Legal processes behind business immigration and foreign investments can be unnerving, especially when governments decide to implement policy changes.
Earlier this year in the United States, the Trump administration released various visa reform acts, including new provisions which may have massive implications on the immigration industry.
Businesses looking to get a U.S. Green Card need to consider these policy changes, as it may affect whether they qualify for a Green Card.
Below is a breakdown of the changes to business immigration policies under the Trump administration.
Changes to the EB-5 visa (Investment Green Card) programme
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented a handful of changes to the EB-5 programme – which was created to spur additional employment in the U.S., by allowing foreigners to apply for an Investment Green Card with which they can make a substantial financial commitment.
To qualify for an EB-5 visa, an entity can invest in one of three ways:
- Invest $1,000,000 and hire 10 employees anywhere in the USA.
- Invest $500,000 and hire 10 employees in an area where the unemployment rate exceeds the national average by 150% or the rural population is less than 20,000.
- Invest in a Government designated Regional Centre.
According to EB-5 daily, these are the three EB-5 policies that were recently updated by the USCIS:
- The “tenant occupancy” model can’t be used when counting the 10 jobs, as the jobs were not created by the investment – the tenants merely moved into the location from another location.
- As long as 10 jobs were created when the project was started it is sufficient even if the jobs no longer exist at the time of USCIS’s decision.
- Investors can continue to maintain their immigration status while USCIS processes their applications for green cards.
The H-1B visa (Specialty Occupation) reform
The H-1B visa programme allows U.S. employers to sponsor foreign workers with specialty occupations, which require the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
Ongoing policy changes from the USCIS include requests for larger amounts of additional evidence from applicants in a bid to restrict successful applications and drive away immigrants, as well as the elimination of the option to expedite processing.
Essentially, the programme has become stricter, making it much more complicated and time-consuming for employers to invest in foreign workers. This impacts many small companies that rely on skilled immigrant labour.
The L-1 visa (Intracompany transferee visa)
An L-1 visa is granted to people who have worked outside of the U.S. as a manager, executive, or in a position involving specialised knowledge, and are now seeking work in the U.S. for a related company in the same capacity.
The recent USCIS update to intra-company transferee L-1 visa petition criteria require employers with proxy votes to now meet additional requirements which show that the US company and the foreign enterprise meets the L-1 visa criteria.
The type of documentation required will typically include legally-binding proxy agreements, organisational documents of an enterprise, a sworn statement from the equity holder sanctioning the proxy, minutes of meetings outlining how a decision on a binding proxy agreement was reached, and the legal framework under which the proxy was approved.
Pollak offers expert advice
Managing attorney at Pollak PLLC Karen-Lee Pollak and her experienced immigration support team can offer advice to those planning on making a financial commitment to create additional employment in the U.S., and sponsoring a foreign worker – and can help sponsors or applicants to submit the most complete and thorough petition, emphasising the applicant’s education, qualifications, and experience.
Pollak’s support team knows the processes and procedures to work with various government agencies to ensure the best possible outcome. “In immigration law, experience is critical. We have it. Let our managing attorney Karen-Lee Pollak and experienced immigration support team help you,” said the company.
Pollak will be in South Africa providing private immigration consultations and group seminars specifically tailored to South Africans in Johannesburg during 5-12 September 2018, and in Cape Town 13-18 September 2018.
To schedule a phone or private consultation, or attend one of the seminars in September in Johannesburg or Cape Town, please email [email protected].
For more information, visit the Pollak website.
This article was published in partnership with Pollak PLLC.