EB-5 Visa: “The pandemic could not have happened at a worse time for the EB-5 industry”
Robert P. Gaffney, an EB-5 immigration attorney, helps people through family-, investment- and employment-based immigration matters. He practices in the Law Offices of Robert P. Gaffney in San Francisco.
How and why did you get involved in the EB-5 industry?
Immediately following the enactment of the immigrant investor provisions by Congress in 1990 we began representing businesses and individuals seeking to take advantage of this new visa option. I traveled to Taiwan in 1991 to introduce investor prospects to the first EB-5 project on which I worked. That relationship led to other projects and investors leading up to the expansion of our EB-5 practice over time, especially following the adoption of the regional center amendments in the mid-1990s.
What are some current trends you are seeing in the EB-5 market?
I am impressed by the increased level of professionalism in the industry as a whole. I think this is driven in part due to the emergence of a more sophisticated investor pool drawn from the ranks of highly educated H-1B professionals seeking to become permanent residents. This more discriminating investor pool appears to be driving the increased emphasis by project sponsors on the adoption of EB-5 “best practices” to the benefit of the EB-5 program as a whole.
How do you think the pandemic has impacted the EB-5 industry?
Occurring on the heels of the large increase is the qualifying capital requirements under the Modernization Rule, the pandemic could not have happened at a worse time for the EB-5 industry as a whole. The full impact of the pandemic on many projects in the hospitality sector remains to be seen.
What are your top business goals this year?
Return to the collegiality of an “in office” work setting as conditions permit, and plan to be able to respond effectively to the impact of the Integrity Act provisions.
What are your thoughts about the redeployment situation and the best strategy to deal with it?
Obviously serious issues have arisen due to the retroactive implementation by USCIS, without prior notice, of restrictions on redeployments which issues will be litigated in the federal court. My expectation is that the plaintiffs will likely prevail in overturning the policy. Going forward, all stakeholders will benefit from USCIS compliance with rulemaking requirements in the implementation of a clear and well-reasoned policy with regard to various aspects of redeployment following the statutorily required notice and comment period in which all stakeholders can participate.
Why did you decide to join our verified EB-5 community and what has it done for your business?
As the founding attorney of a boutique firm specializing in employment and investment-based immigration, I am always looking for ways to get the word out to prospective clients about our practice. With the wide international reach of its multilingual print and online publications, leveraging our membership in the EB5investor.com verified community is an effective way for us to connect with a broader international base of prospective clients.