As the world ponders on the future of U.S. EB-5 program, the more challenging issue is how immigration practitioners are dealing with options to visa retrogression for China. Today, investing $500,000 in a targeted employment area (TEA) or $1,000,000 for non-TEA does not guarantee green card in less than two years as it used to be. With EB-5 visa retrogression for China, investors now must wait for years before obtaining a green card.
Considering the above challenge, skilled attorneys are becoming more creative in dealing with the green card process. There is an upsurge in demand for other visas that ultimately lead to green card for investors from China. Â Since E2 visa is not available for China, there are very few other visas available for green card purposes. The EB-1C remains attractive. However, the burden of proof during review process is high, especially for a new entrant to the U.S. market. Nowadays, some attorneys are using the national interest waiver (NIW) based on the recent Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision. The L-1 visa tends to be more in demand particularly for investors that have existing entities in China or those interested in long term plan for business development targeting the U.S. L-1 visa application.
While there are downsides to the L-1 visa option, there are advantages as the investor is able to control her investment funds rather than relying on a regional center. Also, the day to day management may not be necessary if the investor considers one of the established franchises. The most crucial issue is to work with an experienced immigration attorney who can help the investor navigate the process.