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Employment-based immigration in Georgia

By the Immigrant Investor Program, the United States Customs and Immigration Service issues employment-based visas to qualified foreign investors and job creators. However, there are various hurdles and requirements for achieving such status. The EB-5 program, for example, requires investment in a new business but also allows investment in a business existing before November 29, 1990 if the company is reorganized or expanded. Any form of for-profit company qualifies, including a joint venture, sole proprietorship, corporation, holding company or partnership.

Job creation in the United States and lowering the unemployment rate is an important goal of the EB-5 program. To this end, visa recipients are considered conditional permanent residents until, among other requirements, they create 10 full-time jobs within two years of admission. Preserving jobs in a troubled business, which is project one that has been losing money during the last 24 months, also qualifies.

The USCIS also needs a minimum capital investment of $1 million, or $500,000 in a targeted employment area that is either rural or designated as a high unemployment area. Borrowed money does not meet the minimum financing requirement. The applicant will have to itemize his available capital, stock purchasing and any debt financing that he is using for the acquisition. The USCIS also requires disclosure of the applicant's net worth, income and any prior investments made in the company.

For EB-5 applicants, navigating the immigration obstacle course begins with a three-page Form I-526, Immigration Petition for Alien Entrepreneur. An immigration attorney could assist in preparing this form, gathering the needed evidence and ushering the application through the USCIS processes. An attorney may also assist when the agency requests further or corrected information, poses a challenging delay to the application, requires in-person or phone interviews, or rejects the application.

Source: US CIS, "EB-5 Immigrant Investor", December 31, 2014

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