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The EB-5 Program as a Solution to the Suspension of the L-1 and H1-B

The proclamation by President Trump on the temporary suspension of several work visa categories and the subsequent halt of all entry to the United States has caused great panic for foreign nationals scheduled to be in the U.S. on a valid work visa.

The travel ban announced in June 2020 restricts the entry of individuals on an H-1B visa unless their valid visa was stamped prior to the ban coming to effect. Under the classification of the H-1B visa, foreign nationals are permitted to work in specialty occupations for a maximum period of six years. If an employer had filed for an H-1B visa for a candidate for the 2020 financial year in March, the earliest that employee would have been available to work would have been by 1 October 2020, barring any issues with the candidate’s application. However, due to the travel ban, candidates cannot travel to the U.S. making them unable to obtain their visa or commence working. This ultimately causes a loss to U.S. employers who are reliant on their candidates obtaining an H-1B visa.

According to the National Foundation For American Policy (“NFAP”), employers have long been experiencing issues with the H-1B visa under the Trump administration. It has been recorded that “20 of the 25 top companies had H-1B denial rates for initial employment at least 10 percentage points higher in the financial year 2020 than in financial year 2015. That includes large technology companies such as Cisco and Google.”

Another pertinent visa program affected by the temporary ban is the L-1 visa, which is a non-immigrant intra-company transfer visa. The L-1A visa is granted to senior executives and managers while the L-1B visa is granted to specialized knowledge employees. Similar to the H-1B visa candidates, the travel ban restricts all candidates from being able to access these visa categories.

The proclamation of the temporary travel ban has had devastating impact on individuals and families in a variety of scenarios. It has been measured to disproportionately impact Indian nationals as they are the largest users of the H-1B visa program.

The cumulative effects of the proclamation of the temporary ban along with the high denial rates has led many foreign nationals to look for stronger immigration alternatives. The EB-5 immigrant investment program is one of the few programs that has not been affected by the U.S. temporary ban. Furthermore, in July 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that Indian nationals no longer have additional wait times. This allows applicants to obtain their green card and residency immediately after the approval of their I-526 petition.

Under the EB-5 program, foreign nationals are required to invest $900,000 in a job-creating U.S. commercial enterprise. Once the foreign national has completed the application process and received an approval from USCIS, the foreign national along with their qualifying family members will receive their U.S. green cards. Ultimately, with the constant changes in U.S. immigration policies, the EB-5 program can serve as a refuge for candidates of both the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.

Our team of U.S. licensed lawyers have years of experience in helping individuals and families apply for U.S. residency via the EB-5 program. If you are ready to start your migration journey with The American Legal Center of Dubai, contact us today for more information.

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