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    Published on 02-16-2016 10:46 AM

    Can FINRA Rule 2040 be a guide to better EB-5 Practices?


    Published on 02-15-2016 02:31 PM

    Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program


    Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is a popular alternative program for prospective immigrants who want to immigrate to Canada. Since its inception in 2009 the program has been evolving in order to attract more qualified applicants to settle in Ontario with the aim of promoting economic growth in Ontario and creating more jobs.

    In June 2015, OINP went through some dramatic changes in response to the creation of the Federal Express Entry Program for Skilled Workers. The OINP introduced two “Express Entry” related categories – the Human Capital Priorities and the French-Speaking Skilled Worker. In October 2015, Ontario closed its Investor Component. As a replacement, in December 2015, OINP opened two new categories – the Corporate Stream and the Entrepreneur Stream. [1]

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) allocates a certain number of provincial nomination applicants to the province of Ontario each year for these two streams respectively. This number has been increasing over the years from 1,000 in 2009 up to 5,200 in 2015. [2] In 2015, OINP received a “base” stream allocation of 2,500 nominations and an “express entry” stream allocation of 2,700 nominations. [3] On November 16, 2015, OINP reached its “base” stream quota but it did not use up its “express entry” stream quota in 2015. [4]

    “Base” Stream and “Express Entry” Stream – Application Procedure

    In 2016, the application of OINP will centre on two major streams – the “base” stream and the “Express Entry” stream.

    The “Base” stream includes Foreign Workers, International Students With a Job Offer, Masters Graduates, PhD Graduates, Corporate Stream and Entrepreneur Stream. The “Base” stream will continue following the traditional two-step paper-based provincial nominee program application. This stream calls for applicants that are qualified under one of the “base” stream programs to apply for an Ontario Nomination and then if selected they obtain a Ontario Nomination Certificate which enables them to apply for immigration at the federal level under the Provincial Nominee program. A Nominee Certificate issued under “base” stream will not affect the point calculation Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in the Federal Express Entry Program. [5]

    The “Express Entry” stream, as implied by the name, is associated with the Federal Express Entry program. At this point in time it only includes the Human Capital Priorities and the French-Speaking Skilled Worker programs. Applicants must first create an on-line profile in the Federal Express Entry Program. OINP will identify the qualified applicants through the Express Entry pool and invite them with a Provincial/Territorial (PT) Notification of Interest (NOI) to apply to OINP for nomination under one of the “Express Entry” stream programs. Applicants with a PT Notification of Interest can apply to OINP for nomination within 45 days. Once the application is approved, they will be notified of the nomination through their Express Entry on-line accounts. Applicants need to accept the nomination from Ontario within 30 days in order to receive 600 CRS points under Federal Express Entry program.

    If an applicant believes that they meet the OINP “Express Entry” requirements but do not receive a PT Notification of Interest for more than a month, they should create a new Express Entry profile and delete the old one. [6]

    It is worthwhile to mention that the nomination can only increase applicant’s CRS points under Federal Express program but cannot guarantee an invitation to apply for Permanent Residency from IRCC. For example, as invitation quota for Express Entry is limited for each round, if most of the applicants receive provincial nominations, the determining factor may be their basic CRS points prior to the nomination.

    “Base” Stream and “Express Entry” Stream – Application Requirements

    To be nominated by OINP, applicants need to be qualified under one or more of the OINP programs. Each program has its identical requirements but there is one basic and common requirement applying to all programs is a declaration of the intention to staying in Ontario after becoming a Permanent Resident. In general, each applicant has to demonstrate to the Ontario Government that they have sufficient ties to Ontario and intend to live in Ontario after they become a Permanent Resident of Canada. However, different programs might require different types of supporting documents to prove the applicant’s intent to stay. The rest of this article will briefly describe each OINP program.

    “Base” Stream

    As it is mentioned previously, OINP “base” stream includes Foreign Workers, International Students With a Job Offer, Masters Graduates, PhD Graduates, Corporate Stream and Entrepreneur Stream. Among these, Foreign Worker and International Students With a Job Offer are employer driven programs. Masters Graduates and PhD Graduates are education driven programs. The Corporate Stream and the Entrepreneur Stream are investment related programs.

    Employer Driven Programs

    The “Employer Driven Programs” heavily relies on the qualification and willingness of the employer to obtain approval for an arranged employment in Canada. This is a requirement under Foreign Workers and International Students With a Job Offer programs. [7]

    A two-step application process applies to the nomination application under these two categories. Before applicants can apply to OINP, their employers are required to go through an Employer Pre-Screen Application for the proposed nominative employment positions (Pre-Screen Position). Once the proposed positions are approved, Employer Pre-Screen Approval letters will be issued by IRCC upon which applicants can apply to OINP under one of these two categories.

    An employer that is eligible to apply for a Pre-Screen Position must have been active in business for at least 3 years and have business locations in Ontario where the prospective nominee will work. It also must be in compliance with all provincial labour laws. An employer inside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) must have a minimum of $1,000,000 in gross annual revenue for the most recent fiscal year, five permanent full-time employees who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents at the applicant’s work location. Employers outside of the Greater Toronto Area must have a minimum of $500,000 in gross annual revenue for the most recent fiscal year, and have three permanent, full-time employees who are Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. [8]

    In addition, the pre-screen position must be a permanent, full-time (1,560 hours in a 12-month period) and paid position and must be a NOC (National Occupation Classification) 0, A, or B occupation [9]. Also, the wage for this position must meet a certain criteria, which is one of the differences between the Foreign Worker Stream and the International Student With Job Offer Stream. The former requires a prevailing wage for the position in the labour market while the latter only requires an entry-level wage. [10]

    Also, the position should not negatively affect the employment and training opportunities of Permanent Residents and Canadian citizens. This requirement is similar to the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which requires that the employer prove that the foreign worker is necessary for the company’s operations and that there no other better options in the local labour market. However, if the applicant is currently living in Ontario or is currently employed by the employer, this requirement can be waived. [11] This exemption especially suits international students who would like to immigrate to Canada as it works well with a Post-Graduation Work Permit [12] .

    Once the pre-screen position is approved, the applicant needs to meet additional requirements before they can be nominated by OINP. For the Foreign Worker ...

    Published on 02-15-2016 02:10 PM

    Supreme Court composition and prospects of US v. Texas after Justice Scalia


    The passing away of Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016, has already become the subject of intense discussions on Sunday talk shows and newspapers on how it will affect the path of the Supreme Court. A fiercely conservative, combative, and highly intellectual justice, his passing leaves a large void on the conservative side of the court. Questions here are whether the Obama Administration will be able to fill the seat with a candidate of its choosing and what the effect of his passing will have on the current immigration case pending before it, US v. Texas, Docket #15-674.

    Published on 02-15-2016 01:44 PM

    H1-B Annual Caps: Your Client’s Degree, Job, and Visa Status


    Talk of raising the H1-B annual cap from 65,000 visas to 110,000 will not come to fruition for the FY 2017 filing season. This means that the same number of annual H1-B visas will be available for a rapidly growing number of candidates. CIS is required to accept petitions for at least the first five days of the filing season. If the last two years are any indication of what ...

    Published on 02-12-2016 01:26 PM

    What President Obama Proposed on Immigration in His Final Budget



    President Obama unveiled his proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 which begins on October 1, 2016. While this is the President’s final budget and is largely seen as a political document, it does set the baseline for the funding of federal programs and new initiatives executive agencies would like to undertake.

    For issues concerning immigration, there are two main agencies to focus on, namely the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Below are just a few of the highlights.

    The funding allocated to DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appears to indicate that the President is attempting to shift the focus away from increased detention of immigrants. The President asked Congress to reduce the overall number of detention beds to 30,913—a reduction of over 3,000 from the current 34,000. More specifically, ICE asked for only 960 family detention beds, which is a reduction of 1,800 beds compared to the previous year. To couple with this reduction in detention, ICE is requesting an increase of $11 million for Alternatives to Detention in order to place up to 53,000 low risk individuals under various forms of daily supervision. From the beginning, organizations and members of congress have called on DHS to close inhumane, costly, and punitive family detention facilities, and increase alternatives to detention; maybe DHS is finally listening.

    In terms of interior enforcement, ICE is seeking additional funding for the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) which includes the new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). PEP replaced Secure Communities under the executive actions announced in 2014. ...

    Published on 02-12-2016 11:02 AM

    H-2B Cases - Seasonal and Peakload Need Calculator and Graph


    Probably two of the most frequently stated types of H-2B employers' nature of temporary need would be Peakload or Seasonal needs.

    As you know, the evidence used in proving Peakload or Seasonal need(s) may consist from employer's explanation letter, employer's payroll records (for the past year/s/), employer's IRS Forms 941 - quarterly tax filings, employer's accountant letter or other supporting documentation.

    Published on 02-12-2016 10:30 AM

    Analysis of hearing before the Houses Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on, “Another surge of illegal immigrants along the Southwestern Border: Is this the Obama Administration’s new normal?”


    Published on 02-11-2016 12:14 PM

    The President's Waiver of Restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program


    The President's Waiver of Restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program

    U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

    Subcommittee on National Security and Subcommittee on Government Operations

    February 10, 2016

    Statement of Jessica M. Vaughan

    Center for Immigration Studies

    Last year Congress passed the first meaningful improvements to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in some time, in acknowledgement of the elevated threat we face now from terrorism, espionage, and the inappropriate transfer of technology to our enemies. These sensible and modest changes will allow for more scrutiny of certain travelers coming from VWP countries, based on their dual nationality or their travel history, by requiring them to get a visa.1 The ink from the president's signature on the law was barely dry when the Obama administration significantly undermined these reforms by unilaterally offering waivers that were not authorized in the law.2 This is a problem — not only because it is a flagrant abuse of executive authority and a breach of the agreement with Congress, but because the administration's plans will expose our nation to real threats. One of the categories of travelers the administration has carved out for waivers — dual nationals traveling to Iran and Iraq for business purposes — is precisely the category of travelers that needs to be scrutinized more closely because of past cases of espionage and illegal technology transfer. The risks inherent in the VWP are compounded by the president's tendency to allow the admission of increasing numbers of foreign visitors, gloss over the threats, over-sell his agencies' ability to screen out risks, and suppress the enforcement of immigration laws in the interior.

    Impact of VWP Changes. The new rules spelled out for the VWP are sensible and narrowly focused. They affect only those travelers from VWP countries who have traveled to Syria or Iraq in the last five years, or who are dual nationals of Syria, Iraq, or countries on the official list of states that sponsor terrorism (currently Iran, Sudan, and Syria). These travelers are not barred from entering the United States; they simply have to apply for a visa to travel here, just like travelers from most of the rest of the world.

    There were sound reasons to impose these restrictions, as shown by the examples described below. The immigration systems of both Europe and the United States already have been exploited by nationals of such countries linked to terrorism who, when undetected, go on to become citizens of their new homes even when they actively work against them as agents of their prior government, or as terrorist operatives or supporters, whether by fighting abroad or attacking the countries in which they reside. These are the "dual nationals" to whom the new proviso was directed. While we can do nothing about dual nationals of mal-intent who have infiltrated our own system until they are detected, there is no reason to take unnecessary risks with foreign dual nationals emanating from the countries specified; thus the new consular interview requirement.

    Support Was Broad and Bipartisan. These provisions were first passed in the form of U.S. House bill H.R. 158 on a lopsided bipartisan vote of 407-19 on December 9, 2015, before they were incorporated into the omnibus spending bill and then signed by the president. As a group of House leaders observed, because the White House participated actively in negotiating the final text of the bill and expressed support for it, it was reasonable to expect that the provisions would be faithfully enforced.3

    Obama Administration Immediately Caves To Iranian Demands. Within weeks of the passage of the new rules, the government of Iran formally declared its objections, suggesting that the new rules ...

    Published on 02-11-2016 11:07 AM



    Published on 02-10-2016 12:33 PM

    Former Mexican President Says Country Not Paying for a Stupid, Useless Wall



    For the past several months, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has taken a harsh stance on immigration, stating more than once that he would finish the wall between the U.S. and Mexico and ensure that Mexico pays for it.

    For the first time, according to NBC News, a Mexican official has pushed back. Over the weekend, at a business summit in Egypt, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon (2006-2012) said, “We are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall! And it’s going to be completely useless.”

    Calderon noted the drop in net migration from Mexico, which according to the Pew Research Center has been on the decline for years. The number of Mexicans coming to the United States each year is now lower than the number leaving. However, the other critical point Calderon made was that sealing yourself off from one of your largest trading partners is bad for business. Calderon said:

    “The first loser of such a policy would be the United States. If this guy pretends that closing the borders to anywhere either for trade [or] for people is going ...

    Published on 02-10-2016 10:32 AM

    Tips for H-1B Season 2016


    H-1B season is now in full bloom for the capped H-1B numbers which are expected to run out in the first 5 business days of April. Everything should be done to ensure that if selected under the numbers cap, the petition is not rejected for other reasons. Being rejected even erroneously by U.S.C.I.S. sounds the death knell of the case. Even if not rejected, the petition should not be so flawed as to preclude a good chance of success. So the following are 10 common sense tips (some of them hoary chestnuts) that petitioners should take into consideration when filing the H-1B petitions:

    1. Employer signature on the forms – facsimile signatures are not acceptable. Felt tip pen and ...
    Published on 02-09-2016 12:47 PM

    DHS Can’t Enforce Its Way Out of a Refugee Crisis



    There are two competing narratives being spun about the Obama Administration’s response to the “surge” of refugees from Central America who are arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, and each of these narratives is as fanciful as the other. According to one story, there has been a near-instantaneous deterrent effect as a result of the raids which the Obama administration launched at the beginning of the year to round up Central American families who had stayed in the United States after being ordered removed by an immigration judge. But, according to the other story, the administration has simply stopped enforcing immigration law at the southwest border and laid out the welcome mat for anyone who wants to walk across. Needless to say, the truth lies far from either of these narratives. The deterrent effect of the in-humane and ill-conceived raids won’t be known for months. And the claim that the administration has created de facto open borders is hyperbole at its worst—especially in light of the fact that the administration has just launched a series of immigration raids against Central American families. You can’t have it both ways.

    The notion that the raids have already started “working” was intimated in a February 2 story in the New York Times which noted that:

    “A 65 percent drop from December to January in crossings by families—mostly women with their children from three violence-torn countries in Central America—came after widely publicized raids in the first days of this year in which 121 migrants were arrested for deportation.”

    While it’s true that both of these events occurred within the same time frame, suggesting a causal link is very premature. To begin with, even a cursory glance at Border Patrol apprehension numbers ...

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