants held off submitting documents while awaiting the reauthorization of EB-5 (I5 and R5) programs. Charlie expects the demand levels to increase again, as a result of the recent reauthorization. Charlie mentioned that EB-5 Vietnam has slightly less demand in the weekly groupings and is better positioned to advance. The Final Action Date included in the April 2019 Visa Bulletin for EB-5 Vietnam is August 22, 2016.

    Charlie previously expected EB-5 India to reach its per country limit by July 2019. However, he is no longer certain that will happen. He is watching the demand data and should have a better sense of the number usage within a few weeks. The decline in demand mentioned above, possibly resulting from reauthorization concerns, makes it difficult for Charlie to estimate how many additional numbers may be used by "high demand" EB-5 countries.

    This presents a puzzle for stakeholders. Form I-526 petitions and the number of prospective immigrants in the visa queue continue to be robust. What could be causing this immigrant visa slowdown, and perhaps the delay of the onset of Indian EB-5 retrogression until the next fiscal year?

    We have one theory. Since the Regional Center Program’s expiration in December and the ensuing government shutdown, combined with short-term reauthorizations, the Visa Bulletins for three months (January, February, and March) have stated that the EB-5 Regional Center category visas (I5/R5) were unavailable, notwithstanding multiple legislative extensions. Our firm (and anecdotally several of our peers in the industry) have had administrative difficulties in moving cases through the National Visa Center. Citing the then-current Visa Bulletin, many of its employees claimed I5/R5 visas were not available notwithstanding legislative reauthorization. Only a few of our clients were able to successfully process their immigrant visas during that time.

    The April Visa Bulletin indicates that the category is reauthorized and, accordingly, we are already seeing cases moving forward in the normal course. Our theory is that EB-5 visa demand has NOT subsided; but merely that processing the cases had slowed down. It remains to be seen whether the consulates will “catch up” over the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

    No one knows for certain how long backlog times will be as family sizes change over time and many cases are denied / withdrawn/ revoked. We would continue to advise our India-chargeable clients to brace for retrogression, although perhaps its onset may be delayed for several months.

    None of these developments profoundly affect other worldwide chargeable investors (e.g. Canada, the U.K.) Contact us today for more information relating to EB-5 and whether it is an appropriate solution for your family’s U.S. immigration needs.

  • 2018: A Record Year for Grenada Citizenship by Investment

    by Esther Dressler | Apr 02, 2019

    Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme allows individuals and their families to obtain citizenship or permanent residence for the island country through making investments in the local economy. Investors dismayed by longer wait times or onerous financial commitments in other countries have increasingly looked to Grenada as a viable option for them and their families. And, of course, Grenadian citizenship may also allow one to qualify for an E-2 visa.

    Since it’s founding, the program has grown tremendously in scale, reaching unprecedented levels in popularity in both investors and funds raised for the country in 2018. Recently published figures reveal the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme granted 851 passports in 2018, a 21% increase on the year before, and raised EC$ 147 million (US$ 54 million) in income, a 25.8% improvement.

    Clearly, word is getting out about the significant advantages that Grenadian citizenship offers investors. Both in terms of the benefits that the citizenship itself provides, such as access to universal healthcare and reputable universities, as well as the access to different visa opportunities in countries worldwide. Understanding this strong trend, our office has made a concerted effort to connect with local experts and government officials in order to provide our clientele with expertise and leadership on how to navigate the program.

    Since the program’s relaunch in 2014, a total of 2,080 individuals have obtained Grenadian citizenship by virtue of their participation in the program. During the same period, main applicants filed 875 applications, of which the Grenada authorities approved 615 and rejected 57 (an overall rejection rate of 8.4%), indicating that a further 203 applications still await adjudication.

    Investment type preferences have remained virtually unchanged for the last two years; 34% of applicants opted for the program’s approved project option (36% did so in 2017), while 66% elected the transformation fund option (64% the year prior). A new, somewhat hybrid option, was recently made available.

    To find out more about the Citizenship by Investment Program in Grenada, its benefits, and to assess your qualifications, please contact ​us to arrange a consultation.

  • Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme Opens New Tourism Pricing Reduction

    by Esther Dressler | Apr 02, 2019

    Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme makes it possible for those who invest in Grenada’s economy or real estate development to gain citizenship, and the associated benefits that come with it such as a relatively powerful passport and the potential E-2 visa availability. Now, the ability for certain investors to realize this potential opportunity will be less expensive.

    In March, the Grenadian Parliament approved amendments to the Act, to offer what it considers to be a more attractive range of benefits to investors, while simultaneously spurring government priorities. We consider this to be a win/win dynamic that will likely spark more interest from investors.

    Of particular note, the regulation amendment permits a new pricing option for investments in qualified Approved Projects in the Tourism Accommodation sector. Conventionally, Grenada has offered three options under its Citizenship by Investment Programme:

    1. The first option is to make a contribution to the country’s “National Transformation Fund” or “NTF.” This option requires a one-time payment of $200,000 (for a family of 4 applicants) or $150,000 (for an individual applicant). The payment is only made upon approval of the application, however applicants receive no return on this investment.
    2. The second option requires making an investment of at least $350,000 in a pre-approved real estate project.
    3. The third option is to make a “significant investment,” that is of considerable benefit to the Grenadian economy and will also help to create or continue employment opportunities for local citizens. This option is relatively less common.

    This new option could be considered a hybrid of #1 and #2, above. Under the new price option, certain Approved Projects in the Tourism Accommodation sector may offer investors a new, less expensive, qualifying investment option. Applicants investing in the Tourism Accommodation sector can co-own a single unit with at least one additional applicant. Each of the main applicants must pay a minimum price of $220,000 USD, plus the government contribution fee of at least $50,000 USD.

    The relevant government announcements are attached to this blog. To find out more about the Citizenship by Investment Program in Grenada, its benefits, and to assess your qualifications, please contact ​us to arrange a consultation

  • The Israeli E-2 Visa Is Expected to Go Live on May 1, 2019

    by Esther Dressler | Mar 20, 2019

    We have tracked the roll-out of the Israeli E-2 visa for several years. Implementation may finally take effect in just six weeks’ time, according to the Israeli office of Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA). This news was first reported by Kan-Tor & Acco, a well-regarded Israeli law firm based in Ramat Gan. The corresponding Israeli B-5 visa is also expected to be available to U.S. citizens on May 1.

    The E-2 visa allows eligible foreign nationals to enter the United States to direct and develop an enterprise – whether it be an expansion of an existing business outside the United States or a new business being formed – as long as there is a “substantial” investment. The E-2 visa can also be used to hire foreign nationals possessing a passport matching the ultimately ownership of the enterprise in the United States as Managers, Executives, Supervisory, or Essential Skills employees.

    The E-2 visa provides relatively fast entry into the U.S. by allowing applicants the opportunity to apply directly with a consulate abroad with no petition to USCIS needed.

    The treaty investor visa program should make it easier for Israeli companies, especially start-ups, to acquire U.S. work visas where previously they would have previously struggled to do so. Favored around the world, many technology companies, multinational businesses, and startups have leveraged the E-2 to bring talent to the U.S.  

    We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates to our readers once an official announcement is made by the U.S. embassy. Contact us today to prepare for the potential opening of the E-2 visa to Israelis.

  • Matthew Galati Quoted in Bloomberg Law Article EB-5 Regulations at OMB

    by Esther Dressler | Feb 28, 2019

    Original article available at: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/immigrant-investor-visa-to-see-changes-after-congress-inaction 

    On Feb. 25, 2019, Matthew Galati, who leads Green and Spiegels U.S. Investors and Entrepreneurs Division, was quoted in “Immigrant Investor Visa to See Regulatory Changes Soon,” printed by Bloomberg ​Law.

    Published this week, Matt commented on concerns that the regulations impose. The main concern is the increase in investment amounts, which would create massive disruptions in the marketplace. It would likely result in a rush to file visa petitions before the new requirements kick in. Once in effect, the higher amounts are likely to drive down demand for the visas.

    Matt also mentioned concerns about the proposal to shift the TEA determination to the USCIS from the states. With recent reports about ever-increasing processing times at the agency, he noted that there is a danger that projects aren’t going to be able to get their offering documents ready.

    Bloomberg Law helps legal professionals provide world-class counsel with access to actionable legal intelligence in a business context. They deliver a unique combination of practical guidance, comprehensive primary and secondary source material, trusted news, time-saving practice tools and analytics, market data and business intelligence. A copy of the article is attached to this post.

    Reproduced with permission. Published Feb. 25, 2019. Copyright 2019 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>​

  • New EB-5 Regulations Expected Soon as USCIS Finalizes Rule and Sends Text to OMB

    by Esther Dressler | Feb 25, 2019

    For over two years, we’ve extensively covered USCIS’ proposed EB-5 Modernization Rule. On Friday, February 22, USCIS formally completed its revisions to the proposed rule via the notice and comment process, sending its draft of the Final Rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). There is no published timetable for OMB’s assessment and publishing of the Final Rule into the Federal Register.

    As proposed, the EB-5 Modernization Rule would raise minimum investment amounts to at least US $1.35 million, sharply curtail which locations could qualify as a “Targeted Employment Area”, centralize the TEA designation process, and make a variety of other technical edits. We opposed significant portions of the rule. We also heavily criticized USCIS’ mistaken facts when comparing justifying its proposals to Canadian programs. Virtually all of the EB-5 industry’s stakeholders opposed the draft rule as written.

    The time frame for substantive change to EB-5 remains uncertain, as do the ever-present prospects of preemptive legislation. The exact substance of changes is also unclear at this time; although it is virtually certain that minimum investment amounts will rise sharply. There is also likely to be a delay between the publication of the new regulations and when they will go into effect.

    However, interested EB-5 investors might be best served by commencing the immigration process as soon as possible to take advantage of current rules. Contact us today for more information relating to investment immigration.

  • Green and Spiegel Takes Dubai!

    by Esther Dressler | Feb 22, 2019

    On February 10th and 11th, Green and Spiegel EB-5 Section Head Matthew Galati and Associate Benjamin Green attended the UGlobal Immigration Expo in Dubai. Galati served as the chair/moderator of a panel discussing Investment Immigration options throughout the world. The Panel, consisting of three Attorneys from around the globe as well as Mr. Galati, covered many hot topics in the investment immigration field, as well as modern trends affecting the industry at large. In particular, Matthew highlighted the need to separate fact from fiction when it came to EB-5 visas, and how reform of the program can provide huge relief to both investors and government officials alike. Both Matthew and Benjamin met with many industry leaders and seasoned professionals, sharing their unique expertise and making connections that will serve the firm and its clientele for years to come.

    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 dedicated immigration-only law firm, Green and Spiegel also caters to entrepreneurs, investors, and start-ups seeking immigration benefits. The Firm includes five partners and approximately 130 employees offering services in over 30 different languages.

  • Amidst Border Wall ‘Emergency,’ President Signs Legislation Extending EB-5 Regional Center Program to Sep. 30, 2019

    by Esther Dressler | Feb 15, 2019

    On Thursday, February 14, 2019, the United States House and Senate passed funding legislation re-authorizing vital immigration programs including the EB-5 Regional Center Program through September 30. The omnibus measure, titled HJ Res 31, spans over 1,000 pages and contemplates many governmental functions. Notably, the EB-5 Regional Center Program (as well as E-Verify, Special Immigrant Religious Workers, and Conrad 30) are extended as follows in Division H, Section 104 of the bill:

    DIVISION H—EXTENSIONS, TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS, AND OTHER MATTERS

    TITLE I

    IMMIGRATION EXTENSIONS

    […]

    Sec. 104. Section 610(b) of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note) shall be applied by substituting “September 30, 2019” for “September 30, 2015”.

    While HJ Res 31 contemplates funding for increased border fencing, it does not authorize construction of a 2,000-mile plus physical wall. Earlier today President Trump signed a declaration of a “national emergency” to divert otherwise appropriated funds towards wall construction. This move is highly controversial and of dubious constitutional legitimacy. Nevertheless, the maneuver should put to rest the spectre of political disagreement over a border wall causing a government shutdown for the immediate future.

    We will continue to prepare and file clients’ petitions in advance of the (fifth consecutive!) looming September 30th sunset date. Contact us today for more information relating to EB-5 Immigration.