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  • 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.

  • Back in Business: Government Reopens, EB-5 Regional Center Program Revived

    by Matt Galati | Jan 27, 2019

    On Friday January 25 — a chaotic day plagued by major air travel delays amidst affected government employees leaving work due to missed wages — Congressional deadlock subsided and the longest shutdown in American history finally ended. With the passage of a new Continuing Resolution, the EB-5 Regional Center is revived and extended through February 15, 2019.

    Our readers will recall that partial government funding and the attendant statutory provisions continuing the EB-5 Regional Center program lapsed on December 22, 2018. A major sticking point over continued government operations was the inclusion of funding for President Trump’s promised southern border wall, an 11th hour demand made after the Senate had voted unanimously to extend government operations and affected immigration programs through for seven weeks.

    Despite that the Regional Center program had lapsed, USCIS indicated that it would continue to accept Regional Center-affiliated Forms I-526 and I-485 notwithstanding its previous guidance. USCIS, however, could not approve any Regional Center associated case and affected investors overseas awaiting visa issuance were also not able to proceed. The shutdown had no effect on Direct petitions, nor on Form I-829 filings.

    Many stakeholders wonder to what degree USCIS made progress on its filing workload during the shutdown, perhaps by flexing adjudicators to handle its I-829 backlog or by continuing adjudications as normal to tee up a month’s worth of decisions to be issued in short order. Regardless, the reauthorization of the program is welcome news to investors who fretted its temporary lapse.

    Contact us today for more information regarding whether EB-5 investment is right for you and your family.

  • Vietnam Officially Added to CPTPP, and Potential Benefits to Investors Follow

    by Esther Dressler | Jan 15, 2019

    The Government of Canada has officially updated program delivery instructions for business visitors and investors holding Vietnamese passports, given that the Comprehensive and Progress Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) for Vietnam entered into force on January 14, 2019.

    With this update, businesspersons from Vietnam have gained heretofore unprecedented access to Canadian immigration, both on short-term and longer-term basis.

    The investor provisions of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) now apply to applicants who

    • are citizens of Australia, Japan, Mexico or Vietnam;
    • will establish, develop or administer an investment to which the business person or their enterprise has committed or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital; and
    • are in a supervisory or executive role or a role that involves essential skills.         

     

    Successful applicants to this program are eligible for a one-year work permit, with possible extensions at the officer’s discretion if the applicant is able to provide documentation that satisfies the processing officer of the applicant’s need to have their stay extended. This also will allow the applicants to accumulate valuable time working in Canada, for the purposes of a Permanent Residence Application.

    The overall terms and conditions are similar in many respects to the U.S.’ E-2 visa. There is no minimum dollar figure established for meeting the requirement of “substantial” investment to qualify for this permit. Substantiality is normally determined by using a “proportionality test” in which the amount invested is weighed against one of the following factors:

    • the total value of the particular enterprise in question (determining proportion is a largely straightforward calculation involving the weighing of evidence of the actual value of an established business, i.e., purchase price or tax valuation, against the evidence of the amount invested by the applicant); or
    • the amount normally considered necessary to establish a viable enterprise of the nature contemplated. (This may be a less straightforward calculation. Officers will have to base the decision on reliable information on the Canadian business scene to determine whether the amount of the intended investment is reasonable for the type of business involved.)

    Obviously, this is a sliding scale calculation. The amount of “substantial” investment to create a Canadian digital consulting business is far less than a new Canadian Oil company.

    The objective of investor status is to promote productive investment in Canada. Therefore, an applicant is not entitled to this status if the investment, even if substantial, will return only enough income to provide a living for the applicant and family.

    For more information regarding investment immigration to Canada, contact us today.

  • EB5Investors Magazine Names Matthew T. Galati a Top 25 Immigration Attorney

    by Esther Dressler | Jan 14, 2019

    Congratulations to Matthew T. Galati for being named a Top 25 Immigration Attorney by EB5Investors Magazine in January 2019 for his experience, reputation, and passion.

     

    Philadelphia, PA: Senior Associate Matthew T. Galati, EB-5 Section Head of Green and Spiegel Immigration Law Firm, was named as one of the 2018 Top 25 Immigration Attorneys by EB5Investors Magazine. EB5 Investors Magazine is a go-to source of information for investors, developers and professionals within the EB-5 visa community. Individuals were evaluated based on immigrant investor program experience, professional reputation, and recognition in the community. To be included on this list is a great honor, as the award is decided via an EB-5 industry-wide vote with additional screening from the magazine’s editorial board and internal staff.

     

    When asked about Matthew’s distinction,Jonathan Grode, U.S. Practice Director of Green and Spiegel, said, “We are very proud of what Matt has been able to do in the immigrant investor practice area. Not only has he grown as an attorney, becoming a thought and industry leader, but are also very proud of what he has done on behalf of the Firm. Since Matt joined Green and Spiegel, our EB-5 practice has grown tenfold. Congratulations Matt on a well-deserved honor.” StephenGreen, Senior Partner of Green and Spiegel and head of its worldwide investor practice, added “Matt is exceptionally knowledgeable in the EB-5 area, and he works relentlessly on behalf of his clients. This is a well-deserved honor that speaks to his excellent reputation and outstanding work product.”

     

    Matthew T. Galati is an attorney at Green and Spiegel, one of North America's oldest immigration law firms. The firm offers comprehensive immigration solutions in the U.S. and Canada. In the Philadelphia office, Matt leads the firm's EB-5 and Grenada Citizenship-by-Investment functions. Since the beginning of his career, Galati has filed hundreds of EB-5 petitions. He also routinely counsels entrepreneurial clients on the treaty trader and investor E-visas, intracompany transferee L-1 visas, and EB-1 visa alternatives. Galati has demonstrated expertise with Form I-829 filings and serves as a member of the national AILA EB-5 Immigrant Investor Committee. This is his second award from EB-5 Investors Magazine, having been named a “Rising Star” last year

     

    Those interested can read more about the award and winners in the EB5 Investors Magazine Top 25 Attorney January issue, or online at https://www.eb5investors.com/magazine. Green and Spiegel would like to congratulate Matthew on his prestigious award. He is truly deserving of this recognition, as he is an innovator leading the way with his experience and passion.

     

    ABOUT: Green and Spiegel, LLC is a law firm 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.

  • Employment-Based I-485s: Ability to Use the Earlier Date for Filing Charts May Come to a Close

    by Esther Dressler | Jan 11, 2019

    Back in September we told you that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) was allowing applicants to file their I-485 applications for adjustment of status in both the employment-based and the family-based categories according to the earlier-in-time Filing Date Charts. Put another way, USCIS has been accepting Form I-485 filings for all prospective qualifying immigrants before a visa number is technically available. The past few months have been a boon for EB- applicants because since the introduction of the two chart system, USCIS has almost always mandated that such immigrants may only file once their priority dates are current, as per the “Final Action” date for I-485 filings. 

    As noted, this change in policy represented a huge development for certain applicants, who potentially were able to access employment authorization documents (EADs) and Advance Parole travel permits which, in certain instances, would potentially be more than a year earlier than otherwise anticipated.

    Green and Spiegel has been filing our clients’ files in light of this change for months, however, it appears that this will shortly come to an end. In a January Update, USCIS stated the following:

    For Employment-Based Preference Filings:

    You must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for January 2019.  Based on current trends in inventory and visa use, USCIS anticipates that applicants in the employment-based preference categories will have to use the Final Action Dates chart as soon as February 2019.

     

    Now, this doesn’t represent a definitive deadline, as the language used by USCIS is equivocal as to whether or not February will indeed be the end of this potential, and there is no telling what the effects of the current or prolonged government shutdown will have on visa processing as we progress into the new year. However, potential applicants’ best option remains to both stay vigilant and proactive regarding this filing potential, before it is too late to use to their benefit and resolve their files sooner.

    If you have a question about your ability to file an I-485 or how this early filing date may affect you, please contact us today.

  • Government Shutdown: USCIS Still Accepting Investors’ I-526 Filings Despite Lapse

    by Esther Dressler | Dec 27, 2018

    On Friday, December 21st, 2018, Congress adjourned without reaching an agreement on a government spending deal, resulting in a partial government shutdown. There were a number of sunsetting immigrant programs relying on Congress’s reauthorization by the midnight expiration deadline, including the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program.

    We previously covered what a lapse would look like based on USCIS’ guidance issued during the early days of the Obama Administration. This guidance stated that only Direct EB-5 petitions (i.e. those not relying on indirect job creation, the cornerstone of the Regional Center program), could be accepted following a lapse in authorization.

    However, according to guidance from USCIS, the agency will continue to accept investors’ Regional Center-related filings, notwithstanding the lapse:

    The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program expired at the end of the day on Dec. 21, 2018, due to a lapse in congressional authorization to continue the program. All regional center applications and individual petitions are affected. USCIS will not accept new Forms I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program, as of Dec. 21, 2018. Any pending Forms I-924 as of Dec. 21, 2018, will be put on hold until further notice.  

    Regional centers should continue to submit Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center, for fiscal year 2018. 

    We will continue to receive regional center-affiliated Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, after the close of business on Dec. 22, 2018. As of Dec. 22, 2018, we will put unadjudicated regional center-affiliated Forms I-526 and I-485 (whether filed before or after the expiration date) on hold for an undetermined length of time.

    All Forms I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, filed before or after the expiration date, will not be affected by the expiration of the program.

    USCIS will provide further guidance to the public if legislation is enacted to reauthorize, extend, or amend the regional center program.

    To be clear, Direct EB-5 is not affected by the shutdown / lapse, as it is a permanent part of the Immigration and Nationality Act and accordingly does not require reauthorization.

    At this time, there is no clear indication as to when Congress will agree on a new spending deal or when the government will be back to its full-functioning operations. We will continue to update our readers regarding developments in Washington.

    If you have any questions regarding immigrating to the U.S. through investment, contact us today.