EB-5 investors: “It’s imperative to know what the redeployment plan is at the outset”
EB-5 immigration attorney Farah Abbas is the owner of Abbas Law PLLC, based in Chicago, IL. She became part of the EB-5 industry more than 10 years ago when first becoming an attorney. “I started to work at a small immigration law firm in Washington, DC, and they practiced in this area called EB-5 that I had never heard of before,” she said. “I had a background in finance, and an interest in immigration, so it was a natural fit. I never imagined that 10 years later, EB-5 would still be my main area of practice.”
What are some current trends you are seeing in the EB-5 market?
EB-5 investors are more knowledgeable about the process than ever before. They understand each step, they have confidence in their case, and they have high expectations for USCIS. When these expectations are not met, more people are deciding to push forward and file a mandamus action against USCIS. This was not the case a few years ago.
How do you think the pandemic has impacted the EB-5 industry?
Coronavirus has definitely affected the EB-5 industry, just as it has other areas of immigration, just as it has everything else. Some of my clients are not in a position or even in a mindset to pick up and move to a different country right now. They have put their plans on hold, and some seem to be waiting for the pandemic to be over before making any big changes.
What are your top business goals this year?
There are still quite a few immigrant visa applications pending from the last year. I am hoping that we can get through this pandemic backlog so that these families that have been waiting so long can finally get their green cards.
What achievement in this industry has been most rewarding? Why?
As an immigration attorney, it means so much to help families immigrate to the United States and obtain their green cards. The way the industry works typically means that my relationship with a client and their family lasts 6 years or more. We get to know each other well by the end of the process. I’ve also been at this long enough that I’ve been able to assist my early EB-5 clients to obtain U.S. citizenship. I love playing a part in that process.
What are your thoughts about the redeployment situation and the best strategy to deal with it?
The more you know, the better. Given current processing timelines, redeployment is as important as ever. It’s imperative to know what the redeployment plan is at the outset, so that there are no surprises years into the EB-5 immigration process.
What do you think needs to be reformed with the EB-5 program at the time it is up for renewal in June?
I definitely have an EB-5 wish list – Reducing the minimum investment amount and removing dependents from the count for immigrant visa numbers are perhaps top of the list. I am not holding my breath for these to happen.
What would you change or do if you were president for a day?
Regarding immigration specifically, I would seek out alternatives to detention and family separation, I would give judges discretion to impose more humane and reasonable consequences for law enforcement violations, and I would establish a permanent pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Why did you decide to join our verified EB-5 community and what has it done for your business?
As an EB-5 immigration attorney, I take it upon myself to understand all sides of the business. It is not enough to know about only the immigration perspective – my clients expect me to understand the terms of their investment, the plan for job creation, the mechanism for return of funds, etc. So, it’s important to me to learn from all of the other professionals that touch or interact with various parts of the EB-5 process. It has been helpful to be able to find such resources on this platform.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Surely with hardship comes ease.” This quote reminds me to practice mindfulness and to consider the bigger picture, no matter what difficulty you may be facing.