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EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE

Top 25 Attorneys 2018: Top 25 Immigration Attorneys

By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff

EB5 Investors Magazine is pleased to announce the Top 25 Immigration Attorneys. To be eligible, distinguished immigration attorneys needed to primarily file investor petitions.

For more information or to contact any of these professionals, we invite you to view their listings at www.EB5Investors.com/directories.

ELSIE HUI ARIAS

STONE GRZEGOREK & GONZALEZ LLP | PARTNER

Elsie Hui Arias is a partner of Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP, a full-service immigration law firm in Los Angeles, California. The State Bar of California has designated Arias as a certified specialist in immigration and nationality law. She advises regional centers and developers in preparing EB-5 investment offerings, applying for initial regional center designations and I-526 exemplar approvals, maintaining compliance, and developing strategies in tackling complex issues that emerge during the I-526 and I-829 process. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Davis School of Law.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I have represented EB-5 clients since 2007, so I have observed how USCIS adjudications have evolved. First, USCIS is revising substantive legal requirements through issuance of policy with little notice or opportunity for meaningful feedback from stakeholders, which is hugely problematic for pragmatic and due-process reasons. Also, USCIS is more closely scrutinizing investor source of funds and currency exchange issues, especially where a third party is involved. A cursory presentation addressing the sources and transfers of capital will not pass muster with USCIS, even under the preponderance of the evidence standard. Transparency and consistency with investor documents are paramount.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I spent the first several years of my career focused on family- and employment-based immigration, as well as preparing appeals and motions for removal (deportation) cases. I joined Stone & Grzegorek LLP approximately 11 years ago, where I learned directly from Lincoln Stone, a renowned expert in EB-5 who has been practicing in this field since the early 1990s. I find the work to be rewarding because of the positive impact that EB-5 capital can have on the economy and job creation, and I get to play a small role helping investors and their families realize their American dream.

EDWARD BESHARA

BESHARA GLOBAL MIGRATION LAW FIRM | MANAGING PARTNER

Edward Beshara manages Beshara Global Migration Law Firm in Orlando, Florida. He has been exclusively practicing U.S. business immigration law and offering approvable solutions since 1983. Beshara is an active member of AILA and achieved AILA’s highest award for outstanding contributions. He is also an active member of IIUSA’s Best Practices Committee and New Investor Markets Committee. He serves on the advisory committee of the Investment Migration Council based in Geneva, Switzerland. For several years Beshara was an adjunct professor of business immigration law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. The firm also offers global migration services.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The residency-by-investment laws are here to stay. The EB-5 program offers an effective way for foreign investors to obtain U.S. residency while creating U.S. jobs. The program also allows U.S. businesses to obtain financing for their projects. To approach new investor markets and compete globally with other countries’ residency-by-investment programs, regional centers will need to develop competitive projects and processes that will still be successful, even though the minimum investment amounts may increase. There must be advising regional center clients on how to be competitive and predictable, and how their projects can become the most popular globally.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

For 35 years, I have been helping foreign investors obtain E-2 and L-1 visas so that they may direct their U.S. businesses. The cost of running these businesses is substantial. The EB-5 regional center program in comparison may not be as costly and will be more predictable. The EB-5 investor does not have to worry about directing his own business but can rely on a credible U.S. business project managed by experienced operators. I began representing EB-5 investors 27 years ago, which was a natural and compatible progression for providing better options to clients contemplating E-2 or L-1 visas.

BELMA DEMIROVIC CHINCHOY

EB-5 PLUS IMMIGRATION LAW | ATTORNEY

Belma Demirovic Chinchoy partners with investors and companies to guide them in successful participation in the EB-5 program. Believing in individualized approach, Chinchoy’s EB-5 practice is founded on an in-depth, high-contact relationship with clients. Her comprehensive knowledge of immigration law and years of working on complex RFEs allow her to develop a winning strategy for clients, easily foreseeing potential issues and effectively yielding the law to clients’ circumstances. Chinchoy is a frequent speaker and professional trainer on EB-5 topics and has served as a mentor to numerous attorneys learning the EB-5 practice. She is licensed in California.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

On the project side, it is clear one size no longer fits all. Current USCIS adjudicators are paying more attention to structure of projects and they question cookie-cutter, bare-bones applications. Increased litigation indicates that regulators are better skilled in evaluating EB-5 projects and noticing problematic structures. On the investor side, source and path of funds RFEs also show us that USCIS seeks more details and questions all path of funds involving intermediaries. Unlike before, however, we now have many EB-5 petitions with SOF that are based on well-documented U.S. tax and wage records. (Perhaps this will speed up processing times?!)

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

EB-5 chose me more so than I chose it! However, I stayed because I thrive in the multi-disciplinary nature of an EB-5 practice. I revel in the details of each EB-5 petition, from pouring over financial documents in order to develop the simplest yet legally sound source/path of funds strategy to meticulously editing a regional center business plan. I enjoy collaborating with and guiding the work of professionals engaged in structuring an EB-5 project. My passion for the law and common business sense come together in an EB-5 practice and allow me to effectively guide my clients toward successful petitions.

MARK DAVIES

DAVIES & ASSOCIATES LLC | CHAIRMAN

A graduate and Salzburg fellow of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Mark Davies is a dual-licensed lawyer in the U.K. and U.S., with admission pending in Grenada. Davies is chairman of Davies & Associates LLC. He was recognized for his service as chairman of the board of directors of Lawyers Without Borders by the Bush administration. His experience in distressed real estate finance with one of the world’s five largest law firms, coupled with his extensive experience of investment visas, has made him the counsel of choice to many EB-5 investors, regional centers and developers around the world.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

We are seeing explosive demand for an EB-5 filing coupled with an E-2 visa through citizenship of Grenada. This is one of the many solutions we offer our clients, especially in India, who are facing looming retrogression delays. Davies & Associates has established presence across India and Grenada, as well as a team dedicated to E-2 filings and a pending Grenadian law license. We entered the Indian market because we foresaw India becoming a leader in EB-5 visas. We are now the first to market with a comprehensive Grenada/E-2 offering as a cure to the future retrogression delays.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

As an immigrant to the United States myself, I understand the highs and the lows of applying for multiple U.S. visas, as well as a green card and citizenship. I wanted to help others in order to make that process as seamless as possible for them. I was particularly drawn to the EB-5 visa because it blends my two passions of immigration law and distressed real estate finance law. My experience with distressed real estate finance law assists us in identifying legal issues with the way some EB-5 projects are structured.

IGNACIO A. DONOSO

I.A. DONOSO & ASSOCIATES | FOUNDER

Ignacio A. Donoso is a leading business immigration attorney whose career spans 20 years, with particular expertise in visas for EB-5 entrepreneurs, companies expanding operations to the U.S., start-ups and skilled professionals. Donoso founded I.A. Donoso & Associates in 2013, after previously working as partner of FosterQuan, LLP (now Foster, LLP), one of the top immigration law firms in the U.S. Donoso has been selected to serve in many AILA national committees. Donoso has been recognized among the Top 25 immigration attorneys in the United States in 2015 and 2016. Donoso is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Investors and regional centers are searching the horizon for predictability. They face issues such as the potential for changes in regulations, new visa waiting lists, and slowing demand for EB-5 visas from key markets such as China, India and Vietnam. At the same time, increased competition for fewer investors is causing available projects to trend toward having higher quality features for investors, such as I-924 approvals, negotiable administrative fees and increased potential for return-on-investment paid to investors. Regional centers and EB-5 investors are likely to emerge from this phase of the EB-5 program strengthened in their roles.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The EB-5 program holds great promise for the U.S. by offering lawful permanent resident status based on a U.S. job-creating investment. The merits of the EB-5 program became especially compelling during the economic recession that started in 2008. I recall businesses struggling to find financing and seeking out the EB-5 program as a solution. The EB-5 program created real jobs at a time when capital was scarce and businesses were struggling to survive. The EB-5 program has grown, matured and hopefully will continue to provide an extraordinarily creative and helpful solution for combining investment and immigration to the U.S.

ROBERT P. GAFFNEY

LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT P. GAFFNEY | ATTORNEY

Robert P. Gaffney is a State Bar of California certified specialist in immigration and nationality law. Through the Law Offices of Robert P. Gaffney based in San Francisco, Gaffney has for over 30 years counseled clients in employment, investment and family-based immigration matters. The firm has a strong practice focus on the representation of immigrant investors. Gaffney attended the University of Michigan and is fluent in the Chinese language. His publications include “Practical Approaches to Lawful Source of Funds Issues” in the EB-5 Book (ILW.com 2012/2017) and “Can a Minor File an EB-5 Petition,” in EB5 Investors Magazine (October 2016).

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Global diversification of the marketplace brings increased competition among offerors seeking to raise capital from a generally more well-informed investor pool. The need to redeploy capital due to lengthy visa wait times for investors from oversubscribed countries has created increased complexities for offerors and investors alike. Investors are demanding greater offeror transparency and are increasingly seeking expert advice from experienced and unconflicted immigration attorneys and financial advisors to support a fact-based project-selection process. To increase investor confidence and develop and maintain market share, the implementation of independent third-party oversight procedures is becoming a recognized best practice for project planners.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

When the EB-5 program was launched in 1991, taking on immigrant investor cases was a natural outgrowth of our existing employment-based immigration practice. The EB-5 program offered advantages over other visa categories which typically have strict entry requirements and require an offer of full-time permanent employment in the U.S. The EB-5 program allowed us to develop a new class of immigration clients who might lack pre-existing ties to prospective employers or qualified family sponsors in the U.S. but who possess a record of financial success in their home countries, thereby offering new opportunities for diversification of our law firm’s practice.

MATTHEW T. GALATI

GREEN & SPIEGEL | ATTORNEY & EB-5 SECTION HEAD

Mat thew T. Galati is an attorney at Green and Spiegel, one of North America's oldest immigration law firms. The firm offers comprehensive immigration solutions in the U.S. and Canada. In the Philadelphia office, he leads the firm's EB-5 and Grenada citizenship-by-Investment functions. Since the beginning of his career, Galati has filed hundreds of EB-5 petitions. He also routinely counsels entrepreneurial clients on the treaty trader and investor E-visas, intracompany transferee L-1 visas, and EB-1 visa alternatives. Galati also has demonstrated expertise with Form I-829 filings. He serves as a member of the national AILA EB-5 Immigrant Investor Committee.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

More countries’ investors are interested in the program than previously. This presents significant opportunities and challenges. EB-5 continues to be a “win-win” system for families and the U.S. economy. The law and visa allocations, however, are lagging behind. I’m optimistic that changes in Washington can lead to immigration reform and the fixes that the program needs.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

My grandfather immigrated after docking in New York Harbor, and my wife immigrated after an interview with me at her side in a USCIS office, so I have a deep personal connection with my clients' circumstances. Regarding EB- 5, I was fortunate to work with some of the industry's brightest minds early in my career. Their passion for this program fueled mine. It is rewarding knowing that I am representing a family so they can achieve the American dream, while at the same time raising the economic outlook for my fellow Americans.

ENRIQUE GONZALEZ

FRAGOMEN | MANAGING PARTNER, FLORIDA OFFICE

Enrique Gonzalez is the managing partner of Fragomen’s Florida office. He has more than 25 years of experience practicing immigration law. Gonzalez provides legal counsel to entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals regarding investment-based immigration, including the EB-5 program. In 2013, Gonzalez served as special counsel on immigration to Sen. Marco Rubio, where he was the senior advisor/negotiator for comprehensive immigration reform efforts led by Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and Rubio. Gonzalez earned his J.D. from Cornell University. He speaks English and Spanish.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

From my perspective, the most significant trends in the EB-5 industry have been, first, the softening in the market for investors from China. This softening has driven changes in the market in that it has increased the competition for EB-5 investors among projects as well as prompted projects to turn their attention to markets such as Brazil, India and Vietnam. Second is the ever-growing need for redeployment of investor money to maintain them at-risk until the investor files for removal of conditions on their residency, and the lack of clear guidance from USCIS as to what qualifies as redeployment.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I began handling EB-5 cases in the early 1990s. The application process is much more clearly defined and regulated now than it was when the EB-5 program first started, and as a result, the volume of applications has grown significantly over the past decade. What motivated me then and now is the opportunity to help contribute to the U.S. economy and job growth at a pace and scale that is not easily matched by most other immigration programs.

JENNIFER HERMANSKY

GREENBERG TRAURIG | SHAREHOLDER

Jennifer Hermansky first began working on EB - 5 investor cases in 2009. She has since been involved in more than 100 regional center projects and has handled thousands of investor petitions. Hermansky is a shareholder at the Philadelphia office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and is part of the firm’s EB-5 team. With a degree in finance and a background in handling entrepreneurial cases for clients seeking E-2 or L-1 visas, Hermansky is intimately familiar with the business immigration process. She helps investors from their filing to when they become citizens, and counsels regional centers on issues of management, staffing and compliance.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

USCIS is becoming very stringent on its review of I-526 petitions and I-829 petitions. The agency is very carefully reviewing the I-526 petitions for source of funds of the investors, and many issues that they never focused on before are now issues for cases. It is very important for stakeholders to keep abreast of these trends and make sure investors are working with qualified attorneys. Beyond adjudications, we are seeing the development of new and emerging markets for EB-5 investors grow significantly, especially in countries like India, South Korea, UAE, Brazil and Venezuela.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

My background and education are actually in finance, so EB-5 is a natural fit for me. It is such an interesting program, and I like that it benefits both U.S. workers and foreign nationals. I really enjoy working with clients to develop their business plans, economic reports and securities offerings, ensuring that each is EB-5-compliant and marketable to foreign investors. I find it very satisfying to work on a successful project with tangible and profitable results, while also seeing immigrants receive green cards.

NICOLAI HINRICHSEN

MILLER MAYER | PARTNER

Nicolai Hinrichsen has over a decade of experience in EB-5 immigration law. He represents regional centers and developers in structuring EB-5-compliant projects either through initial regional center designation applications or by partnering with existing regional centers. He also represents individual investors obtaining permanent resident status through regional center or direct EB-5 investments. Prior to joining Miller Mayer, Hinrichsen practiced corporate and securities law in San Francisco and Paris, France. He is a member of AILA and the New York and California state bar. He received his J.D. from Boston University School of Law and his B.A. from UC Berkeley.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

With retrogression effectively quashing China’s EB-5 market, regional centers and developers have generally reduced the size of capital raises. In addition, fundraising has shifted from China to smaller EB-5 markets like Vietnam, South Korea, India and Brazil. These markets have experienced robust growth in 2018, a trend that despite (or perhaps because of) current or looming retrogression should continue into 2019. Industry practices will continue to face increased scrutiny and enforcement from regulators, even as we await potential regulations or legislation.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Seeking a new professional challenge after years of practicing corporate law for a Fortune 500 company in Paris, France, and then securities law for a leading U.S. law firm in San Francisco, I began working at Miller Mayer in 2007. With my esteemed colleague Stephen Yale-Loehr as a consummate mentor, my EB-5 knowledge developed in tandem with the program’s rapid growth following the 2008 financial crisis. For over a decade now, I’ve been an integral member of Miller Mayer’s EB-5 team. In 2013, I opened our branch office in Shanghai, China. Recently, I’ve relocated to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

DAVID HIRSON

DAVID HIRSON & PARTNERS, LLP | MANAGING PARTNER

David Hirson is the managing partner of David Hirson & Partners, LLP. He has been certified as a specialist in immigration and nationality law by the State Bar of California since 1990, and has worked on EB-5 cases since the program was established. Hirson filed many of the EB-5 cases that were approved throughout the first 10 years of the EB-5 visa program. His memberships include the immigration law sections of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Orange County Bar Association; the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific; and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The EB-5 industry is moving forward on a significantly smaller scale compared to the last couple of years. While this is sad, it was to be expected, given visa availability, the ability to transfer investment funds out of certain countries, and the investor market. EB-5 regional centers and projects are now exploring and implementing new investment models that combine EB-5 requirements with either more traditional fund-model attributes or even more innovative ideas. The industry continues to need more guidelines provided by USCIS in order to see how to effectively operate the industry in the immediate future and beyond.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Having immigrated from South Africa as a young professional, I became involved in the immigration industry out of love and understanding for the dream that every immigrant businessman and woman has to come to America and work hard. The EB-5 industry is the embodiment of foreign nationals both living and contributing to the American dream, coming to the U.S. for a better life and providing a better life for U.S. workers. I was fortunate to help a client successfully file one of the first EB-5 petitions ever filed in 1991, and have loved working in the industry ever since.

KATE KALMYKOV

GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP | ATTORNEY & SHAREHOLDER

Kate Kalmykov is an EB-5 immigration attorney and shareholder in the New York City area offices of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, a top- ranking international law firm. She is an active member in the immigration law community and has been working on thousands of EB-5 cases for over a decade. Kalmykov recognized the opportunity that EB-5 offered to immigrants who did not have the option of obtaining a visa through family or employment connections, while simultaneously contributing to the growth of the U.S. economy through job creation. These factors prompted her involvement in the EB-5 program and serve as continued motivators.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

As predicted last year, we are seeing a greater amount of review by USCIS in its adjudication of both investor petitions and regional center/ project applications and that trend will continue. We are seeing a greater issuance of requests for evidence, and these requests often involve a departure from long-standing agency adjudication trends. Despite these requests, adjudications continue to move forward at a quicker pace than they have for the past several years, as the agency attempts to clear its backlog.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I find EB-5 to be a fascinating field that has experienced exponential growth, and I feel rewarded by helping investors fulfill their dreams. As an immigrant myself, I can personally relate to my clients, and I also find a certain satisfaction in seeing projects develop from the ground up. I understand investor concerns and motivations for seeking immigration through investment. That insight fuels my unique approach to investor filings. I view my relationship with clients as a true partnership.

ROHIT KAPURIA

SAUL EWING ARNSTEIN & LEHR LLP | ATTORNEY

Rohit Kapuria, an attorney at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, regularly represents EB-5 lenders, borrowers, banks, regional centers, real estate developers and migration brokers. Kapuria’s practice is a dual hybrid of corporate securities and EB-5 immigration law. He has worked on over 400 EB-5 transactions, with a combined capital development cost in excess of $7 billion. Kapuria currently represents close to 25 percent of the Indian-born EB-5 investor market. He is also very active in Opportunity Zones, representing clients around the U.S. in such transactions. Kapuria is fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Hausa.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Two trends: redeployment, where our law firm is leading the charge, having structured more than $1 billion worth of redeployed transactions in 2018; and Opportunity Zones (“OZ”), where our law firm has a 40-attorney strong team structuring transactions all over the country. OZs are, in some cases, tying back into redeployment, allowing for the EB-5 new commercial enterprises to capitalize on the tax incentives following an asset sale and/or participating alongside an OZ fund in a capital stack, where applicable. One other trend is a large diversification of the global EB-5 investor market as issuers scour the globe for investors.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

It was actually by happenstance. I was directed to a meeting with Ron Klasko years back. Because I have a graduate degree in mathematical economics, Klasko engaged me in a number of questions on RIMS II and IMPLAN. Until that point, I was not aware of the inherent import that the economic impact analysis plays within the regional center EB-5 structure. This crossover between transactional law, immigration law and economics had me hooked, and so began my journey in the EB-5 world. I owe my growth and knowledge in this space to Ron Klasko and Ronnie Fieldstone.

NIMA KORPIVAARA

DAVID HIRSON & PARTNERS, LLP | CO-FOUNDER

Nima Korpivaara co-founded David Hirson & Partners, LLP in 2014. He handles all types of U.S. immigration, including complex matters associated with corporate business structure and EB-5 investor applications. Korpivaara practices in the fields of corporate, investor (E-2 and EB- 5) and family immigration law, representing large and small clients within a variety of industries. This includes temporary and short-term work visas, business visas, permanent residency (employment-based and family-based) and naturalization. Korpivaara has successfully represented thousands of investors in receiving EB-5 green card approvals, as well as dozens of regional centers in successfully receiving designation from USCIS.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

With severe backlogs in China and Vietnam, and impressing delays for Indian nationals, I expect a significant slowdown in I-526 petitions. My hope would be that this lull allows time for USCIS to catch up on processing times, and for Congress to take a hard look at the regulations. Arbitrary processing times and antiquated regulations that relate nothing to how businesses operate are changing the risk profile for investors. With higher risk levels and longer wait times, EB-5 cannot compete with immigration programs across the world.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I am a first-generation Iranian immigrant. I watched as my own family entered the USA on student visas, applied for H-1Bs and went through the employer-based green card process. Going through that process galvanized my desire to become an immigration attorney. EB-5 provides unique opportunities for business and deal making-minded attorneys such as myself. Unlike other areas of immigration law, which can be static, EB-5 allows you to work closely with businesses to advise on everything.

CAROLYN LEE

CAROLYN LEE, PLLC | FOUNDER

Carolyn Lee is the founder of Carolyn Lee PLLC. Lee has represented regional centers, developers, funds and investors for over a decade, helping U.S. project clients raise $2.5 billion in EB-5 capital. She is the chair of American Immigration Lawyers (AILA) national EB-5 Committee. Lee has authored key legislative commentary since 2012 advocating for workable EB-5 reform and visa capacity expansion. Lee authors leading publications, including the new USCIS EB-5 Redemption Policy Update (ilw.com, November 2018), Analysis of Litigation to Expand EB-5 Visa Capacity (Regional Center Business Journal, October 2018) and Straight Talk on Redeployment (EB5 Investors Magazine, November 2017).

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

There is both tremendous volatility and opportunity. The volatility comes from lack of long-term program reauthorization, looming major change in both the law and regulations, fast-coming policy changes, investor unrest, and IPO leadership turnover on top of it all. The opportunity comes from finding ways to meet these challenges and run even stronger operations. Opportunity is also there to band together to fight for common interests. Alliances can form across all lines. USCIS and stakeholders, for example, share interest in the rule of law and program integrity. Similarly, all stakeholders share common interest in some form of EB-5 capacity expansion.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I got involved in EB-5 around 2005. Having started in complex transactions, real estate and lending, EB-5 was a natural fit. The timing was perfect because my experience merged with rising EB-5 demand. The more interesting question is why I remain passionate about EB-5. There is incredible potential in the product of investment, job creation and enterprising immigrants. It’s already borne fruit with hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, billions of investment dollars, and thousands of U.S. tax-paying immigrant families. We can all, in the private sector and government, do much more to develop and realize EB-5’s full potential.

DANIEL LUNDY

KLASKO IMMIGRATION LAW PARTNERS LLP | PARTNER

Daniel Lundy is a partner with Klasko Immigration Law Partners LLP, heading its EB-5 developer/regional center and EB-5 compliance practices. Lundy represents developers and regional centers who seek to raise money through EB-5. Lundy represents many clients in troubled EB-5 projects, including matters involving SEC complaints and allegations of fraud or misappropriation, where he helps to preserve the immigration interests of investors throughout the restructuring of those projects. Lundy has extensive experience litigating immigration cases in the federal courts and is frequently retained to help with RFEs, NOIDs and appeals of USCIS denials. He received his J.D. from Fordham University.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

With the decline in the Chinese investor market due to visa backlogs, the flow of new EB-5 projects has slowed and the average deal size has decreased. The number of troubled projects continues to grow, including cases of fraud and projects struggling economically. These projects often need to be restructured to preserve the investors’ green cards. USCIS policy continues to evolve. The overall level of complexity in EB-5 is rising, and we continue to develop new and creative strategies to deal with it. We have filed lawsuits against USCIS challenging delays and denials in EB-5 cases, with some success.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I was attracted to the EB-5 field because it is a very small niche within the immigration field, and one that involved a substantial level of complexity and corresponding opportunity for creative lawyering that really has the ability to help clients achieve their goals. The business side of EB-5 is constantly evolving, and as a result, so is the practice of law in this field.

ANUSREE NAIR

KLASKO IMMIGRATION LAW PARTNERS | PARTNER

Anusree (Anu) Nair is a partner at Klasko Immigration Law Partners and manages the investor division of the firm's EB-5 practice. She is responsible for the filing of all EB-5 petitions at the firm. Nair’s command of investor-related issues is recognized within the industry and she is frequently called on to review cases prepared by other firms to ensure compliance with USCIS’ rigorous standards. Nair has attained a 99% approval rate on all petitions and applications filed with the government.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The demographics of the EB-5 investor has changed drastically over the past few years. As most of the EB-5 marketing and education was geared toward the Chinese market, Indian investors simply don’t have the same basic knowledge about EB-5. Indian investors are well-informed about H-1B visas and issues relating to I-140 petitions, but many are neophytes when it comes to EB-5. I explain basic EB-5 terminology before I can start most consultations. Interestingly though, they are very savvy when it comes to business and are always looking for the best admin fees and interest rates.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I had no EB-5 experience when I joined Klasko in June 2012. While my entry into the EB-5 industry was a fluke, the reason I have chosen to stay in the industry is two-fold. As an immigrant myself, I know that getting a green card for an investor not only impacts the future of that person, but that of entire families, even generations. Second, Philadelphia is a hot-spot for EB-5 — hotels, restaurants and major infrastructure projects. Being able to walk around the city and see how EB-5 has contributed to the changing landscape and modernization of Philadelphia is so gratifying.

MONA SHAH

MONA SHAH & ASSOCIATES GLOBAL | ATTORNEY

U.K. born, Mona Shah, a former British crown prosecutor, has extensive knowledge of all facets of U.S. immigration law. Recognized as an industry leader in EB-5, Shah has received many accolades for her work, including being voted a Top 25 EB-5 attorney five years in a row. She has been interviewed by Fox Business, Al Jazeera and the New York Times. Shah is a published author, a Lexis Nexis editor and regularly speaks worldwide. She hosts the first EB-5 podcast series and is an adjunct professor at Baruch College and a member of the presidential advisory board for IIUSA.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

There is a marked decrease in investment as the program faces multiple headwinds, uncertainty and speculation relating to issues such as visa backlogs, securities issuances violations and a new minimum investment amount that reflects the economic realities of today. Smaller, more diverse projects have begun to replace traditional large-scale real-estate projects. Obvious trends include the shift in market focus, pivoting away from China toward the Indian subcontinent, Latin America and the MENA regions. There is a heightened awareness of the program and a notable increase in available information, which is a sharp contrast from only a few years ago.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I have been practicing U.S. immigration law for 23-plus years. My experience includes complex immigration litigation as well as business immigration. I had been involved with EB-5 stakeholders long before the surge in popularity of the regional center program. The EB-5 realm continues to be an exciting and dynamic area of the law, embodying a wide range of specialized knowledge: business, immigration and securities law to international marketing and country conditions. I possess a good understanding of the core underlying areas and I have a flair for marketing, making EB-5 a natural fit for me.

CHRISTIAN TRIANTAPHYLLIS

JACKSON WALKER LLP | PARTNER

Christian Triantaphyllis focuses his practice on business immigration matters, particularly those related to EB-5 investments. Triantaphyllis represents foreign nationals in the filing of EB-5 cases and advises on lawful sources of investment funds. He also advises businesses on establishing EB-5 projects and setting up EB-5 funding structures. Triantaphyllis represents clients to acquire work authorization for professional employees and other visa options. Triantaphyllis has authored a number of articles and is a frequent speaker on the EB-5 program. He earned his J.D. from New York Law School and received his B.A. in political science from Southern Methodist University.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Over the last year a significant amount of education and awareness about the EB-5 program was spread into new and already existing investor markets. With this increase in education and awareness, different types of EB-5 investors have entered EB-5 program who are focused on project-specific characteristics, such as the I-924 exemplar, opportunities for higher investment returns, timing of the exit strategy and redeployment of investment funds, as well as an increased interest in alternative investment options other than the EB-5 program.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I got involved in the EB-5 industry because of my background as an immigration attorney coupled with previously working in the corporate lending section of a law firm. I gravitated toward EB-5 work early on in my career because I was familiar with the types of contracts and funding structures involved with financing various types of projects, and so EB-5 was a natural fit that I wanted to be involved with because it creates jobs in the U.S. I also enjoy working with and getting to know people from around the world as they pursue a life in the U.S.

ROHIT TURKHUD

FAKHOURY GLOBAL IMMIGRATION | PARTNER

Rohit Tur khud has been practicing the U.S. immigration and nationality laws since 1985. Since 1994 he has specialized in employment-based immigration. From 1994 to 2001, Turkhud served in senior executive positions at IT companies. From June 2004 to September 2012, he was a partner at an immigration law firm. Turkhud joined FLG in September 2012 as a partner, and is a member of an ever-increasing global team. Turkhud has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1985. He is a frequent speaker on business immigration issues and conferences.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The EB-5 industry has come a long way from its early days in the 1990s. The amounts of minimum investment have not changed since 1990 or 1992, but little else remains the same. China is no longer the mecca for finding EB-5 investors. India and Vietnam may be the new China. The USCIS continues to rule the EB-5 world through its memos and attending fiats. The consulates, on occasion, are re-adjudicating approved petitions to the confusion and detriment of the investors. Change will continue. Change is good, most times. Change is inevitable. Change reflects new trends.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

EB-5 offers migrants one of the best options to migrate without a dependency on employers or relatives. One injects a substantial money into the U.S. economy, creates jobs for U.S. workers, and gets the green card in possibly the fastest way for an India-born immigrant. Hopefully, they get the invested capital back. EB-5 offers me a singularly unique opportunity to leverage my Indian background, culture, heritage and the ability to speak multiple Indian languages. I bring my experience since 1985 in U.S. immigration laws. In this very dynamic practice, one is constantly learning about new people, places, regulations and opportunities.

CLETUS M. WEBER

PENG & WEBER PLLC | PARTNER

Cletus M. Weber is a partner at Peng & Weber PLLC, a Seattle-based immigration law firm internationally recognized in EB-5 and other U.S. immigration law. He represents EB-5 regional centers, projects and investors in all facets of EB-5. Weber serves on the board of IIUSA and previously served on AILA’s national EB-5 Committee. Weber is an author of “The EB-5 Handbook: A Guide for Investors and Developers” (EB5investors.com 2014); senior editor of “Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs,” 2nd-4th Eds. (AILA 2010-2018); and an invited reviewer of the EB-5 section of Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook, 14th-16th Eds. (AIC 2014-2018).

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

As mainland China EB-5 market drops off, the overall world market steadily grows. Vietnam and India markets expand, but backlogs will eventually slow them as well. Investors from backlogged countries still desire to immigrate, but EB-5 backlogs create interest in faster alternatives, such as EB-1A aliens of extraordinary ability and EB-1C multinational managers or executives. Although perfect for a small percentage of otherwise EB-5 investors, these alternatives do not work well for most petitioners. Regional centers continue to pursue investors the world over. Overall industry continues to push Congress to increase the EB-5 visa quota.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

EB-5 is complex, multidisciplinary, interesting and challenging. It resides at the intersection of my lifelong interests in law, business, politics, entrepreneurialism, real estate, construction, economics, finance, teamwork, world travel, culture and language. EB-5 is a natural place for me after having earned my way through business school and law school by working in construction and interning at the Securities and Exchange Commission, having previously practiced corporate and real estate law and having taught myself basic Chinese. I love the success stories of investors. I also enjoy the teamwork inherent in project-related work for regional centers and developers.

MITCH WEXLER

FRAGOMEN | PARTNER

Mitch Wexler is a partner with Fragomen, the leading global immigration firm. He manages the firm's Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego, California of fices. Wexler serves on the firm's executive committee and has been practicing immigration law for over 33 years. He represents high net worth individuals (EB-5) and employers of all sizes in managing their visa/immigration programs and foreign national portfolios. Wexler is a State Bar of California certified specialist in immigration and nationality law. He is also a frequent lecturer and teaches a module on business immigration law, including EB-5, at UC Irvine School of Law.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Although we are seeing adjudication times at USCIS speed up a bit, we are seeing them up the standard on source of funds documentation, which is why we spend extra time with clients making sure every dollar is accounted for and will pass muster. Another trend we are seeing, primarily with India-born clients, is to have children at about 16 or 17 years of age be the principal investor/applicants to reduce the odds of aging out. The upcoming retrogression in mid-2019 is causing applicants to rethink whether it remains safe for a parent with an older child to be the principal applicant.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I got into the wonderful world of EB-5 really out of necessity. We come across many clients looking for a relatively quick way to immigrate that does not require sponsorship by a U.S. employer. Many are entrepreneurs not looking for a job in the U.S. Quite to the contrary. Many EB-5 clients are serial job creators/employers, not employees. Another reason is the extremely long backlogs for my Indian clients in the EB-2 and 3 categories. They needed another green card option that would achieve the objective much quicker so they can move on with their lives.

JINHEE WILDE

WA LAW GROUP | PRINCIPAL & MANAGING PARTNER

Jinhee Wilde is the principal and managing partner of WA Law Group, LLC, focusing on employment and investment immigration. Wilde’s 33 years of legal experience began as a prosecutor for Chicago and then as the inspector general designee, special counsel and attorney advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This extensive government experience still gives her a government lawyer’s perspective, which may explain her stellar track record with only 3 RFEs on SOF on numerous cases filed during the past 12 years. Wilde only represents the investor side of EB-5 and stays independent from any regional centers.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Like the Chinese market, Vietnam and now the India market will dramatically slow down with the expected retrogression of visas. Furthermore, as the minimum investment is likely to be increased with or without the legislative action, the demographics of the likely EB-5 investors will also change. I think they will seek projects with higher returns on their investment and more diversification than luxury hotel or commercial real estate projects that have been popular. With the increased scrutiny of the regional center program’s integrity through audits, site visits and investigations by USCIS and SEC, there will be more demand for transparency.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

EB-5 is a uniquely challenging specialty of immigration law. It requires an attorney to be facile in corporate, finance, real estate, economics and immigration law. Having had both government and corporate transactional law experience, EB-5 was a very compelling area of the immigration practice for me. I strongly believe in full disclosure and educating my clients before they make a life-changing decision. The patience to answer all the questions and the alacrity of my responses seem to resonate well with the EB-5 clients who, because they are busy high net worth professionals, demand better understanding and explanations of the process.

BERNARD P. WOLFSDORF

WOLFSDORF ROSENTHAL LLP | MANAGING PARTNER

Bernard P. Wolfsdorf is a past president of the 15,000-lawyer American Immigration Lawyers Association, where he earned its Service Excellence award. He is managing partner of the Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP law firm with more 100 professionals and offices in Los Angeles, New York City and Shanghai. Best Lawyers by U.S. News & World Report selected him as its 2018 Lawyer of the Year for Los Angeles. Chambers USA described him as one of the “hardest-working immigration lawyers around.” EB5 Investors Magazine has named him in its ranking of the top EB-5 lawyers for a fifth time.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The EB-5 industry is at a critical fork in the road. With demand from the three leading countries (China, Vietnam and India) creating significant waiting lines, the EB-5 industry urgently needs to reform to survive and grow. Without China and with the possibility of a slowdown in Vietnam and India, the second-tier markets are simply too small to fund many of the larger projects in the market. With the midterm elections now behind us, it is hoped Congress might enact a new EB-5 reform bill that can save the industry and continue to provide jobs to the U.S. economy.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I did my first EB-5 case in 1993 for a “troubled business” – a snowboard manufacturer that had run into financial problems. The case was approved on an expedited basis in 24 hours and both the company and all the jobs were saved. For the past 25 years we have been able to help hundreds of families seeking the American Dream. For many, the EB-5 program presented the only viable roadmap to a green card. For those who do their research carefully, EB-5 continues to present a viable path to permanent residency in a relatively short period of time.

VIVIAN ZHU

WOLFSDORF ROSENTHAL LLP | PARTNER

Vivian Zhu is a partner at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP and is the supervising attorney of the firm’s EB-5 department. She specializes in EB-5 cases, including representation of investors, regional centers and projects, distressed projects, complex age-out cases, response to request for evidence, notice of intent to deny and notice of intent to revoke. Zhu supervises the filings of over 3,000 investor petitions that represent $1.5 billion in investments. Zhu has several years’ experience in corporate and securities laws primarily working with Chinese companies. Her experience includes reverse mergers, PIPEs, initial public offerings, follow-on public offerings and exchange act filings.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

USCIS’ standards of evidence are constantly changing and have become more stringent, presumably due to the general attitude of the current administration toward immigration, the long waiting line and the increased number of petitions. For example, the once-allowed practices such as single-intermediary currency exchange, bridge loan and minor investors are now resulting in a request for evidence. In addition, the EB-5 investor market is becoming more diversified. China is giving way to the rest of the world, given the long waiting line for Chinese applicants. Investors are also becoming more sophisticated and knowledgeable about EB-5.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Before joining Wolfsdorf Rosenthal, I had several years’ experience in corporate and securities laws, primarily representing Chinese companies in mergers, private offerings and IPOs. I am glad that I can take advantage of my securities law experience in my EB-5 immigration law practice. As our office represents thousands of EB-5 investors, as well as regional centers and projects, I strive to solve their problems, hand-hold them through difficult visa backlog situations, and help them become a U.S. permanent resident. Being an EB-5 lawyer is challenging yet rewarding.

EB5Investors.com Staff

EB5Investors.com Staff

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