第二篇 | 两篇文章,看懂移民局应对排期的就业创造和投资维持政策

8月10日,USCIS(移民局)发布了政策备忘录,PM-602-0121的草案,并寻求公众意见。该备忘录名为:针对EB-5申请的I-526和I-829表格之创造就业要求和持续投资的指导意见,名称很复杂,说简单了,就是应对排期造成中国投资者申请绿卡流程延长,而带来的就业创造和投资维持的政策。明天就是该草案征求意见的截止日了,EB5Sir找来两篇业内律师就此的专业分析文章,今天一并发表,供朋友们参考阅读。

美国移民局

第一篇,是AAEB5区域中心的Julia Park律师的文章(涉及面窄,但深入浅出,有滋有味);

第二篇,业内朋友Vanessa转来的Peng & Weber律所的文章,即本篇(涉及面广,全面解释了该备忘录草案)。

美国移民局发布关于受中国投资移民配额排期影响的EB-5申请裁决政策草案备忘录

2015年8月10日,美国移民局发布了期待已久的一份政策备忘录,该备忘录由中国EB-5签证排期促成。该政策草案备忘录(以下简称“草案备忘录”)名为“审理I-526和I-829申请中有关工作机会创造要求及持续投资的指导方针”(草案PM-602-0121),该政策草案明确了美国移民局在裁决I-526和I-829申请时,将会如何考虑由于中国签证排期倒退带来的延迟。美国移民局在其官网发布了该草案以公开征求意见,征求意见的截止日期是2015年9月8日。

美国就业

该草案备忘录意在回答由于中国EB-5签证排期倒退带来的两个主要问题:

首先,中国EB-5投资者的签证配额排期意味着他们将在投资非常久以后才能获得条件绿卡身份和递交I-829申请。这意味着当这些投资者递交I-829申请的时候,工作机会创造窗口(该窗口指的是一个投资者2年的有条件绿卡期间)将与I-526商业计划中提出的2.5年时间内创造所需的工作机会的时间段不符合,并且他们的投资创造的工作可能已经不复存在。

其次,法律规定一个投资者必须在他或她的2年条件绿卡身份期间保持其对EB-5新商业企业(NCE)的投资才能获得I-829的批准。取得有条件绿卡身份的时间的推迟,这就意味着投资者保持其投资资金的风险投资时间会长于该新商业企业所投资的项目的实际操作时间。换句话说,该项目有可能在投资者条件绿卡身份结束之前就已经完成了。届时,问题就变成了投资者的资金是否需要继续留在已完成的项目里,或者新商业企业是否可以对该项目进行清算,然后将投资者的资金或者保留在新商业企业的银行账户中,或者将该资金重新投资到其它新的项目之中。

以下是该草案备忘录对工作机会创造及持续投资要求这两点的说明概要:

1. 关于工作机会创造的问题:

* 在I-526阶段,美国移民局会继续采用要求在2.5年的时间里创造所需的工作机会的规则。这意味着中国EB-5投资者,和其他国家EB-5投资者一样,必须继续递交I-526商业计划来证明在I-526批准后的2.5年内将会创造必要的工作机会——尽管由于签证排期这些投资者将很可能不会在I-526批准的2.5年内获得条件绿卡身份。

* 美国移民局将不会要求I-829投资者投资的新商业企业实际创造的工作机会在I-829裁决的时候仍然存在,在审理I-829申请时,即使这些工作机会已经不再存在,移民局仍然会把这些曾经存在的工作机会算做该投资者创造的。在递交I-829申请时,投资者可以通过以下条件来满足工作机会创造要求:(1)新商业企业证明该投资者的投资给美国工人创造了至少10个全职工作机会,并且(2)这些工作“在创造的时候被认为是永久性工作”。该草案备忘录拒绝提供一个清晰的界限来规定什么样的工作可能“在创造的时候被认为是永久性工作”,但是它提供了两种参考情况。首先(与美国移民局现有政策保持一致),为了被算作永久性工作而非间歇性、临时的、季节性、或者短暂的工作,一个工作岗位通常需要持续至少两年时间。其次,该岗位必须在I-526申请中被描述成持续的全职工作岗位。

* 如果必要创造的工作机会在一个投资者的条件绿卡期间还没有发生,那么该投资者的I-829申请则需要证明这些必要的工作机会将会“在一个合理的时间内”产生(这是移民法规定所允许的),美国移民局将只把投资者条件绿卡开始后的3年内创造的工作机会算作“在一个合理的时间内”产生的工作机会。如非极端情况,如不可抗力,预计在3年以外才创造的工作机会通常不会被算作在一个合理的时间内创造的工作机会。在这点上,该草案备忘录只是简单地重述了2015年5月30日“EB-5裁决政策”备忘录中的现有政策(P.22),并没有为受签证排期影响的中国EB-5投资者另作规定。

2. 关于条件绿卡期间EB-5投资资金的持续性问题:

* 在条件绿卡身份期间,如果投资资金只是存在新商业企业的银行账户中或者一个监管账户中,EB-5投资者的投资将不会被算作“风险投资”。如果该新商业企业将EB-5投资者的资金贷给一个工作机会创造实体(JCE),并且该工作机会创造实体后来将钱返还给了该新商业企业,该新商业企业必须在该投资者的条件绿卡身份期间继续把该笔被返还的资金重新投资到一个“风险投资”活动中。该草案备忘录没有规定什么样的商业活动可以算作“风险投资”活动,但是它提供的例子显示美国移民局会要求资金重新投资到商业活动中,而不是进行被动性的投资,如股票投资。

* 在I-526批准后I-829裁决前,如果一个投资者的投资在用于实现I-526商业计划后又重新被投资到了另一个“风险投资”活动中,美国移民局将不会认为该重新投资是一个重大的改变从而导致撤回该投资者的I-526批准或者拒绝该投资者的I-829申请。因为在I-526阶段一个投资者是否符合EB-5投资移民的条件是根据I-526商业计划中描述的商业活动和工作机会创造来判断,所以一旦该I-526商业计划被完成,该投资者符合EB-5投资移民的条件已经得到确认,尽管该新商业企业在该I-526商业计划完成后进行不同的/更多的活动,这也不会影响该投资人的投资移民申请。

* 如果一个投资者在递交I-526申请的时候说明该新商业企业会把EB-5投资资金借贷给一个工作机会创造实体,并且在收到该工作机会创造实体的返还资金后进行清算,该新商业企业可以后续修改其公司文件以删除该清算条例,从而使该商业企业在工作机会创造实体还回贷款后可以继续运作(这个继续运作贯穿该投资者的整个有条件绿卡身份的期间)。美国移民局将不会把这种修改算作重大改变从而导致申请的拒绝或者撤回,因为该修改不会改变该投资者符合I-526申请的条件。

美国移民局将接收和考虑公众反馈后会发布该草案备忘录的最终版,在最终版发布前,该草案备忘录将不会算作最终的美国移民局政策。

原文出处:Peng & Weber律所(www.greencardlawyers.com)。

Analysis of USCIS Draft Policy Memo Regarding Adjudication of EB-5 Petitions Affected by Visa Cutoff Date

On August 10, 2015, USCIS released a draft of a long-awaited policy memorandum prompted by the China EB-5 visa backlog. Titled “Guidance on the Job Creation Requirement and Sustainment of the Investment for EB-5 Adjudication of Form I-526 and Form I-829” (Draft PM-602-0121), the draft policy memorandum “draft memo”) clarifies how USCIS will take into account delays caused by China visa retrogression when adjudicating I-526 and I-829 petitions. USCIS has posted the draft memo on its website for public comment through September 8, 2015. (See http://www.uscis.gov/outreach/feedback-opportunities/draft-memoranda-comment/draft-memorandum-comment.)

The draft memo attempts to answer two major concerns raised by the China EB-5 visa cutoff date and anticipated retrogression.

First, delayed visa availability for Chinese EB-5 investors means that they will be admitted as conditional permanent residents and file I-829 petitions long after they invest. This means that by the time those investors file I-829 petitions, the job creation window (which tracks an investor’s 2-year conditional permanent residence period) will not match the 2.5-year timeframe that was set forth in the I-526 business plan, and jobs created by their investment may no longer exist.

Second, given that an investor must sustain his or her investment in the EB-5 new commercial enterprise (NCE) throughout his or her 2-year conditional permanent residence period in order to obtain I-829 approval, the delayed start of conditional permanent residence means the investor must keep his or her capital at risk for longer than is needed by the NCE-funded project. In other words, the project may be completed before the investor’s conditional residence period ends. At that point, the question becomes whether the investor’s capital must remain tied up in the completed project, or whether the NCE may liquidate the project and either keep what remains of the investor’s capital in its bank account or redeploy it for other business purposes.

Below is a summary of the clarifications the draft memo provides on both the job creation and sustainment of investment requirements.

1. On job creation:

. USCIS will continue to apply the 2.5 year job creation rule at the I-526 stage. This means that Chinese EB-5 investors, like all other EB-5 investors, must still submit I-526 business plans showing that the requisite job creation is expected to occur within 2.5 years of I-526 approval—even if those investors likely will not obtain conditional resident status within that 2.5-year period due to visa backlogs.

. USCIS will not require that jobs actually created by the NCE in which the I-829 petitioner invested still be in existence at the time of I-829 adjudication in order to be credited to the petitioner. Instead, an I-829 petitioner can satisfy the job creation requirement by showing that (1) the NCE created at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers as a result of the petitioner’s investment, and (2) those jobs “were considered to be permanent jobs when created.” The draft memo declines to provide a bright-line test for what jobs may be “considered permanent when created” but provides two guideposts. First (in keeping with USCIS’s existing policy), an employment position generally should be expected to last for at least two years in order to be characterized as permanent as opposed to intermittent, temporary, seasonal or transient in nature. Second, the position must have been described as continuous full-time employment in the underlying I-526 petition.

. If the requisite job creation has not yet occurred within an investor’s conditional residence period and the investor’s I-829 petition therefore seeks to show that the requisite jobs will be created “within a reasonable time“ (as allowed by the regulations), USCIS will only consider jobs that will be created within three years from the start of the investor’s conditional residence period as created within a reasonable time. Jobs projected to be created beyond this 3-year time horizon usually will not be considered to be created within a reasonable time absent extreme circumstances, such as force majeure. On this point, the draft memo simply reiterates existing policy as set forth in the May 30, 2015, “EB-5 Adjudications Policy” memorandum (p. 22), without making a special exception for Chinese EB-5 investors impacted by visa backlogs.

2. On sustainment of the EB-5 investment during the conditional permanent residence period:

. An EB-5 investor’s investment will not be considered “at risk” if it is merely held in the NCE’s bank account or an escrow account during the conditional permanent residence period. If the NCE uses capital from EB-5 investors to make a loan to a job creating entity (JCE) and the JCE later repays the NCE, the NCE must continue to deploy the repaid capital in an “at risk” activity for the remainder of the investor’s conditional residence period. The draft memo does not define “at risk” activity, but the examples it provides indicate that USCIS will require deployment of capital into business activity as opposed to passive investment such as a investment in a stock portfolio.

. Following I-526 approval and before I-829 adjudication, if an investor’s investment is used to fulfill the I-526 business plan and is then redeployed into another “at-risk” activity, USCIS will not consider the redeployment a material change that would cause revocation of the investor’s approved I-526 petition or denial of the investor’s I-829. Since an investor’s EB-5 eligibility at the I-526 stage would have been based on the commercial activity and job creation described in the I-526 business plan, the investor’s EB-5 eligibility would be confirmed once the I-526 business plan is fulfilled even if the NCE subsequently undertakes different/additional activities.

. If an investor’s I-526 petition was submitted with NCE documents stating the NCE would loan EB-5 capital to a JCE and then liquidate after receiving repayment from the JCE, the NCE may subsequently amend its organizational documents to remove the liquidation provision in order to allow it to continue operating after being repaid by the JCE (through the investor’s conditional permanent residence period). USCIS would not consider such amendment a material change triggering petition denial or revocation because it would not change the investor’s EB-5 eligibility under the I-526 petition.

The draft memo will not constitute final USCIS policy until it is issued in final form, after USCIS has received and considered public feedback.

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