What will be, will be!
2019 was an enlightening year, but frustrating at the same time. Our law practice witnessed a dramatic increase in inquiries as to how one may obtain a U.S. visa to either visit, study, live and/or work in the U.S.
During the 39 years of our law office practice, 2019 was undoubtedly, the year for foreign nationals wanting to come to the United States. Even though U.S. petitions are being approved in various categories, there is an increase in USCIS denial rates by 40% and an increase in RFEs’ by 65%. The long-time delays by the USCIS in making decisions on the filed cases and the inconsistencies in the decision-making process has also caused frustration not only to the immigration attorneys but also to their clients.
The reaction by immigration attorneys for the benefit of their clients led to the filing of responses to RFEs’, which includes strong legal arguments to support the petition and Mandamus Actions in Federal Courts to force USCIS to make a decision quickly.
The new EB-5 Regulations, which caused a substantial increase in the minimum investment amounts to USD $900,000 in TEA or rural areas and alternatively USD $1.8 million in non-TEA or non-rural areas, led to an immediate slowdown of investment from foreign national investors committing to the EB-5 process. Pending lawsuits to stop the New Regulations and the possibility of new legislation, which will create another grace period of possibly 3 to 6 months to allow the minimum investment of USD $500,000, has led to a waiting or a hold period for potential EB-5 investors.
Due to the lack of commitment of investors to the EB-5 program, we will definitely see alternative visa categories being pursued by the foreign nationals in 2020. The categories that may be pursued will be family-based petitions, E-2, E-1, L-1, EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visa processes.
It is essential that the foreign nationals sit down with their immigration attorneys to discuss the facts, the goals and timelines to determine the best strategy, options, and path to follow to achieve their U.S. immigration goals. This has always been our approach and policy for the past 39 years.