I wanted to wish everybody a happy new year. The 2020 is going to be an amazing time, Year of the Rat. We’re going to definitely have a lot of excitement. There’s a lot going on with immigration this year. I just want to do a little bit of an overview. 

Changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

We are starting with the EB-5 having so many changes, new regulations, increased amount for the investors to be investing. We’re talking about the TEA investment increase from $500,000 to 900,000 and the regular EB-5 investments increasing from $1 million to $1.8 million. Those are significant numbers. 

We need you to make sure that you understand that now the actual TEA designation, which used to be made by the local governments and federal agencies is now made by the USCIS, and USCIS is deciding, pretty much it’s the czar who’s deciding on what is the TEA and what is not the TEA so that’s something new as well. 

We’re also seeing a lot more applications filed by professionals from India who are here on the H-1B visas and with the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories being so delayed, they choose to apply for EB-5 so that they can have some stability living in the United States with their families. When you have this unknown for so many years, it’s really unconscionable to have these people wait for so long, so a lot of them are applying for EB-5 visas. 

Korean EB-5 visa applications have gone up. There is an increase in the Vietnamese EB-5 applications. The number of Chinese EB-5 applications is kind of stabilizing, so it’s not increasing as much as it used to. The number of Russian EB-5 visa applications is down. 

All in all, the EB-5 program is transforming and changing and you do need an immigration attorney to assist you with this visa. 

H-1B Visas: What to Expect in 2020

Well, let’s move on to the next subject, which is the H-1B. The H-1B season is starting now. If you really want to have professional help from an experienced attorney, you should start hiring your attorney now. Because if last year, we could still help you put your application together, let’s say in the beginning of March, that’s no longer true. This is because now there is an additional step, which is the registration. 

The registration will be opening in March. We need to have all of our clients already on the roster so that we apply with those in mind. Of course, it’s now a different process. First, you register, you need to have the EIN number, employer address, employer name, and employee name. You don’t need to show their position yet, but you do need their name, their date of birth, the country they’re from, etc. 

You also want to be very careful because the same individual should not be applying for more than one visa through the same employer. Why am I underlining from the same employer? If the person is so highly qualified, then there may be more than one employer who wants to employ them. In this situation, it’s a different position and the employers are not related, so the employers can both potentially apply for that same individual to see if they will be able to get that individual through the H-1B. That’s a huge distinction that is definitely very important. If there are any duplicates from the same employer, then those cases will be denied. 

There’s also going to be a waitlist. The waitlist pretty much includes all those cases that are not picked. Then if somebody who was picked somehow screwed up and the information was typed wrong or the person accidentally filed twice, those unqualified applications will be put back into the pool. Then, the people from the waitlist would go into the pool again for another chance to be picked. That’s what we understand right now about the new H-1B process. 

There’s also a question about, “Well, do you file with a premium processing or not with a premium processing?” I have my own solutions for my clients. 

One thing I’ll be saying for sure is that we should prepare all the packages before the registration period starts because there’s not enough time between March 18th to April 1st to put all those packages together and you want to make sure that you’re filing your application on time. That’s all the information that is important on H-1B. 

Immigration Issues For Employees in Supervisory Positions

I’ve also recently seen some trends on an issue that has to do with supervisory positions. There are a lot of E-2 managers that are coming to the United States now that are actually going for their interviews and getting denied. 

Prior to this current administration, the way that the Department of State looked at the E-2 manager positions was as long as you have the E-2 investor and the manager qualifies under the relationships through the citizenship or nationality, there was very legal scrutiny about their actual qualifications on the supervising people. 

But now, I’ve seen a bunch of clients coming to me with their E-2 managers being denied because they did not provide enough information on their supervisory activities as a manager here. It pretty much looks like we’re looking at the same L-1A manager qualifications and the E-2 manager is now catching up with that. 

Stay Tuned For More Updates On U.S. Immigration

Those are the new topics for 2020. We’re going to talk about that more in the upcoming weeks. Again, happy holidays. Happy new year. I am hoping to have more of this short kind of summaries of my experiences through my clients and through teaching courses to other immigration attorneys, also, of course, through attending some of the conferences and meetings. I’ll talk to you next week. 

This is Margo with Fennemore Craig, and we are here to assist with all of your immigration needs. Thank you.