Immigration Update

Jun 22, 2021 | Immigration Updates

In this edition, read about the EB-5 program’s outlook, final action dates advancing in the Visa Bulletin for July, USCIS reports on FY 2022 H-1B cap registration, and more!

EB-5 Program Set to Expire June 30, Outlook is Uncertain in Short Term

The EB-5 regional center program, under which foreign investors indirectly finance projects in the United States in exchange for green cards, is set to expire on June 30, 2021. Whether Congress will be able to reach agreement on a plan to extend it remains uncertain, at least in the short term. The program’s regional centers have funneled billions of foreign investor dollars into large projects such as City Pier A in Battery Park, New York; Hudson Yards in New York City; and the revitalization of Cleveland, Ohio’s riverfront.

A bill proposed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) would restructure the program. Some in the industry support the proposal as a way of avoiding the program’s expiration, while others support shortening the EB-5 program’s reauthorization period or making other compromises. However, some developers want to make it easier to raise money and indicated they would not support any bill that doesn’t do that. The program has taken other hits in recent years, such as a regulation that raised the minimum investor contribution from $500,000 to $900,000. Even if the EB-5 regional center program expires, the direct EB-5 program, under which investors invest in their own projects, would continue.

Details: “What Happens if the EB-5 Regional Center Program Expires on June 30?,” EB-5 Daily, May 4, 2021, https://www.eb5daily.com/2021/05/what-happens-if-the-eb-5-regional-center-program-expires-on-june-30/

Final Action Dates Advance in the Visa Bulletin for July; Possible Expiration of Employment Fifth and Regional Center Visa Categories Noted

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for July includes advances in final action dates for China (moving forward almost two months, to November 8, 2015), and Vietnam (leaping forward almost two years, to April 1, 2020). The bulletin also notes that since there has not yet been legislative action to extend the EB-5 regional center program, final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories are listed as “Unavailable” for July. If Congress extends the regional center program for July, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for July for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 8, 2015, final action date, and Vietnam I5 and R5, which would be subject to an April 1, 2020, final action date, the bulletin states.

Details: Visa Bulletin, Dept. of State, July 2021, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2021/visa-bulletin-for-july-2021.html

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USCIS Reports on FY 2022 H-1B Cap Registration Process

The numbers are important. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported for this year’s H-1B lottery they received 308,613 H-1B registrations during the initial registration period and selected 87,500 registrations.  They believe the numbers selected are the correct projection of applicants needed to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations. More than 37,000 prospective employers submitted registrations. Roughly 48 percent of all registrations requested consideration under the advanced degree exemption, USCIS said. USCIS noted that for last year, the agency received 274,237 H-1B registrations and initially selected 106,100 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2021 numerical allocations. USCIS conducted a second selection in August 2020 of an additional 18,315 registrations due to low filing volume from the initial selection. This resulted in a total of 124,415 selected registrations for last year.

Details: H-1B Electronic Registration Process, USCIS, June 9, 2021, https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/h-1b-electronic-registration-process

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Justice Dept. Settles with Texas-Based Industrial Contractor to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim

It is important to complete the I-9 correctly and not improperly reject documents. The government has reached a settlement with Tecon Services Inc. (Tecon), an industrial insulation, fireproofing, and painting contractor based in Texas. The settlement resolves claims that Tecon discriminated against a naturalized U.S. citizen based on her Venezuelan national origin by rejecting her U.S. passport and requiring other documents to prove her work authorization, in violation of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Details: Justice Dept. media release, June 15, 2021, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-texas-based-industrial-contractor-resolve-immigration-related

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