1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Where’s my green card?

Longer waiting times expected for EB-5 immigrant investors

The US Department of State estimates longer waiting periods for EB-5 immigrant investors from the top six participating countries: China, Vietnam, India, Brazil, Taiwan and South Korea.

Waiting periods have long existed for immigrant investors born in mainland China and recently, EB-5 visa applicants from Viet Nam have been facing them. The State Department’s Visa Bulletin for June 2018 shows that EB-5 immigrant visas are only available to people born in China and Vietnam who applied before August 1, 2014. Now, the State Department predicts the likelihood, in the near future, of waiting periods for people born in the other four above-named countries.

The State Department predicts that, for people born in India, EB-5 will remain currently available until 2019 and that EB-5 is likely to remain available without longer waiting times for people born in Brazil, Taiwan and South Korea until 2020.

The US limits the number of immigrant visas and green cards issued each fiscal year. The limits are based on both visa category and country of birth. Each country has potentially the same supply. Only 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas are available each fiscal year (October 1, 2017, was day one for FY2018). This small allocation is shared by immigrant investors and the family members who immigrate with them.

In addition to the countries mentioned above, the State Department reports increases in demand from Russia, Japan, Colombia and Venezuela.

While each country is entitled to 7 percent of the annual supply (i.e., 700 visas), any unused visas are allocated in order of immigrant petition receipt date, regardless of place of birth. In the past, that resulted in more China-born immigrants. As the demand from other countries increases, expect fewer unused visas and longer waiting periods.

For example, in FY2017 China received 75 percent (or 7,567) of all EB-5 immigrant visas because of unused visas allocated to other countries. Due to increasing demand from other countries, China will likely get fewer visas this year and in the future. The State Department puts the number at 4,500 in FY2018 and 3,500 in FY2019 (or less than half that of FY2017).

The bottom line: It is more important than ever for immigrant investors to file their petitions as early as possible. The date that the government receives the petition is the priority date.

The Visa Bulletin allocates immigrant visas by priority date. The sooner immigrants make their investment and file the petition, the faster they will get resident status. Petitions are processed slowly by the government. Since the priority date is the date that petitions are first received, immigrant investors are already in line during processing.

There are federal legislative and regulatory proposals pending that would at least partially address this problem. But these are only proposals and it is not clear when they will become law, if ever. One thing is certain: Unless and until Congress increases the annual supply of EB-5 visas, increasingly long waiting periods will create hardships on immigrant investors that will likely result in less job creation for American workers.

EB-5 refers to the employment-based, fifth preference immigrant visa classification. EB-5 is the US immigrant investor program that grants immigrant visas and resident status (or green cards) to individuals who make an at-risk investment that creates, directly or indirectly, full-time equivalent jobs for at least 10 American workers. The required dollar amount of investment is currently US$1 million, although US$500,000 is acceptable in targeted employment areas where the government wants to encourage job creation, generally high-unemployment or rural areas.

, , , , , , , ,

Where’s my green card?

Potential new rules for Russian work or residency permits

Migrant Workers Learning

The Federation Council (the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia) approved on April 16 a law requiring foreign citizens to take examinations in Russian history, legislation and language in order to receive a certificate necessary for obtaining work permits and permanent or temporary residence permits. If the law is signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, practically all categories of foreign employees (visa or non-visa) working in Russia – irrespective of whether they are migrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union working as street cleaners or skilled drilling engineers from elsewhere — will be required to comply as of January 1, 2015. The law will also apply to foreign workers employed as nannies, housekeepers, etc., and foreigners obtaining Russian permanent or temporary residence permits.

These new rules will not affect highly-qualified specialists (foreign employees earning more than approximately 40,000 euros a year who hold an applicable work permit) who work in Russia and foreign students of accredited state educational institutions who wish to work simultaneously with their studies.  In addition, applicants for a Russian permanent or temporary residence permit under 18 years old or over 65 (men) or 60 (women), as well as a few other categories of foreign citizens, will be exempt from such examinations.

Legislators believe the changes will be an important step towards the adaptation and integration of foreign citizens in Russia.

, , , , , , ,

Potential new rules for Russian work or residency permits