Archive for August, 2014

White House Considers Sharp Increase in Legal Immigration

Posted on August 27th, 2014 by Brian Garcia

 

In an article appearing in today’s Washington Post, the White House is considering proposals from business and immigrant rights groups to provide hundreds of thousands of new green cards for legal immigration.  This news comes on the heels of the U.S. State Department announcement that the EB-5 visa preference category has become unavailable to Chinese nationals for the remainder of FY2014.  Should the White House follow through with such a proposal, this action would provide much needed relief to Chinese nationals participating in the EB-5 program and greatly enhance the popularity of the program.

In recent months, the Obama administration has announced a number of executive actions in other areas and the White House now appears prepared to take on immigration reform due to Congressional inaction.  With proposals being considered regarding undocumented immigrants, pressure is mounting on the White House to improve the legal immigration system by reducing backlogs and increasing the annual allotment of green cards.  The Washington Post reports that the White House is considering proposals that would more than double the 366,000 green cards now allotted for family and employment-based immigration.

Among the proposals considered are those that have long been supported by the EB-5 community and centers on changing how the issuance of green cards is counted against the annual allotment.  Under legislation established in 1990, each family member receiving a green card is counted against the annual allotment of available green cards.  The White House is considering counting only the principal green card holder in each case against the annual allotment of green cards and excluding family members from that count.  This change alone will significantly reduce huge backlogs and greatly increase the number of available green cards each fiscal year.

Altering how green cards are counted will greatly increase the number of available green cards allotted to the EB-5 visa preference category as well.  With a current limitation of 10,000 green cards per U.S. fiscal year, counting only the principal investor and excluding the accompanying family members from this allotment will increase the number of available green cards and enhance the EB-5 program as a whole.  With such a measure, our early report regarding the unavailability of EB-5 green cards for Chinese nationals would be moot.

The Washington Post reports that a decision from the Obama administration is expected by Summer’s end which is quickly upon us.

EB-5 Visas Unavailable for Chinese Nationals for Remainder of FY2014

Posted on August 27th, 2014 by Brian Garcia

 

The U.S. Department of State Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division recently announced that the EB-5 visa preference category has become unavailable for Chinese nationals for the remainder of FY2014 which ends on September 30, 2014.  As of October 1, 2014, the EB-5 visa preference category will again be available to Chinese nationals.  This action by the U.S. Department of State should not be mistaken to mean that the annual limit of 10,000 EB-5 visas has been reached.

This action means that the maximum number of EB-5 immigrant visas available for Chinese nationals has been reached for FY2014.  A sufficient number of EB-5 immigrant visas remain available for applicants from other countries in compliance with the visa allocation rules followed by the U.S. Department of State.  The visa allocation rules are designed to prevent nationals from one country from oversubscribing any particular immigrant visa category.  It is noteworthy, however, that this is the first time since the EB-5 program was created almost 25 years ago that EB-5 immigrant visas have become unavailable to applicants from one country.

The new allocation of 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas will be available on October 1, 2014, and as a result there will be little impact whatsoever to Chinese EB-5 visa applicants.  This action by the U.S. Department of State demonstrates the strong demand among Chinese nationals for the EB-5 visa preference category.  Should such demand continue unabated, it is entirely likely that the unavailability of the EB-5 visa preference category to Chinese nationals will be routine.  As a result, this issue is sure to be monitored carefully by the EB-5 community and likely result on continued pressure on the Obama administration to lift the annual limitation of 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas.