With election fever in full swing, you might expect governing to take a back seat to politics. However, on September 28, 2012, President Obama signed Senate Bill 3245 into law. Senate Bill 3245 renews four U.S. Department of Homeland Security-administered programs, including E-Verify and the EB-5 Regional Center program. As such, both programs have been extended by three years from their original termination dates of September 30, 2012 to September 30, 2015.
Employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees on Form I-9. E-Verify is generally a voluntary program that is done in addition to the I-9 where the information provided by the employee is run through a government database to confirm the accuracy of the documents provided. By revalidating the existence of E-Verify, the government has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to an employer’s duty to verify the work authorization of its employees. Further, the trend toward mandatory E-Verify participation is likely to continue as it is already required for federal contractors, employers in certain states and employers wishing to extend the initial work authorization period of recent foreign graduates in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Therefore, employers not already enrolled in E-Verify may want to reexamine whether to voluntarily join the program on their own schedule.
The EB-5 program established a class of immigrant visas or “green cards” for individuals who invest a minimum of $500,000 in a new commercial U.S. enterprise that will create full-time employment for at least ten employees. Foreign nationals pursuing a green card through the EB-5 program may do so through either the Basic Program or the Regional Center program. EB-5 investments made through a Regional Center program will not require the investor to be in a position to direct the enterprise, and the employment creation component may be satisfied using direct and indirect jobs. Public and private entities may seek Regional Center designation with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an alternative way to raise capital.