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President Obama signs Law to Extend EB-5 Regional Center Program and other Immigration Programs
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On September 28, 2012, President Obama signed S.3245 into law. The law provides for a much-anticipated extension of the authorization for the EB– 5 Regional Center Program, the Special Immigrant Non-minister Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad State 30 J–1 Visa Waiver Program for three years. The law also extended the authorization of the E–Verify Program. The Act was introduced by Sen. Leahy, and was passed by the Senate on August 2, 2012, and by the House of Representatives on September 13, 2012. The Law provides for extension of the above programs until September 30, 2015.

EB-5 Regional Center Program

The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program was created in 1992. While the EB-5 requirements for an investor under the Pilot Program are essentially the same as in the standard EB-5 investor program, the Pilot Program provides for investments that are affiliated with an economic unit known as a Regional Center, and investments made through Regional Centers could take advantage of a more expansive concept of job creation including both “direct” and “indirect” jobs. The Pilot Program had earlier been extended only until September 30, 2012. However, with the signing of the current law by President Obama, the authorization for EB-5 Regional Center Program has been extended by another three years, meaning USCIS will continue to receive, process, and adjudicate all Regional Center Proposals and Immigrant Petitions by Alien Entrepreneurs, and Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, affiliated with Regional Centers relying on “indirect” job creation analysis without any interruption.

E-Verify

Employers are required by law to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. It is operated by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.  

Special Immigrant Non-minister Religious Worker Program

The Special Immigrant Non-minister Religious Worker category is one of several employment-based fourth-preference (EB-4) visa classifications and is available to non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations who would like to immigrate to or adjust status in the United States for the purpose of performing religious work. The special immigrant visa category for non-minister religious workers covers those within a religious vocation or occupation and also applies to accompanying or ‘following-to-join’ spouses and children of non-ministers. The final date by which special immigrant non-minister religious workers must immigrate or adjust status to permanent resident has now been extended by three years by the signing of the S.3245 Act.  It is hoped that the Special Immigrant Non-minister Religious Worker category is eventually made a permanent part of the Religious Worker Immigrant Worker program. 

Contact VisaPro if you have any queries on the EB-5 program or if you need any assistance in filing for an Adjustment of Status application or for an Immigrant Visa.



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