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New Rulemaking Brings Significant Changes to EB-5 Program



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7/23/2019

New Rulemaking Brings Significant Changes to EB-5 Program

Minimum Investments, Targeted Employment Area Designations Among Reforms

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will publish a final rule on July 24 that makes a number of significant changes to its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, marking the first significant revision of the program’s regulations since 1993. The final rule will become effective on Nov. 21, 2019.

New developments under the final rule include:

  • Raising the minimum investment amounts;
  • Revising the standards for certain targeted employment area (TEA) designations;
  • Giving the agency responsibility for directly managing TEA designations;
  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence; and
  • Allowing EB-5 petitioners to retain their priority date under certain circumstances.

Under the EB-5 program, individuals are eligible to apply for conditional lawful permanent residence in the United States if they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create or, in certain circumstances, preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

“Nearly 30 years ago, Congress created the EB-5 program to benefit U.S. workers, boost the economy, and aid distressed communities by providing an incentive for foreign capital investment in the United States,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Since its inception, the EB-5 program has drifted away from Congress’s intent. Our reforms increase the investment level to account for inflation over the past three decades and substantially restrict the possibility of gerrymandering to ensure that the reduced investment amount is reserved for rural and  high-unemployment areas most in need. This final rule strengthens the EB-5 program by returning it to its Congressional intent.”

Major changes to EB-5 in the final rule include:

  • Raising minimum investment amounts: As of the effective date of the final rule, the standard minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million, the first increase since 1990, to account for inflation. The rule also keeps the 50% minimum investment differential between a TEA and a non-TEA, thereby increasing the minimum investment amount in a TEA from $500,000 to $900,000. The final rule also provides that the minimum investment amounts will automatically adjust for inflation every five years.
  • TEA designation reforms: The final rule outlines changes to the EB-5 program to address gerrymandering of high-unemployment areas (which means deliberately manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency). Gerrymandering of such areas was typically accomplished by combining a series of census tracts to link a prosperous project location to a distressed community to obtain the qualifying average unemployment rate. As of the effective date of the final rule, DHS will eliminate a state’s ability to designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as high-unemployment areas; instead, DHS would make such designations directly based on revised requirements in the regulation limiting the composition of census tract-based TEAs. These revisions will help ensure TEA designations are done fairly and consistently, and more closely adhere to congressional intent to direct investment to areas most in need.
  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for removing conditions on permanent residence: The rule revises regulations to make clear that certain derivative family members who are lawful permanent residents must independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence. The requirement would not apply to those family members who were included in a principal investor’s petition to remove conditions. The rule improves the adjudication process for removing conditions by providing flexibility in interview locations and to adopt the current USCIS process for issuing Green Cards.
  • Allowing EB-5 petitioners to keep their priority date: The final rule also offers greater flexibility to immigrant investors who have a previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition. When they need to file a new EB-5 petition, they generally now will be able to retain the priority date of the previously approved petition, subject to certain exceptions.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and Instagram (@USCIS).







7/19/2019

USCIS Announces Plan to Improve the Naturalization Test

Memorandum Announces a Decennial Revision Schedule

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising the current naturalization test with improvements to ensure it continues to serve as an accurate measure of a naturalization applicant’s civics knowledge and that it reflects best practices in adult education assessments. The goal is to create a meaningful, uniform, and efficient test that will assess applicants’ knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government and values.

This spring, the former USCIS director signed the Revision of the Naturalization Civics Test Memorandum (PDF, 202 KB). This memorandum announces the revision of the naturalization test and formalizes a decennial revision schedule of the naturalization test based on adult education best practices.

“Granting U. S. citizenship is the highest honor our nation bestows,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Updating, maintaining, and improving a test that is current and relevant is our responsibility as an agency in order to help potential new citizens fully understand the meaning of U.S. citizenship and the values that unite all Americans.”





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n December 2018, USCIS formed a naturalization test revision working group with members from across the agency. The working group has been reviewing and updating the naturalization test questions. The working group will also assess potential changes to the speaking portion of the test. USCIS is soliciting the input of experts in the field of adult education to ensure that this process is fair and transparent. After careful analysis of the pilot, and thorough officer training, USCIS will set an implementation date in December 2020 or early 2021. 

Section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act outlines the English and civics requirements for naturalization. By law, candidates for naturalization must have “…an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language…” and “…knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States...” This test revision will comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements, and USCIS will pilot it this fall.

In Fiscal Year 2018, USCIS naturalized nearly 757,000 people, a five-year high in new oaths of citizenship. The naturalization test revision is a key part of preparing legal immigrants to fully exercise their rights and meet their responsibilities. 

For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).








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7/19/2019

公民入籍考試題目 尚在修訂中

(World Journal) 記者張筠/華盛頓報導

聯邦公民及移民服務局(USCIS)19日公布,目前正在修改公民入籍考試,修改部分包括各州國會參、眾議員舉例,以及國會眾院議長和各州州長姓名,以準確衡量入籍申請人對美國公民知識的掌握,修訂版考試的執行日期最早將於明年底確認。

USCIS表示,修改入籍考試旨在創建統一且高效的測試系統,確保申請人對美國歷史、政府和文化價值觀有全面理解;由於國會參、眾議員,各州州長以及國會眾院議長會根據選舉情況改變,USCIS今年1月更新入籍考試答案,並推薦民眾登錄usa.gov/states-and-territories查詢美國50州現任州長名單,登錄senate.gov查詢各州國會參議員現任成員名單,登錄house.gov獲取現任眾院議長和各州國會眾議員名單。




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USCIS於去年12月成立入籍考試修訂小組,研究修改方法及方向,在與各領域專家商討後決定於2020年12月或2021年年初確定執行新入籍考試的日期。

今年春天,前USCIS局長簽署「入籍公民測試修訂備忘錄」(Revision of the Naturalization Civics Test Memorandum),根據成人教育鑒定方式確定了公民入籍考試的十年修訂計畫;USCIS代局長庫西內利(Ken Cuccinelli)表示,更新入籍考試能幫助未來的新公民充分理解美國公民的身分意義,並更認同美國的價值觀。






    
   
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Executives of Staffing Companies Charged with Visa Fraud

Release Date: July 2, 2019

NEWARK, N.J. – Four executives of two information technology staffing companies have been arrested on charges of fraudulently using the H-1B visa program to gain an unfair advantage over competitors, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced yesterday.

Vijay Mane, 39, of Princeton, New Jersey; Venkataramana Mannam, 47, of Edison, New Jersey; Fernando Silva, 53, of Princeton; and Sateesh Vemuri, 52, of San Jose, California, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

Vemuri made his initial appearance July 1, 2019, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court. Mannam and Silva appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court on June 25, 2019; Mane appeared before Judge Wettre on June 27, 2019. All were released on $250,000 bond.



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According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Mane, Mannam, and Vemuri controlled two IT staffing companies located in Middlesex County, New Jersey – Procure Professionals Inc. and Krypto IT Solutions Inc. Silva and Mannam also controlled another New Jersey staffing company, referred to in the complaint as “Client A.” The defendants used Procure and Krypto to recruit foreign nationals and sponsor them for H-1B visas, which allow recipients to live and work temporarily in the U.S. in positions requiring specialized skills. To expedite their visa applications, the defendants caused Procure and Krypto to file H-1B applications falsely asserting that the foreign worker/beneficiaries had already secured positions at Client A, when, in reality, no such positions existed. Instead, the defendants used these fraudulent applications to build a “bench” of job candidates already admitted to the United States, who could then be hired out immediately to client companies without the need to wait through the visa application process, giving the defendants an advantage over their competitors in the staffing industry.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.



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U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Newark Office of Fraud Detection and National Security; the USCIS National Benefits Center; and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Public Protection Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).







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Naturalization Fact Sheet

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. During the last decade, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed more than 7.4 million naturalized citizens into the fabric of our nation. In fiscal year 2018, over 757,000 people were naturalized.

Deciding to become a U.S. citizen can be a very important milestone in an immigrant’s life. Individuals must demonstrate a commitment to the unifying principles that bind us as Americans and, in return, will enjoy many of the rights and privileges that are fundamental to U.S. citizenship.

About the Naturalization Process

Individuals age 18 or older seeking to become a citizen of the United States may apply for naturalization by filing an Application for Naturalization, Form N-400. The N-400 application is one of the forms available for online filing. To be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must fulfill certain eligibility requirements set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

These general eligibility requirements specify that the applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
  • Have resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years;
  • Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months;
  • Be a person of good moral character;
  • Be able to speak, read, write and understand the English language;
  • Have knowledge of U.S. government and history;
  • Demonstrate attachment to the principles of the Constitution and well disposition to the good order and happiness of the United States; and,
  • Be willing and able to take the Oath of Allegiance.




Special naturalization provisions exempt certain applicants from one or more of the general requirements for naturalization. Spouses of U.S. citizens and members of the military constitute the main categories of individuals who are exempt from some of the general requirements for naturalization.

  • Individuals who apply for naturalization as spouses of U.S. citizens may be eligible do so three years after being admitted as lawful permanent residents, rather than the five years prescribed under the general provisions.
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens stationed abroad may not be required to meet any particular residence or physical presence requirement.
  • Members of the military who served honorably during certain periods of conflict may be eligible for naturalization even though they have not been admitted as lawful permanent residents and even if they are under the age of 18.
  • Members of the military who served honorably for at least one year, at any time, and apply for naturalization within a certain time after their military service, are also exempt from the general residence and physical presence requirements.

All persons filing an Application for Naturalization who have submitted a complete application along with all required documents will be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer. Those applicants found qualified are scheduled for an oath ceremony before a judge or an officer delegated the authority by the Director of USCIS to administer the Oath of AllegianceApplicants do not become U.S. citizens until they have taken the Oath.



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Naturalization Statistics[1]

  • Since 2009, USCIS welcomed approximately 620,000 to 780,000 citizens each year during naturalization ceremonies across the United States and around the world.
  • In FY 2018, 73 percent of all naturalized citizens resided in 10 states (in descending order): California, Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
  • In FY 2018, the leading metropolitan areas of residence were New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (15 percent), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (7.8 percent), and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (7.3 percent).
  • In FY 2018, the top countries of origin for naturalization were in the following descending order:  Mexico, India, Philippines, Cuba, and People’s Republic of China.

The INA also provides for the automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship or naturalization of children who are under the age of 18.

  • A child under the age of 18, who is a lawful permanent resident residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of a U.S. citizen parent, may automatically acquire U.S. citizenship. To obtain evidence of U.S. citizenship, an Application for Certificate of  Citizenship, Form N-600, must be filed on behalf of the child.
  • A child who is residing abroad and who is temporarily present in the U.S. based on a lawful admission, may be eligible to naturalize while under the age of 18 if he or she has at least one parent who is a citizen of the United States, and if the parent (or qualifying grandparent) meets certain physical presence requirements in the United States throughForm N-600K.
  • There are exemptions benefiting children of active-duty members of the military stationed abroad on their service member parent(s)’ orders in Form N-600K.

For additional information about USCIS and its programs, visit www.uscis.gov.


[1] FY18 statistics may be subject to change based upon the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics.


Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/25/2019












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