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Newsletter – March 19, 2018

EB-5 Renewal and Extension:

At the time of this writing, Citizenship and Immigration Service has provided a very extensive rewrite of the EB-5 statute; it was done partially in collaboration with EB-5 stakeholders. It provides for greater penalties for those taking advantage of the structure such as fraud, higher costs and fees for developers and investors, greater investment levels, and protection of disadvantaged areas. 

At the time of the issuance of this newsletter, it appears that Congress, once again, will defer a decision on the changes to the existing statute at least until September 30, 2018. This will give everyone time to negotiate and possibly even come to a consensus. We expect it will be an attachment to the Omnibus Bill from Congress March 23, 2016. 

Canada – US Relations:

Mr. Behar attended a luncheon sponsored by the Canada-Florida Chamber of Commerce in honor of Minister of Transport Marc Garneau. The Minister reiterated the very close economic and historical ties between Canada, the US, and Florida in particular. The long standing relationship is strong and will endure all tests of business challenges. While the border may be thickening, it is clear that the $1 Billion daily cross border movement of merchandise and people will continue to thrive in the mutual economic and security interests of both countries. Consul General Susan Harper continues to serve as Miami consul in charge of the southeast region.

Employment Based 2nd and 3rd Preferences:

Qualified foreign applicants who have identified profitable companies wishing to sponsor them for permanent residency often avail themselves of the above two categories. First, the individual and company are analyzed to ensure that they qualify both in terms of academics and experience, and the company must be or will be profitable in the year of the filing of the petition for residency. The process, called ‘labor certification’ requires advertisement and recruitment of US workers first and then interviews as needed. With an unemployment rate below 4% nationally, and with proper analysis, the structure of such an application seems not only plausible but in line with the President’s ultimate goal of making legal immigration a merit based format. Turnaround time for this process is normally two years depending on the quotas available.

Interviews for Future Lawful Permanent Residents:

USCIS has recently imposed a laborious requirement to interview all beneficiaries of both entrepreneur investor visas for residency, as well as the beneficiaries of company sponsored residency. While this process is now not only taking up time which heretofore was not needed, the process merely is a reflection to ensure that there is no fraud involved in either the investment or the immigration process. Beneficiaries are well prepared for such interviews and will bring all support documents to ensure a smooth process either in the US (at adjustments) or abroad (at the embassy in home country). Contact us for list of proposed questions and issues.

Jay Peak Resort:

Thanks to the herculean efforts of Receiver Attorney Michael Goldberg, all legal funds to make investors whole in every phase of the Jay Peak debacle have been recovered and are being used either to complete the various initial phases or allow the last phase investors of AnC Biomedical to transfer to another qualified project. Indeed, investors from the first completed phases can expect to entertain offers for the sale of the resort to a bona fides buyer sometime in the summer of 2018 with a closing toward the end of the year. We can only stand in awe of the work which Mr. Goldberg has done to protect the immigration and financial investments of the 700 investors of Jay Peak. Investors can expect an almost full repayment of their EB-5 investment.

A New Era:

There is no doubt that America is heading toward a new era in immigration of enforcement, oversight, onsite inspections and fraud detection. Most of these are welcome efforts but at a huge cost in terms of the chilling effect which it has had on the international community. 

Now comes the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act which allows the department of state to deny issuance of a US passport where the applicant may be delinquent in an amount of $51,000 or more. Many people are fighting to get ‘into’ America; this prevents them from getting out! Even active passports may be revoked. This gives the Internal Revenue Service a powerful collection tool in its arsenal. 

Quebec Bar:

With the swearing in conducted by Florida/Quebec attorney Michael Bedzow, Mr. Behar became a full member of the Quebec Bar on March 7, 2018, an objective he has sought since coming to Florida in 1977. As such, he becomes one of a select group of Foreign Legal Advisors (Conseiller Juridique Exterieur) with full privileges of title and membership. This achievement is in addition to his membership with the Florida Bar, and allows greater cross border information, flow and transparency. 

End of Season, beginning of Season:

With the Easter and Passover holidays near approaching, it would appear that the ‘tourist’ season is almost over in Florida. Note however that with the growth of our state, it is always ‘expansion’ season, with increased net growth, tremendous construction and a low unemployment rate. With a strong economy encouraging investment, now is the time to take advantage of the EB-5 program extension before September 30, 2018, when it is expected that investment levels will join global levels at $925,000 and $1,025, 000. Do not miss this cycle! Contact your favorite regional center.

We wish you all a happy and safe holiday season, with thoughts in our hearts and minds of the children and families of Parkland.

Behar Law Group

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