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  • Writer's pictureEdward Lehman

The Only Sensible Solution to Investment-based Immigration

Having botched the United States EB-5 program with extended wait times for foreign nationals and unsafe investment opportunities stemming from lax oversight over regional centers, and building an unfair lottery system around the H-1B work visa program, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is in dire need of identifying a sensible solution to investment-based immigration for the country.

AmChamUS supports a solution that allows for streamline investment, approval and immigration of foreign nationals while reinforcing America’s economy and creating domestic jobs.

That solution could take the form of utilizing the intracompany transfer nonimmigrant visa to jumpstart franchise opportunities across the country, with the goal of converting those investors into long-term green card holders.

Foreign nationals have a history of undertaking franchising opportunities in major metropolitan areas around the U.S., and incentivizing foreign families by allowing for immigration would be benefit local communities with not only immediate job creation, but also an expanded tax base.

This is due to the repeated missteps within the EB-5 and H-1B visa programs — major visa categories within USCIS and the Department of State that have hindered real opportunities for foreigners who legitimately want to be in the U.S.

In March 2022, U.S. Congress enacted new EB-5 rules for the program, which came after the government allowed the program to lapse in June of the previous year. But following the adoption of new rules, USCIS nullified all regional centers across the country after indicating a new form must be filed.

This all buttresses a program that has been under litigation for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, with USCIS having been sued by a regional center group, arguing the previous acting director of the department did not have authority to unilaterally adjust the price of the EB-5 program. The court ultimately agreed with the regional center group.

The EB-5 program has received more than $35 billion USD in foreign capital investment in its 30+ years of existence and created millions of jobs for American citizens.

AmChamUS does not agree with confusing legislative actions that force foreign nationals to reconsider, thus lowering the total annual investment amount that could be attained through the program, and reducing job creation within the U.S.

Similarly, the H-1B visa program was the most sought-after work visa among foreign professionals, which allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China.

But with the H-1B visa program popularity has come abuse. As it is open to any company within the U.S. willing to sponsor a foreign national for employment, companies around the country have used the H-1B system to supplant U.S. workers in favor of cheaper labor from abroad.

U.S. outsourcing companies have used the H-1B program to hire foreign nationals in batches in order to train them within the U.S., only to send them back to their home countries to work on the same job, thereby taking up a spot of another foreign national who may in fact be high skilled, and necessary for a particular position.

AmChamUS does not condone undermining the American worker for purposes of saving money on payroll by hiring foreign labor, even in white collar professions.

AmChamUS will only support a program that helps foreign nationals successfully invest in developing some aspect of the U.S. economy, creating domestic jobs, and safely seeing those foreign nationals emigrate to the U.S. It is for this reason that the L-1 to EB-1 fast track green card is the only immigration investment program endorsed by this chamber.

Finally, AmChamUS continues to encourage the U.S. federal government come up with sensible solutions to immigration, including adjusting wait times for foreign nationals in all visa categories, as well as the hiring of more Department of States employees to expedite adjudication of applicants.

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