EB-5 Proposals and What They Could Mean

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It’s that time of the year, where the EB-5 Regional Center program is going to sunset and there is a scramble (as usual) to renew it.  And it should be pointed out that this has no effect on the “original” EB-5 program, were an individual invests capital and creates 10 jobs.  That will always be there.

But the Regional Center portion of the EB-5 program has always been given a life for limited periods of time, possibly because of some of the controversy and issues surrounding this program.

There are a number of competing bills summarized here:

http://eb5coalition.org/resources/bill-comparison-chart/

Danger of Proposals : Sometimes They Never Become Law

Recently there was news from the Department of Homeland Security that there would be a proposal to allow spouses of certain H-1B workers to work.  See link for the actual release.

While this particular proposal seems likely to happen, it does raise the issue of when proposals are seen as actual “law”.  Not too long ago there was a proposal by US Senator Schumer to grant permanent residence visas to overseas investors who put in $500,000 US dollars into residential property.  The Wall Street Journal wrote about it as well as other national news outlets.  Overseas, especially in Asia, it received a lot of positive press.  It should be noted that several countries, such as Panama, have residential property investment visas.

However, this proposal did not get passed into law.  But we do get questions about this residential real estate property visa all the time.  Unfortunately, we have to tell them it doesn’t exist.  Some don’t believe us and presumably go to others trying to utilize this residential property visa.  What’s there not to like about this?  You buy a property that you would have normally and they throw in a green card in the process as a nice freebie.  Much better than having to create 10 jobs and putting one’s capital at risk (the current EB-5 scheme).

Other attorneys (US attorneys, I may add), ask about this as well.  That’s why it’s a bit problematic writing about proposals before they come law.

Mainland China and EB-5s: Rationales and Visa Usage

The plight of mainland Chinese who use the EB-5 investment immigrant visa have been in the news.

Of note are the rationales for those who leave (via the EB-5 or other means) in the Wall Street Journal (paywall):

http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-great-chinese-exodus-1408120906

The other being story is how the allotment of the EB-5 visa for mainland Chinese have been used up for this fiscal year. (The NEW fiscal year starts up on October 1). 

http://online.wsj.com/articles/investor-visas-soaked-up-by-chinese-1409095982

It should be noted that this doesn’t affect EB-5 users from other countries.

Start-up Tales via an E-2: “How I hacked my US start-up”

A great narrative concerning Mike Galarza, the CEO of Entryless, a Silicon Valley startup.  

It’s deals with some of the complex issues dealing with attempting a start-up as a foreign national and what Mike did to make it work — despite working under the heavy burdens of consular processing and starting a business. 

The full story on Quartz.

 

Visas as a Cold War Tool

 

The title of this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece says it all : “Weaken Putin With a Russian Brain Drain.”  (Paywall link).

The Op-Ed piece essentially proposes the use of certain visas as a means of taking away Russia’s best and brightest.  Specifically using a combination of O-1 (those with “extraordinary ability”) and the EB-5 investment visas.

The writer, Edward Luttwak, adds a few wrinkles to the two visas in this editorial piece (urging Obama to use his executive powers to modify both visas to make it easier and more attractive to Russian passport holders.).

The use of the two visas as an “anti-sanction” is an interesting thought experiment.  But it will probably stay that way, a thought experiment.

 

E-2 visa helps many non-U.S. citizens start small firms

E-2 visa helps many non-U.S. citizens start small firms.

Los Angeles Times article revisits an old standby, the E-2 visa, aimed at small business entrepreneurs.

A few things to keep in mind about the article:

1) It discusses a $50,000 minimum investment, but that number was plucked from a now unpublished guidance memo.  The minimum varies from consular office to consular office and the business being proposed, but oftentimes it is much higher than the $50,000.

2)  The E-2 only works if the foreign national’s country has an E-2 treaty in place.  Check this list from the US  State Department to make sure you qualify:

Official List of E-2 Treaty Countries