“IT’S A TRAP!”: EB-6, Parole for International Entrepreneurs

 

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Our office has gotten some calls about the “EB-6” visa that was announced last year and has been implemented at the start of 2018.  I put “EB-6” in quotes, because that’s not the official designation and it’s not permanent residence visa (i.e., green card).

The official designation is the International Entrepreneur Rule.  Essentially, if an entrepreneur qualifies, he or she qualifies for “parole” which is to grant a period of authorized stay.  The period of authorized stay allows you to stay in the United States but it is not green card or even a nonimmigrant visa.

The details of the International Entrepreneur Rule (the putative EB-6) can be accessed below:

Short Version

Long Version

Essentially, one can apply as an entrepreneur by fulfilling the following requirements:

  • The applicant possesses a substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity created within the past five years in the United States that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  • The applicant has a central and active role in the start-up entity such that the applicant is well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business.
  • The applicant can prove that his or her stay will provide a significant public benefit to the United States based on the applicant’s role as an entrepreneur of the start-up entity by:
    • Showing that the start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • Showing that the start-up entity has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other types of grants or awards typically given to start-up entities) from federal, state or local government entities that regularly provide such awards or grants to start-up entities; or
    • Showing that they partially meet either or both of the previous two requirements and providing additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

THE WARNING

While the International Entrepreneur Rule may be useful for those who can’t qualify for an E-2 or an EB-5 or need some time to grow their company until they can qualify for another category, there is a huge caveat.

In one of the government’s press releases concerning the International Entrepreneur Rule (referred to as the IER, they specifically state (emphasis all mine):

“While DHS implements the IER, DHS will also proceed with issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to remove the Jan. 17, 2017, IER. DHS is in the final stages of drafting the NPRM.”

You can actually read the release here in its entirety.

So there you go.  While they are announcing that the IER is going to be available, they are telling us that they intend to kill it as soon as they can.

It’s disheartening and disingenuous at its best.  It’s a trap for those whose options are limited at its worst.

 

 

 

Visa Bulletin for September 2009

The September 2009 Visa Bulletin is available.  The third employment category is still unavailable.  However, the Fourth Category — Special Immigrant Category and the Certain Religious Worker Category became UNAVAILABLE.  They expe

Because of the new regulations concerning Religious Workers enacted last year — the category for non-ministers is set to expire on September 30, 2009.

Please click here for the entire bulletin.

EB-5 (One Million Dollar Investment Visa or $500K)

Downtown LA

Investors are able to obtain permanent residency (greencard) via the EB-5 Immigrant Visa.   This isn’t to be confused with an E-1/E-2 Trader/Investor Visa, which is a non-immigrant visa (temporary).

Generally, the EB-5 Investor Visa requires two things:

1.  An active investment of $1,000,000 (one million dollars) into a commercial enterprise

AND

2.  Create 10 full time jobs for US citizens or LPR (permanent residents)

The above description is VERY broad, but describes what one needs for an EB-5 visa.

The minimum investment can be lowered to half the amount, $500,000 (five hundred thousand dollars) if the investment is directed toward a “targeted employment area,” which is an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average.

Oftentimes, investors are directed towards an officially designated “Regional Center” — which essentially takes an investor’s funds and directs it in conformity with the EB-5 program.  As I’ve noted before, the program has been temporarily extended.  There is hope that the new administration will expand the Regional Center further.  But more on that later.

Visa Bulletin December 2008

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December 2008 VISA BULLETIN

The above photo is a departure from our normal “bulletin” photo.  I just returned from a trip to China, which was fantastic.  I highly recommend people to check out China — a week in Shanghai and a week in Beijing.

The only thing about the December 2008 Visa Bulletin that you should know, in regards to the employment visa availability, is that it’s exactly the same as the November 2008 Bulletin.

EB-5 Investor Visa Regional Center Pilot Program Update

The EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program has been extended until March 6, 2009 (yes, that’s next year). Presumably,further extensions (or a permanent one) would be taken up by the next administration. The extension was part of HR 2638 that also extended the E-Verify program. Without the extension, then the Regional Center Pilot program would have sunset at the end of October this year.

Just to recap very quickly, it should be noted that the EB-5 Visa is one that allows one to earn permanent residency (green card) via an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 if certain criteria are met — i.e., high unemployment area) and creation of 10 new full time jobs. Spouses and unmarried children are allowed to join the investor.

The EB-5 should not be mistaken for an E-2/E-1 Treaty Investor/Trader Visa, which is a temporary visa and does not have a minimum investment amount (although it still requires a substantial infusion of capital).

The EB-5 Regional Centers are entities that are set up by a third party, that allows the prospective foreign national to invest $500,000 (in an economically depressed area in the US), but not have to be involved in the oversight of the investment nor the job creation. The EB-5 Regional Center personnel are set up to create 10 new jobs on behalf of the investor and are involved in the day to day operations of the whatever investment vehicle that they are overseeing. The idea is to create a one-stop shop for your EB-5 Visa, without the challenges of running one’s own EB-5 enterprise.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the initial grant of residency is conditional. Sixty days prior to the two year anniversary, one must file an I-829 to remove the conditions to become a lawful permanent resident.