EB5 Investors Magazine "Top 25 Awards Edition" Volume 8 Issue 1 | Page 31

TOP IMMIGRATION AT TORNEYS IGNACIO DONOSO IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE F ounder and Managing Partner of Donoso & Partners, LLC, Donoso is a renowned business immigration lawyer for the United States and Canada. Donoso’s c a r e e r s p a n s ove r 2 0 ye a r s as a lawyer during which he advised thousands of clients to successfully navigate the visa systems of the U.S. and Canada. Donoso has been recognized among the Top 25 immigration attorneys in the U.S. for entrepreneur visas in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on immigration law. HOW DO YOU THINK THE EB-5 PROGRAM SHOULD BE REFORMED? It is likely that the EB-5 regional center will be renewed via new legislation, which extends the program for a longer duration (i.e., 5 years), or a temporary extension, which provides Congress with additional time to pass more comprehensive legislation. Petitions filed before this point in time will likely be grandfathered into current regulations that govern the program. If, for any reason, the EB-5 regional center program temporarily stops, USCIS would hold all filed petitions in abeyance until the program is extended again. Having a pending case will be positive in terms of being grandfathered into the current program (and regulations). WHAT NEW TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? The changes to the EB-5 program implemented in November 2019 along with the challenges presented due to the pandemic resulted in many wealthy foreign nationals slowing down the process, and waiting for the market to adjust before taking the leap. In this year, we have seen an increase in interest in the EB-5 program in recent months. Many investors are moving forward, given the likelihood that doing so will allow ones’ I-526 to begin the adjudication timeline and take advantage of good projects that have limited spots available...many of the consulates have begun regular processing of EB-5 visas and continue to expand as resources allow. CHAD ELLSWORTH IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE C had Ellsworth is a partner at Fragomen’s New York office. Ellsworth has been with the firm for more than 15 years. Ellsworth advises high-net-worth individuals in their immigration-related investments and liaises with private clients to address their global entrepreneurial or investor citizenship or residency immigration needs. Ellsworth also advises clients on a variety of global immigration matters with an emphasis on the establishment and improvement of compliant global mobility programs. He was named among the Top 25 Immigration Attorneys by EB5 Investors Magazine in 2017. Ellsworth earned his Juris Doctor from Tulane University School of Law. HOW DO YOU THINK THE EB-5 PROGRAM SHOULD BE REFORMED? My clients are hopeful that the regional center program will be made permanent, with additional immigrant visa numbers made available for actual EB-5 investors. The current policy of counting dependents towards the annual 10,000 cap prejudices all EB-5 investors, but particularly those from mainland China and Vietnam, who currently face significant backlogs. Investors are generally looking for more predictability from USCIS, including a more permanent timing commitment for the program, rather than short-term program renewals. This is particularly important given the significant cost and risk involved to each applicant. WHAT NEW TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY? Many potential investors have been on the sidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, given the inability to travel internationally, coupled with the difficulties associated with conducting due diligence remotely. As international travel restrictions are slowly lifted, there is renewed interest in the EB-5 Program as investors better understand the benefits of secondary citizenship and residency that was so critical to many during the global pandemic. Investors are now focused on the regional center program’s June 2021 renewal, and concerned about escrow agreement terms in the unlikely event the program is not extended. EB5INVESTORS.COM 31