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How can I legally work for the EB-5 project I invested in?

I have a pending EB5 application dated September 2017 as a passive investor by investing $500,000 in a new wholesale business in a TEA area. I am working under an H1B visa now but I am thinking about changing my job. Can I work for this wholesale business on an H1B with specially occupation as part time or full time until my I-526 gets approved? This way I can actually keep an eye on the project I invested in instead of being completely “passive.” Am I allowed to do this and what do I need to make this process work?

Answers

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There should not be any problem working as an H-1B in the company you are investing in. However, do not assume that working in the company will assure you of having access to good information or due diligence analysis. Without working for the business you invested in, you can obtain all the information you need in monitoring your investment by engaging a professional, such as an EB-5 attorney, to assist in analyzing and monitoring your investment activities. Last but not least, the business you are investing in may or may not hire you and, if it happens you are not hired, do not let that discourage you from investing in the business.

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    Daniel A Zeft

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The H-1B category may be an option for you if your company and you can satisfy the legal requirements to obtain an approved H-1B petition.

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The EB-5 business could possibly file for an H-1B visa on your behalf. Otherwise, you will need to wait for work authorization relative to your I-526.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can only work in the EB-5 project in which you have invested if you were to get a job offer. In order to do so you must first we work authorized. Since you are currently working under an H-1B visa, you would have to approach the management of the project developer and apply for a job and if they agreed to give you a job, then the EB-5 project as your prospective employer would have to file a new H-1B petition on your behalf. Because you already have an approved H-1B, you would not be subject to the annual 65,000 visa quota and as soon as the prospective employer filed your H-1B petition and a receipt is issued within a few weeks, you would be eligible to work. But you cannot do this without the participation and approval of the employer.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You would have to disclose ownership of the business when you file the H-1B. Depending on how much of the business you own this may be problematic since USCIS could view it as self-petitioning. Without further detail it is difficult to say absolutely yes or no here. If your current H-1B is stable it would be advisable to stay under that employment/status, and oversee your investment but not work directly for the invested business.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Please note that EB-5 investment application requires the investor to be an "active" investor, not a passive one. Just because you are not involved in a day-to-day operation or are not employed by the business, does not mean you are a passive investor because you have a policy setting involvement as a limited partner or a board member, which are considered as an active investor per EB-5 rules. Whether or not you could be hired as an H1B worker by the business is completely up to the business and whether they have a need for a person with your specialized skills and they must file the change of employer petition on your behalf. Just because you are an investor should not be a factor in the hiring process and your role in the business will be that of an H1B worker with the job duties that are consistent to the job that requires the H1B specialty occupation. Please note that as an investor in the business your employment cannot be considered as one of the EB-5 jobs that the business is required to create.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The business may be able to sponsor you under H1B if it qualifies.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can work there, subject to some caveats the major one being that if it is a direct EB-5 project you invested in, you can work there but you will not count towards the 10 job minimum requirement.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If there is a true employer-employee relationship, you could be the beneficiary of a change of employer H-1B petition, wherein the new commercial enterprise into which you invested your EB-5 capital could be your H-1B employer. You should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure that the business will support an H-1B worker, that the position is likely to be considered a professional or specialty occupation by USCIS, and that you have the proper qualifications for the position.

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