Tag Archives: Pilot program

EB-5 Program Nears 3-Year Extension

After lengthy efforts, it appears that Congress is about to finally pass a 3-year-extension of the EB-5 program, which is usually subject to annual or semi-annual renewal via legislative action.

House and Senate conferees completed their negotiations on the final version of the FY 2010 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 2892).  Included is a 3-year extension for the EB-5 regional center pilot program.

The final three-year compromise emerged after a very contentious internal debate and a nearly successful effort by some members of Congress to eliminate all immigration provisions from the bill.  The three-year time frame was difficult to attain and was the best that congressional champions of the EB-5 program could achieve.
It looks as though the votes will pass the measure and present it to President Obama for signature.

Not sure how EB-5 Petitions work? I’ll tell you.

While EB-5′s are apparently growing in popularity and there is significant curiosity surrounding the EB-5, there are many questions surrounding the “how to” aspects of it.

Essentially, the EB-5 is a Green Card category, the aim of which is to promote employment-creation and investment in the United States by foreign nationals, in exchange for granting the foreign investor a permanent resident status (“Green Card”).

The EB-5 basically comes in 2 flavors. The ‘generic’ EB-5 requires an investment of $1 million in an active U.S. enterprise and the creation of at least 10 qualifying jobs. The other EB-5 variation is part of a Pilot Program, wherein the USCIS allows “pooled investments” by multiple investors in a large-scale, pre-approved investment program. On average, there are generally between 20 and 30 USCIS-approved regional investment centers. Investment in these programs can either be for the full $1 million, or a reduced investment of $500,000, depending on the nature of the regional program and its location.

The EB-5 Regional Center Program is congressionally mandated and usually in effect for 6-12 months at a time, always requiring congressional action to extend its authorization and to prevent “sunsetting”. There is considerable pressure by various NGO’s and interest groups on Congress to permanently approve the EB-5 regional center program at this time.

The EB-5 application (or rather “petitioning”) process is rather straightforward. All adjudication of EB-5 applications takes place at the USCIS California Service Center. There a team of about 10-15 adjudicators are assigned to work on EB-5 cases.

Essentially, the entire process can be broken down into 3 distinct stages:

Stage 1: the I-526 petition process, detailing the investment itself and the foreign investors qualifications and financial background.

Stage 2: the I-485 adjustment of status application (if the investor is already in the United States), OR consular processing (if the investor is outside the United States), and finally

Stage 3: the I-829 application removal of the initial conditional status (which was approved for 2 years), to make the lawful resident status permanent.

The EB-5 requirements are lengthy, the documentary requirements are significant, and subject to strict scrutiny by USCIS. Please contact me for further information or assistance.

U.S. Army Institutes New Non-Citizen Recruiting Program For Foreign Healthcare Professionals

This year, in February, the U.S. Army started a new recruiting pilot program for foreign healthcare professionals. Titled “Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest” (“MAVNI”), the new pilot program allows certain non-citizens who are legally present in the United States to join the Army and apply immediately for expedited U.S. citizenship, without first obtaining lawful permanent residence.

MAVNI will initially recruit about 300 healthcare professionals (doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, nurses, and others) nationwide. Aside from the healthcare workers, MAVNI is set to recruit about 500 persons who speak certain critical foreign languages.

The MAVNI pilot program is scheduled to end on December 31, 2009, or whenever the Army meets its projected recruiting needs.

MAVNI allows certain non-citizens who are already legally present in the United States to enlist. The Office of the Secretary of Defense set the immigration eligibility criteria for the program. Anyone who currently holds asylee, refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or one of numerous non-immigrant statuses (E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V) may be eligible.

A non-citizen must have held one of those legal statuses for at least two years; having changed between these statuses during the two-year period will not bar enlistment. In addition, if the person holds a non-immigrant status (E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V), he or she cannot have had a single absence from the United States of more than 90 days in the past two years (multiple absences are apparently fine, as long as no single trip exceeded 90 days).

Persons whose status is not listed in the eligibility criteria cannot enlist under this pilot program. Thus, those holding B visa or other visitor status—including those who entered on the Visa Waiver Program—are not eligible. Undocumented immigrants, non-citizens in overstay, and those who have violated their status are not eligible.

MAVNI applicants need not be Lawful Permanent Residents (aka “Green Card” holders) prior to naturalizing under this Pilot Program.  Under current provisions of the wartime military enlistment statute, anyone serving honorably in the United States Armed Forces is eligible to naturalize, regardless of immigration status. Wartime military naturalization applicants pay no fees for filing their naturalization applications. No minimum period of honorable service is required prior to filing for wartime naturalization, and applicants are exempt from the residency and physical presence requirements that apply to other naturalization applicants.

Persons interested in MAVNI, should contact their local U.S. Army Recruiter for more details.

MAVNI enlistees are not ordinarily eligible for U.S. citizenship under the regular naturalization statutes; because they do not have Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) status, they are only eligible to apply for US citizenship under the wartime military naturalization statute. This statute allows for revocation of U.S. citizenship if the enlistee does not complete five (5) years of honorable military service.

Health Care Professionals:

  • Applicants must fill medical specialties where the service has a shortfall
  • Applicants must meet all qualification criteria required for their medical specialty, and
  • the criteria for foreign-trained DoD medical personnel recruited under other authorities

  • Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English
  • Applicants must commit to at least 3 years of active duty, or six years in the Selected Reserve

Professional Medical Specialties To Be Recruited Under the Army MAVNI Pilot Program

Regular Army Medical Corps
60P Pediatrician
60W Psychiatrist
61F Internal Medicine
61H Family Practice

Dental Corps
63A General Dentist
63M Oral Surgeon

Nurse Corps
Army Nurses: All specialties

Army Reserve Medical Corps
60C Preventive Medicine
60J Obstetrician/Gynecologist
60K Urologist
60N Anesthesiologist
60S Ophthalmologist
60T Otolaryngologist
60W Psychiatry
61G Infectious Disease Officer
61F Internal Medicine
61H Family Practice
61J General Surgeon
61K Thoracic Surgeon
61M Orthopedic Surgeon
61Z Neurosurgeon
62A Emergency Medicine
61L Plastic Surgeon

Dental Corps
63A General Dentistv 63F Prosthodontist
63B Comprehensive Dentist
63N Oral Surgeon

Nurse Corps
66H Medical Surgical Nurse
66H8A Critical Care Nurse
66F Nurse Anesthetist
66E Operating Room Nurse
66N Generalist Nurse

Specialist and Medical Service Corps
65D Physician Assistant
72A Nuclear Medicine
67F Optometry
72B Entomology
71A Microbiology
73B Clinical Psychologist
71E Clinical Laboratory
64A Veterinarian

Enlisted Individuals with Special Language and Culture Backgrounds:

  • Applicants must possess specific language and culture capabilities in a language critical to DoD
  • Applicants must demonstrate a language proficiency (see below)
  • Applicants must meet all existing enlistment eligibility criteria
  • Applicants must enlist for at least 4 years of active duty

(Services may add additional requirements)

Enlisted Army Military Occupational Health Care Specialties Available to MAVNI Enlistees with Language Skills

68A Biomedical Equipment Repairer
68D Operating Room Specialist
68E Dental Specialist
68G Patient Administration Specialist
68H Optical Laboratory Specialist
68J Medical Logistics Specialist
68K Medical Laboratory Specialist
68M Nutrition Care Specialist
68P Radiology Specialist
68Q Pharmacy Specialist
68R Veterinary Food Inspection Specialist
68S Preventive Medicine Specialist
68T Animal Care Specialist
68V Respiratory Specialist
68W Health Care Specialit
68W1 Combat Medic

Languages Specifically Sought

  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Azerbaijani
  • Bengali
  • Burmese
  • Cambodian-Khmer
  • Chinese
  • Czech
  • Hausa
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Igbo
  • Indonesian
  • Korean
  • Kurdish
  • Lao
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Moro
  • Nepalese
  • Persian [Dari & Farsi]
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Pushtu (aka Pashto)
  • Russian
  • Sindhi
  • Sinhalese
  • Somali
  • Swahili
  • Tamil
  • Turkish
  • Turkmen
  • Urdu
  • Yoruba

EB-5 Regional Investment Center Programs Given 6-month Reprieve.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, The U.S. Senate passed the ‘omnibus appropriations bill’.

Now the bill is headed to President Obama for signature.   The six month extension for EB-5 remains in the bill that will be signed by President Obama on Wednesday.

The EB-5 regional center pilot program has been extended until September 30, 2009.   Interest groups and activists will now try and persuade Congress to pass longer, 5-year extensions on the EB-5 Pilot Program.

USCIS Reminds that EB-5 Pilot Program About to “Sunset” on March 6.

Following a recent extension from September 30, 2008,  the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program will “sunset” or expire at midnight on March 6, 2009, unless extended again by Congress.

The sunset date affects all Regional Center Proposals and certain I-526 petitions, affiliated with Regional Centers relying on “indirect” job creation analyses.  If the sunset date is not extended, affected Regional Center sponsors and certain Regional Center affiliated I-526 petitioners will not be able to benefit from indirect job creation under the sunsetting provisions as of March 7, 2009.  Unless prevented from “sunsetting”, no new Regional Center Proposals would be accepted by USCIS for consideration, as of March 7, 2009.
All Forms I-526 received after March 6, 2009 must demonstrate that all ten jobs created will be direct, permanent, full-time (35 hours per week) jobs for qualified U.S. workers (U.S. Citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, Refugees, Asylees, or persons granted cancellation of removal or suspension of deportation).

Unless the program is extended, USCIS has indicated that it will hold unadjudicated Regional Center proposals and Regional Center affiliated I-526 petitions that were received before the provisions sunset in abeyance for an indeterminate period of time, pending further action by Congress.

Final determinations will be made based on the evidence of “direct” job creation.  The decisions will be made based either on the existing evidence of record or in response to a request for evidence, and denials will be issued for any pending Regional Center Proposals.

ICE is scrapping its “Scheduled Departure” scheme…

The Associated Press has just reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is ending the “Scheduled Departure” program when the trial run concludes Friday. According to the AP wire, only eight people participated in the program.

According to ICE, the purpose of the program was to give illegal immigrants under court order to leave more control over their departure, being less disruptive to affected families. While pro-immigrant activists ridiculed ICE’s attempt, many now fear that the program’s short-lived “test” will only prompt far more stringent enforcement from ICE.

According to analysts, the ill-conceived program by ICE offered too few (if any) incentives for immigrants to come forward and “self-deport”, since they could be barred from re-entering the U.S. for as long as 10 years. The program also failed to consider the needs and circumstances of immigrants’ ties to family left behind in the U.S.

ICE offered the program to 457,000 illegal immigrants nationwide who were under judicial orders to leave the country, but had no criminal records. The immigrants were given up to 90 days to plan their exit and coordinate travel with relatives instead of facing the prospect of being arrested, detained and deported.