Exploring investment-based immigration opportunities and carefully structuring foreign investment into U.S. companies can prove highly beneficial to both U.S. and foreign-born business owners. Among the U.S. immigration options, E visas for investors and traders are available to nationals of certain countries, including Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and others, that enjoy commerce treaties with the U.S., where the sponsoring U.S. employer business is majority owned and controlled by nationals of the same treaty country. Individuals interested in longer-term relocation to the U.S. via permanent residence (i.e., Green Card) can consider the EB-5 immigrant investor program for those foreign nationals who invest a significant amount of money in a U.S. business and create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas recently announced changes aimed at improving the government's program for foreign entrepreneurs investing in U.S. business ventures and attracting innovation from abroad.
- Enhancements to the EB-5 immigrant investor program will include expedited processing of related petitions and adjudicating officials' increased accessibility for application related questions and discussions.
- In a departure from the restriction that an H-1B worker may not own a substantive part of the sponsoring employer-company, the USCIS has agreed that a foreign professional applying for H-1B status may establish a valid employer-employee relationship in order to qualify for H-1B petition approval even if he/she is the sole owner of the petitioning company.
- Premium Processing (i.e., expedited 15-day government processing) is being expanded to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers which should result in substantive shortening of the timelines to Green Card obtainment.