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MARGO CHERNYSHEVA ELECTED NEVADA AILA CHAIR, WILL SPEAK AT AILA NEW ORLEANS CONFERENCE

Posted on: June 20, 2017 by in blog
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We are pleased to announce that Las Vegas immigration attorney Margo Chernysheva has been elected as the Chair for the Nevada Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). She will be one of the speakers at the 2017 AILA Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 21-24. The 2017 AILA Annual Conference will focus on the new presidential administration and how to navigate the new challenges that are affecting the practice of immigration law. Now, more than ever, immigration attorneys need support from their fellow practitioners to navigate through these uncertain times for immigration practice.

This year’s AILA Annual Conference will offer continuing legal education (CLE) credits and more than 140 sessions providing information that is vital to immigration attorneys in 2017 and beyond. The American Immigration Lawyers Association advocates for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advances the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhances the professional development of its members.

Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 39 chapters and over 50 national committees. The 2017 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law runs June 21 through June 24 at the New Orleans Marriott and the Sheraton New Orleans. Learn more about AILA and the 2017 Annual Conference here.

As the founder of MC Law Group, with offices in Las Vegas, Glendale, California, and GuangZhou City, China, Las Vegas immigration attorney Margo Chernysheva represents clients from around the world, acting as their steadfast advocate in matters involving immigration law. MC Law Group focuses on all aspects of immigration law including business, investor, and family immigration. With her extensive immigration law background and experience, Ms. Chernysheva advises and advocates on behalf of employers, investors, professionals, families, and anyone who is confronting any kind of immigration problem.

Attorney Margo Chernysheva Will Be Speaking At The 2017 Global Summit

Posted on: June 11, 2017 by in blog
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For more information or to RSVP to this event, email Lorena Marcelo at lmarcelo@glvar.org

Falsely Claiming Citizenship: A Cautionary Case

Posted on: March 12, 2016 by in blog, immigration
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If you have been hired for a job in the United States at any time since 1986, you have probably filled out an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.

It’s a form that the U.S. government requires employers to use to confirm an employee’s eligibility, based on immigration status, to accept employment in the United States. Falsely claiming to be a citizen of the United States or a U.S. national on an official document such as an I-9 form can be quite tempting.

Sometimes in their enthusiasm to secure a job and succeed in the United States, foreign nationals may check the box for either “citizen” or “national” on the I-9 Form. Unfortunately, many people may not realize that falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national can have severe, negative, and permanent consequences for anyone hoping eventually to obtain legal status or/and become a citizen of the United States.

If you are a foreign national in the United States, it is imperative to protect yourself from legal trouble with the immigration authorities.

The best way to obtain a green card or to become a naturalized citizen of the United States is with the help of a good immigration lawyer. In most cases, an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can help anyone reach his or her goals in the United States without falsehood or deception.

Falsely claiming citizenship will result in a denial of adjustment of status or/and the denial of a green card.

In fact, falsely claiming citizenship can make a person inadmissible to the United States forever, and that person will never be able to acquire a green card, become a naturalized citizen, or even reenter the country. The U.S. Code – the federal law of the United States – specifies that, “An alien becomes inadmissible when, inter alia, he falsely represents himself as a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act.” (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii).

Las Vegas immigration attorney

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF FALSELY CLAIMING CITIZENSHIP?

The potential negative consequences for anyone who falsely claims to be a United States citizen were recently demonstrated once again when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld an immigration judge’s ruling – and a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling – in the case of Munna Godfrey v. Loretta E. Lynch. In Godfrey, Mr. Godfrey’s adjustment of status request was denied by an immigration judge after that judge learned that Mr. Godfrey had chosen in the past to represent himself falsely as a U.S. citizen on an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.

Munna Godfrey is a 36-year-old native of Tanzania who came to the United States in May 2002 to attend Wichita State University with an F-1 nonimmigrant student visa. Mr. Godfrey dropped out of Wichita State in August 2002, but he remained in the United States.

In 2004 he married Traci Godfrey, a U.S. citizen, with whom he has one biological son and four stepchildren. Godfrey attended other schools and has been employed at a supermarket and at a nursing home. Each employer asked Mr. Godfrey to complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form, and each time he filled out the form, he checked a box indicating he was “a citizen or national of the United States.”

Mr. Godfrey then applied for a green card based on his marriage to a U.S. citizen. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied the green card application in 2009 because it found that Mr. Godfrey had violated the terms of his original student visa by lying about U.S. citizenship.

Las Vegas immigration attorney

WHEN IS REMOVAL JUSTIFIED?

Mr. Godfrey then sought adjustment of status under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

That act allows adjustment of status during removal proceedings provided the immigrant is eligible for a visa and is admissible to the United States.

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, however, determined that the original immigration judge’s ruling was proper, and the Eighth Circuit Court also determined that because Mr. Godfrey claimed to be a citizen in order to obtain and keep his job, his removal was justified.

While the Eighth Circuit Court said that simply checking the box on the I-9 form indicating that an individual is a U.S. “citizen or national” doesn’t necessarily or always render someone inadmissible to the U.S., the judges found that Munna Godfrey actually intended to represent himself as a citizen to obtain and keep his job. Thus, Mr. Godfrey’s case was denied for review by the United States Court of Appeal, Eighth Circuit on September 21, 2015.

According to court records, Mr. Godfrey earlier testified that he didn’t know the difference between a citizen and national, but he also testified that he in fact did intend to represent himself as a citizen because he knew it would help him to obtain and keep his job, and he also knew that being a “citizen” was in some way “better” than being a “U.S. national.”

Godfrey also continued to represent himself as a citizen even subsequent to the start of removal proceedings, the Eight Circuit Court noted. Judges additionally rejected Godfrey’s argument that he is eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Eighth Circuit Court ruled that the INA does not waive inadmissibility when that inadmissibility is based on false claims of citizenship to obtain a benefit.

More specifically, the Immigration and Nationality Act makes inadmissible any foreign national who has represented that he or she is a U.S. citizen for “any purpose or benefit” under state or federal law.

The phrase “any purpose or benefit” is important because it makes this ground of inadmissibility very broad – meaning that it can cover a number of different situations. The court also decided that Godfrey was not denied due process when the original immigration judge permitted the admission of his I-9 forms as evidence. The Eighth Circuit Court previously ruled that I-9 forms may be admitted as evidence in deportation proceedings.

Las Vegas immigration attorney

WHAT IS A BETTER OPTION?

Falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen is never a smart choice.

If someone is not a U.S. citizen, claiming to be a citizen will not help that person obtain a job, a loan, or any other benefit. In fact, the deception will be discovered, and that person may also be charged with criminal fraud and put at risk for deportation, like Munna Godfrey.

It is illegal to claim falsely to be a citizen of the United States on an I-9 employment form, and it is also illegal to claim falsely to be a citizen to obtain a loan, public assistance, housing, a passport, or for any other reason.

Instead of making false claims, it’s much better for people to get the immigration help they genuinely need by working with an experienced immigration lawyer.

The cautionary Godfrey case offers insight into how seriously a false claim of U.S. citizenship can impact someone’s hopes and plans to gain legal status in the United States. One must be extremely careful.

Even unintentionally making a false claim because of a misunderstanding could still result in placement in removal proceedings and ultimately result in deportation.

If someone is deported for falsely claiming U.S. citizenship – whether the claim was intentional or unintentional – that person may become permanently inadmissible to the United States, meaning no reentry and thus no chance for a green card or naturalized citizenship.

In some situations, waivers are available that allow an applicant who has been found inadmissible to receive a green card, but the government offers no waiver to anyone who has falsely claimed U.S. citizenship.

Caution is also required when completing and filing any forms that request information about citizenship. Employers based in the United States require all newly-hired workers to complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, but several other legal forms have also been commonly used to claim citizenship falsely, such as student loan applications, voter registration forms, DMV registration forms, and U.S. passport applications. These are just a few of the many opportunities for someone to claim citizenship falsely, but the consequences of having false citizenship claims discovered always far outweigh the benefits of making a false claim.

Las Vegas immigration attorney

HOW CAN AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY HELP?

When anyone completes an I-9 employment form or any other form that asks about citizenship, that person must tell the truth. Deception can’t help, but an experienced immigration lawyer probably can.

In fact, possibly the most well-known job of an immigration lawyer is helping people become naturalized United States citizens. Immigration attorneys gather and review the necessary documents for naturalization, answer their clients’ questions, and offer their clients guidance and advice along the pathway to citizenship.

However, help with becoming a citizen is only one of an immigration attorney’s many roles. Immigration lawyers help international students, professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors obtain visas, solve legal problems, and overcome other obstacles to entering and remaining in the United States.

Immigration attorneys help families to reunite in the U.S., and they help employers hire immigrants and stay compliant with a vast number of immigration-related employment laws and regulations. Obtain the sound legal advice and immigration guidance you need to reach your goals – whatever they may be – in the United States by consulting with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney regarding any immigration-related legal issue.

Great News For EB-5 Investors

Posted on: February 29, 2016 by in blog, EB-5
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Great news for international investors with approved EB-5 applications: Since February 22, 2016, EB-5 investors with approved I-526 petitions – and their employment immigration attorneys – are now able to obtain information directly from the new EB-5 Investor Assistance Desk at the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your EB-5 visa petition, USCIS sends the petition to the NVC for immigrant visa pre-processing. EB-5 investors and their employment immigration lawyers with visa processing questions and concerns may now send their inquiries directly to the following email address: NVCeb5@state.gov.

Las Vegas immigration attorney

Your questions and inquiries will be fielded by a team of professionals at the NVC who are specially-trained in EB-5 investor petitions and the complications that typically arise. Investors or their attorneys with questions regarding derivative applicants – the investor’s spouse and/or unmarried children under age 21 children – will be required to attach documents that prove the derivative’s relationship to the primary visa applicant.

The NVC’s regular application process for filing financial, civil, and other supporting documents has not changed. These documents still must be submitted in one package in order for an investor to qualify for an EB-5 visa and to schedule a visa interview at an overseas consulate. Let an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney with MC Law Group help you compile the necessary documents and review the application package prior to submission. The new EB-5 email desk has been designed to respond exclusively to case-specific status inquiries and to answer questions regarding EB-5 visa processing. Inquiries must be precisely formatted and include the applicant’s full name, case number, date of birth, and other required information.

Las Vegas immigration attorney

The types of obstacles that EB-5 investors must sometimes deal with at the NVC stage include delays in the issuance of Fee Bills, misspelled names on Fee Bills, missing Fee Bills for derivative applicants, and difficulties accessing DS-260 applications and paying Fee Bills on the NVC website. EB-5 investors are now able to turn to the new EB-5 Investor Assistance Desk for much needed assistance with these issues. Investors may contact an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney at MC Law Group for assistance with the NVC process or any aspect of the EB-5 investor visa program. For the EB-5 help you need, call us promptly – from anywhere in the world – at (702) 258-1093.

Supreme Court To Rule On Deferred Action Programs

Posted on: February 12, 2016 by in blog, immigration reform
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On January 19, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will review a case that challenges the legality of President Obama’s executive actions granting semi-legal status and work authorization to potentially five million undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children or who are the parents of U.S. citizens. The nation’s highest court will review a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court that has blocked the implementation of President Obama’s 2014 deferred action initiatives – DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and an expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The Court’s ruling is expected by the end of June.

If the Supreme Court upholds the President’s executive actions, qualifying immigrants would be allowed to work in the United States and temporarily shielded from deportation actions. The deferred action programs offer no path to citizenship and no green cards, and undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes in the United States would not be eligible for deferred action. For now, none of the activity in the courts affects the existing, original DACA program. Immigrants may still request an initial grant or a renewal of DACA according to the regulations implemented in 2012. Anyone who needs to apply for or renew DACA status should contact our experienced Las Vegas immigration attorneys at once.

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According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), the DAPA program could create more than 20,000 new jobs each year over the next ten years. DAPA could also increase the GDP by $164 billion over the next decade and add $88 billion to the personal incomes of working Americans. Millions of immigrants are now awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision. If you are a DACA-qualified or DAPA-qualified immigrant – or if you’re not sure – or if you are a U.S.-based employer who hires immigrants to work in the United States, let an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer provide the immigration-related legal advice and services you need, and do not wait to make the call.

The H-1B Window Opens April 1

Posted on: February 9, 2016 by in blog, visas
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Every year during a brief filing period beginning April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H-1B visa petitions for the following fiscal year. Employers across the United States are already evaluating their H-1B visa needs for the April filing period and consulting immigration attorneys to handle the visa petitions and to provide sound legal insights and advice. For U.S.-based employers seeking H-1B visas or seeking to learn more about H-1B visas, the first thing to know is that the number of available H-1B visas is capped and that the competition for those particular visas is aggressive. Since 2005, the H-1B cap has been set at 65,000, although an additional 20,000 H-1B visas are also made available for employees holding advanced degrees earned at U.S. institutions.

The qualifications required to obtain H-1B visas are quite strict, and the demand exceeds the supply by about 3-to-1. In 2013, 120,000 H-1B applications were received by April 2, so a lottery system has now been implemented to distribute H-1B visas. The lottery is a random selection process of the H-1B petitions received to determine which will be assigned an H-1B cap number and adjudicated. Last year, USCIS received approximately 233,000 H-1B petitions in the first week the window was open. Employers hiring foreign national employees who need H-1B sponsorship should contact an immigration attorney today in order to ensure their sponsorship petitions are received at USCIS on April 1, 2016. The deadline is approaching swiftly, so you and your immigration attorney need to begin preparing your H-1B petition package immediately

DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN

H-1B visas are frankly difficult – but not impossible – to obtain. If you are an employer in the United States, an experienced immigration attorney can help your company meet all of the required deadlines, provide accurate and complete information, and avoid the mistakes and misunderstandings that keep many employers from acquiring the visas they need. A good immigration lawyer, in other words, can put you in the best possible position to obtain H-1B visas and can probably help you if necessary with other appropriate visa options. Employers who need H-1B visas can arrange right now to speak with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

Many businesses based in the United States use the H-1B visa program to hire international workers in specialty occupations that require the practical or theoretical application of highly specialized knowledge. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 defines a “specialty occupation” as employment requiring specialized knowledge in a particular field and requiring a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. International workers fill critical hiring needs in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Those workers include but are not limited to computer programmers, mathematicians, engineers, and scientists in fields including chemistry, robotics, and biotechnology. The current demand for workers in those industries actually exceeds the supply, so it’s important for employers to be knowledgeable and fully-prepared when applying for H-1B visas and to have the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney.

H-1B work authorization is restricted to employment provided by a sponsoring employer. If all other conditions are met, H-1B work authorization is good for three years and may be extended to six years. However, H-1B visa regulations do not require the visa holder to remain with the sponsoring employer for a specific length of time, provided that a new employer sponsors the employee for another H-1B visa.

Las Vegas immigration attorney

WHO CAN QUALIFY?

It’s also important to know – despite what you may have read or heard – that H-1B visas are not issued exclusively to companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Employers in all regions of the country petition for and acquire H-1B visas. A number of companies in a number of major cities request 250 or more H-1B visas every year. H-1B visa holders contribute to their local communities and to the national economy, and they help employers create even more new jobs and new opportunities for economic growth.

Employees approved and selected for H-1B visas this April will receive those visas in October at the start of FY2017. Employers now should identify those candidates who need sponsorship. Some of those candidates may already be employed and working in the U.S. with temporary work authorizations. Employees and candidates who may need H–1B sponsorship may include:

  • Candidates currently in H-1B status with an H-1B cap-exempt employer (a college or university or an affiliated non-profit, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization) who are seeking work with a cap-subject employer
  • Students and recent graduates currently working in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) who will need H-1B sponsorship when their OPT or CPT expires
  • Candidates currently holding another nonimmigrant work visa (such as a TN, H-3, H-2, O-1, or J–1 visa) who need to change their status to H–1B

RESPONSIBILITIES OF SPONSORING EMPLOYERS

When the H-1B employment period has concluded, the employer must contact USCIS to have the H-1B petition revoked. As long as the H-1B petition remains in effect, the employer must pay the worker’s wages. If the employer terminates the H-1B worker, the employer must offer to pay for return transportation to the worker’s last place of residence abroad. The return transportation requirement does not apply if the H-1B worker resigns from the position or leaves voluntarily. Employers, however, are not responsible for return transportation costs for the H-1B worker’s dependent family members.

Employers must also avoid any allegations of discrimination based on citizenship status or national origin, so the questions they ask of candidates must be worded carefully. An experienced immigration attorney can help employers draft appropriate interview questions and avoid any charges of discrimination. Employers in the U.S. face potential legal liability if they favor American citizens over authorized foreign guest workers in layoffs, pay decisions, and other such actions. The Immigration and Nationality Act bars discrimination in employment based on citizenship or immigration status by employers with more than four employees, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin by employers with fifteen or more employees.

REASONS FOR DENIALS

An H-1B visa may be denied if the sponsoring employer does not appear to be a real, established, operating U.S. company with the capacity to hire and pay an H-1B worker. Employers petitioning for H-1B visas must provide documentation such as a tax identification number, tax returns, or financial statements. Insufficient documentation will lead to the automatic rejection of an H-1B visa application.

An H-1B visa petition may also be rejected if the job that iss offered does not qualify as a “specialty occupation.” If the H-1B petition states that the employee will work offsite at a client location, this may raise questions about whether the employee will genuinely be working for the sponsoring employer. The employer may be asked for evidence such as a contract agreement and a clear statement that only that employer will have employer control over the employee who will be working at the client location. Failure to include any of this evidence in the initial visa petition may result in a denial. A good immigration attorney will know precisely what is required.

DEPENDENT FAMILY MEMBERS

Dependent family members (spouses and children under age 21) are eligible for H-4 visas to accompany an H-1B worker to the United States. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security extended eligibility for work authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of those H-1B visa holders who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS will now allow these H-4 visa holders to accept employment in the United States. Qualifying H-4 spouses must file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with supporting documentation and the required fee in order to obtain a Form I-766, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). When USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States.

U.S.-based employers who hire international workers should know from the beginning that they must adhere to a number of immigration laws and immigration-related employment regulations. Federal agencies may inspect your employment records and your overall operations to ensure your compliance. Compliance investigations are routinely conducted by several U.S. government agencies and departments: the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL); U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and the U.S. State Department.

Las Vegas immigration attorney

THE HELP EMPLOYERS NEED

A good immigration attorney can verify that your company’s policies are in compliance or can show you what changes need to be made. If you are cited for non-compliance by any enforcement agency, have an experienced immigration lawyer suggest the appropriate remedial legal action and the changes needed to prevent a recurrence. If you are investigated for possible violations of immigration or employment laws, or if you are an employer who is currently appealing a finding or a ruling from a government agency, you very much need to be represented by an experienced immigration attorney.

Immigration law in the United States is baffling, confusing, and exceedingly complicated. If you are a U.S.-based employer hiring international employees to work for your business, the laws you deal with will be numerous and complex. You can obtain help right away from an experienced immigration Las Vegas attorney if you have any immigration-related questions or concerns or if you are dealing with any specific, legal immigration issue. Employers, hiring managers, and international workers are all urged to contact an experienced immigration attorney by phone or by e-mail to have your visa questions answered or to begin the H-1B visa petition process. The April 1 deadline is rapidly approaching, so employers should make the call and get started as quickly as possible.

Visas For International Investors

Posted on: January 11, 2016 by in blog, EB-5
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Obtaining insights and legal assistance from an experienced U.S. immigration attorney is the very best option if you are an international investor who is seeking to invest and live in the United States. You’ll need to submit a number of forms and documents to immigration authorities, you’ll need to have some patience, and to avoid any mistakes or misunderstandings, you will also need from the very beginning the legal advice and services of a good U.S. immigration attorney. Congress determines how many immigrants – and precisely which immigrants – will be allowed to enter the United States each year. A complicated formula determines how many and what kind of visas will be made available each year, and that formula also decides who will be approved for those visas. The current U.S. ratification options available to international investors include:

1. The E-2 visa: The E-2 ratification program does not currently offer international investors a green card, but it does require a “significant” investment in an active U.S. business.

2. The EB-5 visa: The EB-5 visa program, recently reauthorized by Congress, currently requires a minimum investment of $500,000 into a U.S. business and the creation of at least ten U.S.-based jobs. If the jobs are created and the other requirements are satisfied, investors and their immediate families receive green cards.

3. The L-1A visa: Another potential option for international investors is the L-1A visa. However, the L-1A is an employment-based visa that requires employer sponsorship. The L-1A visa lets a U.S. employer transfer an executive or manager from one of its foreign offices to an office in the United States.

THE E-2 VISA

If you are a savvy international investor, you are probably already aware that smart investment opportunities are abundant in every region of the United States. The E-2 visa is designed for investors from treaty-partner nations who are willing to make a significant investment in an ongoing U.S. business enterprise. To acquire an E-2 visa, an international investor must demonstrate that his or her investment will create not only profits but also jobs for U.S.-based workers. If you’re currently in the United States and you are interested in acquiring an E-2 visa, you’ll also have to apply for a change of status by submitting a Form I-129. The ratification and investment requirements are quite complicated, so you will very much want an immigration attorney’s help. Any mistake could result in substantial delays in the approval of your visa.

THE EB-5 VISA

To help finance projects such as stadiums, hotels, and vacation resorts, U.S.-based developers are looking more frequently to the EB-5 investor ratification program. The EB-5 program has provided about $6.5 billion to dozens of development projects across the United States over the last decade, and it has directly created more than 130,000 jobs. If you are an international investor looking for a good opportunity in the United States, the EB-5 ratification might be right for you.

The EB-5 ratification provides a path to lawful permanent residency; the E-2 visa does not. Investors from only particular nations – “treaty partner nations” – will be eligible to acquire the E-2 visa, but all qualified international investors may petition for an EB-5 investor visa. Through the EB-5 investor visa program, the United States allows international investors to invest in U.S.-based businesses and to live here with their immediate families. As the conditions of the EB-5 ratification are satisfied, investors and their families qualify to receive green cards. International investors with specific questions and concerns regarding the EB-5 investor visa program should consult with a good immigration lawyer in the United States. From wherever you are, you can arrange to speak with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney, learn more about the EB-5 visa and your other visa options, and begin the visa application process.

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BOOSTING THE U.S. ECONOMY

When the EB-5 investor ratification program was launched twenty-six years ago, it required international investors to create a new business in the United States. That requirement has changed, so that if ten new jobs are created, EB-5 investments may now be made into ongoing U.S.-based enterprises. Most EB-5 investors choose to work through an EB-5 Regional Center. Regional Centers are private groups that pool investor funds primarily for large development projects. For example, EB-5 investors are bringing new life to one of San Francisco’s most depressed districts. The $8 billion “Shipyards” project will create thousands of new homes as well as offices, retail locations, healthcare facilities, parks, an arts center, and studios for the community’s many artists.

EB-5 investors have built new university buildings, restaurants, and a number of other successful projects in Miami. EB-5 Regional Centers also funded the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and a number of other successful development projects across the country. In New York City, developers backed by EB-5 investments are building one of the largest Ferris wheels on the planet. Now in progress on Staten Island, “The Wheel” will stand over 600 feet high when it’s completed, offering spectacular views of the New York skyline. The development also includes a retail center, a major hotel, and a number of restaurants.

The EB-5 investor ratification program offers to investors from all nations a chance to pursue the American Dream and to live in the United States with their families. It offers developers and business owners another option for acquiring the investment resources they need to launch new business ventures and to bring new prosperity to sluggish companies and communities. The typical return on an EB-5 investment is a respectable eight percent, but many EB-5 investors are honestly more interested in green cards and good college educations for their children.

TARGETED EMPLOYMENT AREAS

Placing an EB-5 investment in a designated Targeted Employment Area or TEA lowers the minimum investment requirement from $1 million to $500,000. An EB-5 investment has to be located in a rural region or in an area with a high unemployment rate in order to receive the TEA designation. To qualify as a Targeted Employment Area, the location must have an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the U.S. national average. To obtain a TEA designation, an EB-5 ratification applicant must produce evidence that the project is located a rural or a high unemployment area.

An experienced immigration attorney can help you gather that evidence and offer other key insights and advice. Acquiring an EB-5 ratification and seeking the right investment opportunity takes some time and effort, but investors have learned that the benefits of the EB-5 investor visa program are very much worth their efforts. When an EB-5 ratification petition is approved, the visa holder/investor and his or her dependents are granted conditional permanent residence for two years. Within the ninety days prior to the end of that two year period, the investor must produce evidence that the full investment has been made and that ten jobs have been maintained, created, or will be created in a reasonable time.

CHANGES MAY BE COMING

At the end of 2015, Congress agreed to extend the EB-5 investor visa program through September 2016. Several times in 2015, Congress considered changes to the EB-5 program, but no action was taken, and lawmakers have now given themselves more time to study a number of proposals, including increasing the availability of EB-5 visas (now capped at 10,000 per year), raising the minimum investment amount, and creating tougher penalties for non-compliance. With only 10,000 EB-5 visas offered each year, it’s important for investors to begin the process as early as possible. The EB-5 visa is a superior and increasingly popular path to lawful permanent residency in the U.S. for those international investors with the resources and the tenacity to pursue it. Learn more about the EB-5 investor visa program by arranging a consultation with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

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THE L-1A VISA

A third possible option for international investors is the L-1A visa. The L-1A is a nonimmigrant ratification that allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its foreign offices to an office in the United States or to send an executive or manager to the United States to establish one. An eligible executive or manager must have worked outside of the U.S. for the sponsoring employer for one continuous year in the three-year period prior to entering the U.S. An L-1A is approved for one year. Requests for extensions may be granted in two-year increments until the employee has reached the limit of seven years. The L-1A visa is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa, so an L-1A visa holder who desires to and remain in the United States will need to request a change of immigration status. For example, after the L-1A is approved and all conditions have been met, the manager or executive may apply for an EB-1(c) visa, and upon approval of the EB-1(c), for a green card.

The United States always needs creative entrepreneurs, bold investors, and hard-working families. Their dreams can still come true here. Of course, preparation, patience, persistence, and good legal counsel are all needed whenever an investor – or anyone else – applies for a ratification to enter the United States. Every immigrant and immigration situation is unique, so whether you are an international investor or a U.S.-based sponsor, it’s important to have your immigration-related questions answered and your concerns addressed by speaking to an experienced Las Vegas E-1 E-2 investor lawyer. Every ratification takes time, so it’s best to start the process and make the call to an E-1 E-2 investor attorney promptly.

Proposal Would Extend STEM-OPT

Posted on: December 18, 2015 by in blog, immigration
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International students holding F-1 visas may remain in the United States for a year of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after earning a degree if they are working, training, or interning in their field of study. Employed graduates with STEM degrees – that is, degrees in science, technology, electronics, and mathematics – may remain an additional 17 months. On October 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a change to the OPT program that would allow international students with STEM degrees to stay and work in the United States for an additional 24 months rather than 17, or a total of 36 months rather than the current 29. If you are currently in the United States with an F-1 visa, immigration advice and help is available. You can speak with an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration lawyer regarding your visa and its provisions, qualifying for the OPT program, or applying for a change of your immigration status.

Under the new DHS proposal, the 24-month extension for F-1 STEM students would replace the current 17-month STEM-OPT extension. Additionally, eligibility for a STEM-OPT extension would expand to allow students to use a previously-earned STEM degree from an accredited school as the basis for a STEM-OPT extension. This change would make the STEM-OPT extension available to students with a prior STEM background whose current OPT participation is based on a different degree. The DHS also proposes to require employers to submit formal mentoring and training plans and to add wage regulations giving STEM-OPT students the same protections provided to many other international workers. Like the current 17-month extension, the 24-month extension would be authorized only for STEM-OPT students working for employers enrolled in the E-Verify program.

International graduates – and the employers who hire them – should contact a reliable immigration lawyer at once for the comprehensive immigration help and advice you need. An experienced Las Vegas employment immigration attorney can help you avoid the common mistakes and misunderstandings, address your concerns, and provide the immigration experience and insights you need.

EB-5 Investor Visa Program Extended

Posted on: December 17, 2015 by in blog, EB-5
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The EB-5 investor visa program will be extended with no changes through September 30, 2016, as part of the omnibus spending bill that Congress approved in December. The EB-5 investor visa program creates new jobs and new business investments in the United States by offering lawful permanent residency to qualified foreign investors. If you are an international investor seeking a superior investment opportunity, speak promptly – from wherever you are in the world – with an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration attorney to learn more about the EB-5 investor visa agenda and the abundance of good investment opportunities in the United States.

Congress came close to making some changes to the EB-5 agenda in 2015, and a number of proposals were offered, but in the end the EB-5 agenda was reauthorized without change. Congress will now have until September 2016 to consider proposed changes. For now, to acquire an EB-5 visa, an international investor must invest at least $1 million in a new business that creates ten or full-time U.S.-based jobs, or the investor must put at least $500,000 into a “Targeted Employment Area.” Most EB-5 agenda participants invest through the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Regional centers are private-sector entities that pool investor money to develop hotels, resorts, and other projects. From 2005 through 2013, the EB-5 investor visa agenda generated approximately $5.2 billion dollars in direct investment into the United States.

Las Vegas immigration lawyer

International investors can best take advantage of the EB-5 program and the investment opportunities in the U.S. by working from the beginning with a U.S. immigration attorney who routinely helps investors dealing with immigration issues. There is an annual cap on EB-5 visas – only 10,000 are made available each year – so it’s important to begin the process as quickly as possible. The EB-5 visa is a superior path to lawful permanent residency in the United States for willing and able international investors. Those investors can learn more – or begin the application process – by consulting right away with an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration lawyer.

Highest Court To Decide On Executive Actions

Posted on: December 16, 2015 by in blog, immigration
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In 2014, the president issued executive orders to protect from deportation two groups of immigrants: parents whose children are citizens or legal permanent residents, and immigrants who were brought to the United States as minor children by their parents. However, twenty-six states took legal action challenging the plan. One federal judge imposed an injunction on the plan, and in November 2015, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that injunction by a two-to-one vote, blocking implementation of the executive orders. Now the United States Supreme Court will either uphold or reject the president’s plan to protect qualifying immigrants from deportation.

One part of the executive action is the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects some immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. as minor children. The other part of the executive action, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, would protect the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents if those parents have been in the U.S. since at least 2010. According to the Associated Press, one spokesman says that the Justice Department “remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible.”

For some immigrants, however, that may not be quickly enough. The United States deported more than 438,000 individuals in 2013, and many more remain at risk. If you need sound legal advice regarding any immigration question or concern, contact an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney at once. To learn more about deferred action and the protection it offers, work visas and how to obtain them, or deportation and the ways to defend against it, call right away and schedule a consultation with an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration lawyer. A good employment immigration attorney can provide the advice you need – and if necessary, fight aggressively for justice on your behalf – but you must take the first step and make the call.