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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration Reform

EB-5 or EB-6 — Which Investor Visa is for You?

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The EB-5 visa for Immigrant Investors is a United States visa that allows foreign nationals who invest money in the United States to obtain permanent residency (green card ).  The usual investment threshold is $1 million (or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.  Investments can be made directly in a commercial enterprise (new, or existing  “Troubled Business”), or into a US government approved 3rd party-managed investment which invests the money and  takes over the responsibility of creating the requisite jobs.   There usually is a management or administration fee for managing the investor’s investment.

If the investor’s EB-5 visa petition is approved, the investor and any dependents will be granted conditional permanent residence valid for two years.  Upon fulfilling appropriate requirements, the conditional permanent residency may then be petitioned to be converted to a permanent residency.

Under the new Immigration Reform bill currently passing through the US Congress, the current EB-5 program is going to be expanded to include a new investor visa — EB-6 — that would bring down the investment threshold for those looking to invest and gain residency in the United States. Since over the past many years, barely half of the available EB-5 visas are issues every year, the new visa is designed to make use of the same pool of available visas as the existing EB-5 visa.

The fulfillment requirements attached to EB-6 differ from those for EB-5, and also distinguishes between a non-immigrant or an immigrant visa.  To gain permanent residency, the EB-6 visa calls for an investment as well as creation of 5 jobs.  Just like EB-5, an application then many be made after 2 years for a permanent residency permit.

For those looking for a non-permanent stay in the United States a three-year non-immigrant visa can be granted upon an investment of $100,000 in a U.S. company or upon creation of at least 3 jobs and annual revenues exceeding $250,000 for two years in a row.

While not utilized fully, EB-5 applications are on an upward trend over recent years, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). More and more new investors are able to get assistance with their applications from law firms, who can both represent the investor and advise in the matters of picking the right investment vehicles and/or 3rd party “managed investment” options for both EB-5 and EB-6 visas.

Hanishi  T. Ali is an immigration and international business attorney at Mithras Law Group, a greater Boston based immigration and international business law firm, which focuses on US, Canada and UK based Immigration law. Hanishi can be reached at 617-500-3233 or at

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July 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

“Startup Visa” Immigration Programs in USA & Canada

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There has been a lot of recent focus on the new proposed Startup Visa amendment to the U.S. immigration law.  This amendment would create a new immigrant visa category for entrepreneurs who have raised capital from qualified American investors.  This is a new employment based visa category — EB-6, and grants conditional permanent residency to the entrepreneur, who would be otherwise unable to avail of other existing immigrant visa categories such as EB-1 (Priority Worker) or EB-5 (the so-called investment visa).  The conditional residency can then convert to a permanent residency (green card) after two years if certain conditions are fulfilled.  Last week the Senate passed a bill containing this amendment by a vote of 68-32.  Before it becomes the law, the bill still has to pass the next hurdle in the House of Representatives.

Canadian government, in the meanwhile, has already launch a near identical Startup Visa program, starting in April 2013.  The aim is to encourage “innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and spur economic growth.”  This is a pilot program, initially to run for five years and with a limited number of applications.  If the program is deemed successful after the initial five years, it may be formally made permanent.

The Canadian Startup Visa Program will enable immigrant entrepreneurs to launch companies that will create jobs in Canada with investment made by approved Canadian investors.  The Program will provide entrepreneurs with valuable assistance in navigating the Canadian business environment which can sometimes prove challenging for newcomers.

Hanishi  T. Ali is an immigration and international business attorney at Mithras Law Group, a greater Boston based immigration and international business law firm, which focuses on US, Canada and UK based Immigration law. Hanishi can be reached at 617-500-3233 or at

Obama Addresses Immigration Reform during State of the Union Address

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It was reassuring to hear President Barack Obama touch on the divisive issue of Immigration Reform in last night’s State of the Union Address and to hear him speak in favor of the DREAM Act, which was narrowly defeated in the last Congress.

President Obama called on Republicans and Democrats to work jointly in order to pass comprehensive immigration reform, although it would be a very hard battle in Congress. Obama said immigrants can “further enrich this nation” and urged that we needed to reform our immigration laws so that the United States could continue to attract the best and brightest minds from around the world and retain the highly educated students that come here to pursue post-graduate degrees by making it easier for them to live and work in the United States, and once and for all to end the problem of illegal immigration. “Let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses and further enrich this nation,” Obama said.

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January 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm

President Obama’s Transcript on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Transcript of President Obama’s remarks aboard Air Force One on comprehensive Immigration Reform Prospects:
Question:  Are you committed to pushing forward on immigration law this year?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve made calls to Republicans to see if we can get them to join us. This is a difficult issue. It generates a lot of emotions, and the politics are difficult. But I’ve been unwavering in saying what we need to do. I think that I can get a majority of Democrats to support a comprehensive approach. But I need some help on the Republican side. We had that kind of help a couple of years ago. Senator McCain was one of the leaders in that process. I gave him a lot of credit for it, and still do.
And so the question is, can we get some movement on that front? Lindsey Graham has been in serious conversations with Senator Schumer. I appreciate his courage on that. And my hope is, is that we can get a working group that can move this forward so that we’ve got serious legislation that solves the border problem and solves the wide range of issues that we face under immigration reform in a way that can garner the support of the American people.
You notice in the town hall meeting yesterday, those folks aren’t enthusiastic about illegal immigration. But when you lay it out for them, a sensible way of doing it, holding people who’ve broken the law responsible, securing our borders but also recognizing we’re not going to send millions of people back, many of whom have children who might be U.S. citizens, and that there should be a more sensible way of dealing with it — people understand that.
So it’s a matter of political will. Now, look, we’ve gone through a very tough year, and I’ve been working Congress pretty hard. So I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue. There’s still work that has to be done on energy. Midterms are coming up. So I don’t want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn’t solve the problem. I want us to get together, get the best ideas on both sides, work this through, and when it’s ready to go, let’s move. But I think we need to start a process at least to open up a smarter, better discussion than the one that is raging right now.

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May 10, 2010 at 9:33 am

What about President Obama’s Promise for Immigration Reform?

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Whether President Obama will be able to deliver on his campaign promise of Immigration reform remains to be seen.  President Obama says he still remains committed to comprehensive Immigration Reform but says”it is a matter of political will”.
It is encouraging to see an emerging immigration proposal which has been proposed last month by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The proposal requires undocumented immigrants to register with the government, tougher enforcement at the border, tougher sanctions for employers that hire unauthorized immigrations, tougher enforcement in our workplaces and creating a visa system that protects labor rights. The proposal also requires undocumented workers to pay fines, taxes, and civil penalties, learn English, and other rigorous requirements in order to legalize.
Our Attorney, Hanishi Ali, commented on this issue in the Indus Business Journal’s most recent issue. For the full article see:

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May 6, 2010 at 11:40 am

US Supreme Court entitles criminal cases defendants to immigration advice

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March 31, 2010

By a  7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of a non-citizen immigrant, finding that his lawyer’s advice was so bad that it violated his constitutional right to a fair trial.

The high court’s ruling extends the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantee of “effective assistance of counsel” in criminal cases to immigration advice, especially in cases that involve deportation.

“The severity of deportation – the equivalent of banishment or exile – only underscores how critical it is for counsel to inform her noncitizen client that he faces a risk of deportation,” said Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the opinion for the court.

In September 2001,  Jose Padilla, a native of Honduras agreed to haul almost 1,000 pounds of marijuana, but his cargo was discovered at a truck weigh station in Kentucky and he was arrested. His lawyer advised him to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of five years in prison.

Padilla, who has lived in the United States for more than 40 years as a legal permanent resident, said he asked his lawyer at the time whether a guilty plea would affect his immigration status and was told it wouldn’t.  It turns out, Padilla’s trial lawyer was wrong, and the US Government sought his deportation.

Today, the court held that criminal defense lawyers must not only advise their non-citizen clients of the legal punishments that flow from pleading guilty, but also of the risk of deportation. In Padilla’s case, the court said, the terms of the immigration law were “succinct, clear and explicit” in defining the consequences of pleading guilty.

While seven justices ruled in Padilla’s favor, two of them — Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito — didn’t go as far as the majority on the duty of defense lawyers. They said a lawyer is required only to warn a defendant that a guilty plea could adversely affect their immigration status and that they should therefore consult an immigration lawyer.

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March 31, 2010 at 2:41 pm

New DHS Initiatives to Enhance E-Verify

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently announced new  initiatives to strengthen the efficiency and accuracy of the E-Verify system.

These include:

  1. streamlining the adjudication process in cases of E-Verify misuse and discrimination;
  2. an informational telephone hotline for employees to provide a better customer experience for workers seeking E-Verify information; and
  3. new training videos focusing on E-Verify procedures and policies, employee rights and employer responsibilities.

A Memorandum of Agreement signed between USCIS and the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices establishes a streamlined process for addressing potential cases of discrimination and employer misuse of E-Verify.

Also, the USCIS E-Verify help line will now offer employees information about the E-Verify process, as well as assistance in completing the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification).  Callers can also use the help line to will file complaints about possible discrimination or employer misuse of the E-Verify program.

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March 30, 2010 at 11:22 am

Posted in Immigration

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Immigration Reform Policy Plan Outlined By Schumer and Graham

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Immigration reform was one of President Obama’s campaign promises but the agenda item has been on the back-burner of the Obama Administration. Last week, however, there was a little momentum when President Obama met with over a dozen grass-roots leaders and with Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.).

Both Schumer and Graham outlined an immigration policy plan in the Washington Post that includes:

1. Biometric Social Security cards;

2. Border security and interior enforcement;

3. A process for admitting temporary workers and a path to legalization for those already in the United States.

4. Increase border patrol.

See the full article here.

Do you think Immigration Reform will gain bipartisan support this year?

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March 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Did US Immigration Policies Affect Chicago’s Chance to Host Olympics?

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The question raised by NY Times and other media publications is whether current US Immigration policies and US Passport Control played a part in Chicago’s loss to host the US Olympics in 2016.

One of the most difficult question that was posed to the 10 person Chicago bid team, that included President Obama, was by an I.O.C. member from Pakistan who asked what kind of welcome would visitors get when they arrived in the U.S. to attend the Olympic games and he commented that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience”.

Although President Obama in reply said, “one of the legacies I want to see is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world,” it may not have been convincing enough for the I.O.C. team and resulted in Chicago being eliminated in the first round in it’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Do you think the US needs to reform its entry process and passport control procedures so as to make international travellers feel more welcome,  along with having in place a secure system or then do you consider Chicago’s loss a blessing in disguise for the US?

We welcome readers to share their comments and ideas.

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October 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Microsoft Chairman: Stricter US Immigration Policies may be an Impediment to Economic Growth

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In a speech this week to the Transforming India through Technology conference in New Delhi, India, Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, suggested that if tougher U.S. immigration laws are implemented it would be a great mistake.

Gates, who has been vocal against tougher immigration laws, urged that a free exchange of talent was important for the US economy and that the US Government should make immigration exceptions for “smart people”.

See article in Computer World

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July 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm

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