Immigration and Firm News

The Trump Administration has been very, very busy addressing business immigration in the last year. Three overriding themes are: 1) a slowdown in processing times in most categories and 2) increased Requests for Evidence (RFEs) in just about every immigration category and 3) a tightening of definitions by adjudication or policy memo.  Receiving an RFE doesn't necessarily mean a case will be denied, but there are more denials out there. Despite all the talk about needing "merit based" … [Read more...]

At the Seattle, Washington Law Office of Bonnie Stern Wasser, we enjoy working on National Interest Waiver (NIW) EB-2 permanent resident cases. NIW means the government will waive the usual requirement that there be a US employer and job offer, and a labor market test for willing, qualified and able US workers through the labor certification or “PERM” process. Although a US employer and job offer is not required in a NIW EB-2 case, the applicant must show he/she has offers of work in the US in … [Read more...]

I am pleased and honored to announce that I will be speaking at the national Annual American Immigration Lawyers Association Conference next week in Las Vegas. This conference regularly attracts thousands of immigration practitioners from around the country. I will be joining two colleagues, Robert Divine and David Grunblatt, on a panel about "Complex Visa Issues for Entrepreneurs."  We will discuss attempts by USCIS to (supposedly) enhance opportunities for entrepreneurs within the confines of … [Read more...]

I am honored to be speaking about EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) cases at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association Northwest CLE.  This annual event put on by the Washington and Oregon AILA Chapters will be held at Seattle University on March 17 and 18.  Along with my colleagues, Amy Royalty and Ursula Owen, we will be discussing the crème de la creme employment based categories: EB-1-1 extraordinary ability workers, EB-1-1 outstanding researchers and professors, EB-1-3 … [Read more...]

On July 10, 2015 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) submitted its comments to USCIS on the proposed "Significant Public Benefit" Parole for Entrepreneurs program that I wrote about in a previous blog post, USCIS Holds Entrepreneur Parole Listening Session. As a recap, USCIS is looking at extending its already existing parole authority at 8 CFR 212.5 to certain entrepreneurs that do not fit easily into existing visa options in order to attract or retain start ups, and research and … [Read more...]

I am pleased to announce that on March 3, 2015, I will be participating in a national webinar hosted by the American Immigration Lawyers Association on "Immigrant Options for Small and Start-Up Businesses."   This program will focus on the unique challenges faced by foreign personnel working for small businesses, or founding start-up companies.  We will discuss various permanent residence options, ability to pay, bona fide job opportunities, capitalization, business plans, and best practices for … [Read more...]

Recently, USCIS held an interactive engagement session with stakeholders on the issue of proving lawful source of funds for EB-5 Entrepreneur Investor applicants. The following is from my notes from the meeting. The most common Requests for Evidence or “RFEs” in EB-5 investor cases involve insufficient proof of the legal source of funds used to invest in commercial enterprises or regional centers. Proof of the required job creation is another frequent RFE issue.  However, this conference focused … [Read more...]

USCIS has released updated adjudications data for the EB-5 investor entrepreneur program.  This is the "$500k or million dollar club" investor visa for permanent residence.  The EB-5 program is modeled after marriage based immigration that requires a two-step process to permanent residence. The first application is called the Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur, filed on Form I-526.  If approved, the applicant receives a conditional residence card valid for two years. Within the 90-day … [Read more...]

Below is a summary of the various Executive Actions announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014 concerning legal immigration to the USA.  Most of the press coverage has been about the hot-button topic of what to do with the millions of people who are in the USA already in undocumented status. There has been virtually no coverage of the President's plans concerning legal immigration.  While he is constrained by Congressional statute and Congressional inaction to fix legal immigration, there … [Read more...]

In November 2010, USCIS developed Form I-924A for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Centers to file every year documenting the various investments and jobs created in their centers.  The first required filing period began October 1, 2011 with reports due in before the end of the year.  This year, reports are due between October 1, 2014 and December 29, 2014.  However, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, USCIS issued 29 notices of intent to terminate a regional center’s designation for failure to file the … [Read more...]