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    Published on 11-11-2015 04:24 PM

    Immigrant Investor Programs around the World: How the U.S. EB-5 Program Stacks Up

    by


    The number of countries with immigrant investor programs has increased dramatically over the past decade. Countries with such programs are located all over the globe, including Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. What these programs have in common is the exchange of residency rights or citizenship for a sizeable investment in that country’s economy. Investors from around the world have been showing increased interest in these programs, reflected by the growing number of investor visas issued each year.

    immigration

    Countries differ most significantly depending on the type of investment required to secure residency. There are two main categories. The first category consists of countries like the U.S., Singapore and the Netherlands, that require applicants to invest in the private sector in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs. A small subset of this group is admitting applicants solely on the basis of purchasing private property in that country. This option is most common among countries—such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Latvia—whose property markets were hit hardest during the 2007-2008 economic crisis.

    The second group consists of countries requiring investors to give money directly to the government in the form of a nonrefundable fee or low-interest loan (i.e. purchase of government bonds). The receiving state uses these funds for economic development and other public interest purposes. This group consists of countries in the Caribbean, Malta, the United Kingdom and Australia. [1]

    In addition to the type of investment, countries also differ dramatically with respect to the minimum threshold amount. For instance, as of 2014, the Dominican Republic required an investment of approximately USD $100,000, while Austria required about USD $10 million. [2] Eligibility requirements also vary, with some countries’ programs ...

    Published on 11-11-2015 04:14 PM

    Biggest Threat to National Security May be U.S. Immigration Policies

    by


    Robert Rogers



























    Photo of Capital Dome courtesy of David Ohmer/Flickr

    Biggest Threat to National Security May be U.S. Immigration Policies

    In September 2015, President Obama announced that the U.S. would take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year. Such political maneuvers launched circulating topics for the 2016 Presidential debates.

    Candidate Hillary Clinton chimed in along with her opponent, Martin O’Malley, calling on the U.S. to accept as many as 65,000 refugees displaced by the chaos in Syria. However, other Republicans have expressed concern over the refugee screening process and the possibility of admitting Islamic extremists.

    Interestingly enough, Muslims have been immigrating to the U.S through legal channels since the early 1990’s. There are a myriad of legal opportunities for foreign nationals to come into the US, the most notable of which are student and investor visas, the Diversity Visa Lottery,Temporary ...

    Published on 11-11-2015 03:54 PM

    People Die Trying to Get to America, Too

    by


    About 5,000 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe in 2014 and 2015. Although drownings are moderating, the danger remains. Illegally crossing the Mediterranean to Europe claims the lives of about 2 percent of all migrants who attempt the voyage. The United States’ southwest border is also dangerous but less so.

    Based on data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 6,336 people died crossing the border from 1998 to 2014 (2015 data is unavailable). The peak year of recorded deaths) was 2005, with 492 deaths. In 2014, there were 307 deaths. From 1998 to 2014, deaths averaged 0.04 percent of all apprehensions — a proxy measurement for the size of the unlawful immigrant flow.

    2012 was the most dangerous year to cross when the number of deaths was equal to 0.13 percent of all apprehensions. The most dangerous border sector during the whole period was Del Rio with deaths as a percentage of apprehensions at 0.046 percent that resulted in 458 deaths. The Tucson sector’s death rate was 0.045 percent, but there were 2,507 deaths during the entire time period.

    Migrant deaths by border sector is correlated with the number of migrants apprehended at each sector. Places where migrants tend to cross are those where they also tend to die in the attempt. 

    Dying of thirst in the Southwestern desert while trying to immigrate was not written about (as far as I’ve looked) and was probably very rare, prior to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. In that year Chinese immigration was banned, diverting many Chinese immigrants into the black market where they first went to Canada or Mexico before entering the United States instead of just landing legally in San Francisco.

    Erika Lee’s wonderful book At America’s Gates documents this. This problem was so widely discussed that Harper’s New Monthly Magazine even published this brutal drawing in March, 1891:

    Chinese immigrants died crossing the Southwestern desert in pursuit of the American Dream when the Chinese Exclusion Act was in effect. Today, Mexicans and Central Americans are dying while trying to enter because our legal immigration system has made no room for them. No doubt there are many bodies in the desert that have not and will not be discovered. 

    More immigration enforcement would deter some of them from trying to immigrate or rescue many who are dying, but it would also drive many of the more desperate ones to take riskier trips in more dangerous terrain, possibly increasing the death rates.

    The deaths of Chinese immigrants more than a century ago and most of those who are crossing today would be easily prevented by allowing them to enter legally.

    This post first appeared at Cato.org.

    This post appeared on Foundation for Economic Education. Reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    Alex NowrastehAlex ...

    Published on 11-10-2015 04:48 PM

    How to Avoid the RFE or Denial on the EB2 Petition

    by


    Demand for EB2 Visas for highly skilled workers is at an all-time high. At the same time, RFEs and Denials in response to EB2 Visa petitions are also at an all-time high. With more and more jobs in STEM industries in the United States than American workers can fill, employers are turning to workers with advanced degrees and specialized science, tech, engineering and math skills from overseas. The United States highly skilled work force simply ...

    Published on 11-10-2015 04:31 PM

    Liability Associated with EB-5 Marketing Materials

    by


    Panelists: ROBERT CORNISH, JOHN TISHLER, JOHN LEO,
    Moderator: KURT REUSS

    Kurt Reuss: In looking at marketing materials from a number of regional centers there are some common elements we typically see in the larger offerings such as regional centers talking about their experience; the results they’ve gotten from previous projects; the fact that principal has been paid back to investors; the percentage of I-526 and I-829 approvals; the project’s description and highlights. 

    Sometimes we see marketing material that include information on the budget; loan amounts and both the senior loan and the EB5 loan. Developer equity is often in there; as is job cushion; the rate of return to investors and the term.

    Bob, is there anything in that list that strikes you as being something that you’d want to be cautious about?

    Bob Cornish: Certainly, results from previous projects and principal paid back to investors is, in my mind, probably the most prominent issue of those on this list, simply because there are so many prohibitions and guidelines regarding how you represent past performance, how you represent what the results may be from a certain strategy.

    One of the problems you have in the EB5 context versus traditional investment management vehicles is how do you actually measure performance? Is it the return on the investment? Not really since most investments are not designed to generate monetary return other than the return of principal and the green card. More importantly, how do you measure what a successful result is? If 97% of the people who went into the EB5 program were able to get their green cards, what does that mean? Who measures that and how has it been verified?

    Kurt Reuss: Let me be more specific; say it refers to the fact that a regional center has been a promoter of previous offerings and that regional center has raised whatever number they’ve raised from a number of projects. It’s the regional center making this claim so is there anything wrong with that? I mean, it’s not the issuer of this particular offering that’s making a claim.

    Bob Cornish: You have to remember that the regional center is essentially the manager of the investment vehicle and, to some degree, there’s ...

    Published on 11-10-2015 04:26 PM

    GOING ON RECORD WITHOUT NECESSARY SUPPORTING DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE IS LIKE ASSERTING KEY CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT A PROPER FOUNDATION OR EXPLANATION

    by


    ...
    Published on 11-09-2015 03:18 PM

    Setting the Record Straight on the Leaked Government Memo on Work Authorization

    by


    Employment Authorization

    Recently, a leaked memo related to the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing deliberations about reforming the employment-based immigrant visa system was published online. An “investigative associate” with the restrictionist organization Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) wrote an op-ed in The Hill making grossly inaccurate statements about the contents of the leaked memo—indicating that it applied well beyond the context of the employment-based visa applicants—and asserting that the Obama Administration is planning to circumvent the federal court injunction temporarily halting the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Despite the inaccuracies and unsupported claims, various media outlets, social media, and politicians ran with the op-ed, reporting on it as fact, without confirming what the memo actually ...
    Published on 11-09-2015 03:05 PM

    1. USCIS Revoking L-1 Status After Site Visits; 2. Cluster of L-1 Petitions Approved by AAO in August-September 2015.

    by


    USCIS Revoking L-1 Status After Site Visits

    In 2014 the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would extend its Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) to L-1 Visas as an anti-fraud effort. Site visits are unannounced visits by USCIS Officers/Inspectors to the L-1 work site to see if the facts on the ground match the statements and evidence provided in the L-1 Petition.

    Recent AAO Appeals (non-precedent) decisions show 2 cases where L-1 Petitioners/Beneficiaries had the L-1 Status revoked after the site visits:

    1) On August 28, 2015 the AAO approved of the USCIS decision to revoke an L-1A status of the Beneficiary of a Petitioner that had claimed it had $1.2 million in gross sales in 2013. In that case, when USCIS Officers arrived at the work site but was unable to located the Petitioner's workers, company signs or business activity to indicate that the Petitioner was conducting operations on the address listed on Form I-129.

    The USCIS Officer/Inspector called the Beneficiary and was informed that they had moved addresses without informing USCIS. However, the Officer was unable to verify that work was being done at the new location either. The Director issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) based on the lack of employees present at the work site, as well as the Beneficiary's duties being too broad and vague as described.

    The Petitioner's response to the NOIR was not well-received. They failed to provide evidence that it had employees actually working at the location. Moreover, the Petitioner failed to detail how the Beneficiary was acting in a managerial fashion. Their description of the Beneficiary's duties were too broad and generalized. They also failed to properly respond to the USCIS request with specific information such as the percentage of the Beneficiary's time devoted to specific duties.

    And

    2) On August 21, 205, ...

    Published on 11-09-2015 02:54 PM

    L-1A New Office Cases - Number and Types of Employees Within First 12 Months of Operations

    by


    As we mentioned in our last week's Paralegal Weekly Tip, the number of employees (and type of employees) to be hired in the first 12 months of U.S. "new office" operations is very carefully scrutinized by the USCIS ("One Year Requirement").

    The USCIS will carefully examine the business plan and hiring ...

    Published on 11-06-2015 03:01 PM

    H-1B “AFFILIATION” DEFERENCE CONTINUES; AR-11 NOTICE REQUIRES ALL APPLICATIONS

    by


    H-1B “affiliation” deference continues – U.S.C.I.S. reaffirmed in the American Immigration Lawyers Association/Service Center Operations (AILA/SCOPS) teleconference agenda of September 30, 2015, that it is still giving deference to prior cap exempt determinations ...

    Published on 11-06-2015 02:39 PM

    Liability Associated with EB-5 Marketing Materials

    by


    Panelists: ROBERT CORNISH, JOHN TISHLER, JOHN LEO,
    Moderator: KURT REUSS

    Kurt Reuss: In looking at marketing materials from a number of regional centers there are some common elements we typically see in the larger offerings such as regional centers talking about their experience; the results they’ve gotten from previous projects; the fact that principal has been paid back to investors; the percentage of I-526 and I-829 approvals; the project’s description and highlights. 

    Sometimes we see marketing material that include information on the budget; loan amounts and both the senior loan and the EB5 loan. Developer equity is often in there; as is job cushion; the rate of return to investors and the term.

    Bob, is there anything in that list that strikes you as being something that you’d want to be cautious about?

    Bob Cornish: Certainly, results from previous projects and principal paid back to investors is, in my mind, probably the most prominent issue of those on this list, simply because there are so many prohibitions and guidelines regarding how you represent past performance, how you represent what the results may be from a certain strategy.

    One of the problems you have in the EB5 context versus traditional investment management vehicles is how do you actually measure performance? Is it the return on the investment? Not really since most investments are not designed to generate monetary return other than the return of principal and the green card. More importantly, how do you measure what a successful result is? If 97% of the people who went into the EB5 program were able to get their green cards, what does that mean? Who measures that and how has it been verified?

    Kurt Reuss: Let me be more specific; say it refers to the fact that a regional center has been a promoter of previous offerings and that regional center has raised whatever number they’ve raised from a number of projects. It’s the regional center making this claim so is there anything wrong with that? I mean, it’s not the issuer of this particular offering that’s making a claim.

    Bob Cornish: You have to remember that the regional center is essentially the manager of the investment vehicle and, to some degree, there’s obviously some corporate entity in between. In essence, you have to look at what the regional center says, almost in the same context as you would an investment manager for a mutual ...

    Published on 11-06-2015 02:32 PM

    The High Cost of Resettling Middle Eastern Refugees Given limited funds, relocation to the U.S. may not be the most effective way to help

    by


    ...

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