The E-2 Treaty Investor will soon be available to Israeli citizens, as it is to many other countries. According to the Israeli office of Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA), beginning May 1, 2019 Israeli nationals will be eligible for the E-2 visa. American citizens will be eligible for a similar visa in Israel.
The E-2 visa provides an opportunity for foreign investors to live and work temporarily in the United States. The investor must invest a substantial amount of money into and manage a U.S. business. Importantly, the applicant must hold citizenship from a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation. The U.S. Department of State has a list of treaty countries for this visa type. The United States and Israel reached a treaty agreement during the Obama administration. The countries have had difficulty implementing the visa program, because it requires a similar visa to be available for U.S. citizens in Israel. The two countries have finally reached an agreement. Israeli citizens will have an additional way of immigrating to the U.S. by investing and managing a business in the U.S.
As we wade deeper into H-1B season, we look back at H-1B applications of years past. The government recently released its data on the number of Request for Evidence (“RFE”) it issued for H-1B petitions between 2015 and 2019. As you might suspect if you have been following this blog, the percentage of H-1B petitions with an RFE increased significantly in 2018 and 2019. In the first quarter of 2019, 60% of H-1B applicants received an RFE. This is compared with less than 30% of petitions in the first quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, the approval rate of H-1B petitions with an RFE has decreased over the same period.
We continue to see the government overly scrutinize applications, issue absurd requests, or go on fishing expeditions to create additional hurdles for applicants. Fortunately, despite the government’s efforts, the H-1B petitions Dayzad Law prepares seldom receive an RFE and the H-1B petitions are approved 100% of the time! We have learned from the government’s trends and aim to prepare as thorough an application as possible at the outset. Working together with our clients, we combat the government’s overzealous tactics and find success for employers and employees alike.
We are pleased to announce that our Managing Attorney, Navid Dayzad, has been included in another leading industry publication, Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Immigration 2019. Who’s Who Legal compiles the leading attorneys in the field, and selection is based upon comprehensive, independent surveys of lawyers worldwide. Only individuals who have met independent international research criteria are listed.
This recognition reflects the high level of service that Dayzad Law Offices has provided over the past 13 years and our continued commitment to providing high quality immigration advice to current and future clients.
We have written previously about the measures the Trump administration has taken to build its “invisible wall” to deter legal immigration. One such action has been to significantly delay the processing times of adjudicating a typical immigration application. According to a recent analysis of USCIS data by the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA), the average case processing time for all application types has increased 46 percent since 2016!
We are proud to have succeeded in getting our clients to the front of the line for expedited processing of applications for those situations that meet the government’s criteria. For example, USCIS approved our expedite request for an investor who had urgent business travel. Our office has also successfully enlisted a congressional representative to expedite an employment authorization card for a key employee.
In all cases, we work with our clients to prepare a quality product as quickly as possible, in order to reduce the wait time that we can control. We also ensure that all applications are thorough and complete, so that no additional delays are added to the processing time.
The Department of Homeland Security recently announced a new final rule changing the regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions. There are two major changes to this process: 1) the introduction of an electronic registration system (not yet in effect for April 1, 2019 filings); and 2) reversing the order of H-1B visa number lottery selection , with the goal of increasing the number of foreign workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
Starting April 1, 2020, USCIS will require all employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to electronically register their petitions first. USCIS will make its selection of H-1B visa number winners from those that have registered online. Then once USCIS selects a registration, it will accept the usual H-1B application package. The downside is that many more employers with weaker H-1B petitions, who may have previously been deterred from filling petitions because of the time and costs associated, may now feel like it is worth it for them to register online. This could lead to more frivolous filings, decreasing the chances of selection for those with legitimate applications.
The new rule also reverses the usual order of selection of the H-1B visa number lottery. The new procedure will go into effect for the filings on April 1, 2019. Previously, USCIS randomly selected H-1B petitions to reach the H-1B 20,000 advanced degree exemption first. Then, it selected H-1B petitions from the remaining pool of beneficiaries holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to reach the H-1B 65,000 limit.
The new rule reverses the selection process. USCIS will now randomly select petitions for the 65,000 H-1B visa numbers first, including petitions for employees with master’s or higher degrees. Then USCIS will randomly select petitions for the 20,000 H-1B visa numbers reserved only for employees with master’s or higher degrees from U.S. universities. The intended result is that this will increase the number of advanced degree petitions selected overall. If you are a beneficiary with an advanced degree, you may be pleased with this change. Meanwhile, those beneficiaries with only a bachelor’s degree will likely see their odds of selection drop.
We will continue to monitor these changes and their effects on our client as we head into H-1B season.