Immigration has become a particularly controversial political topic over the past year or two, but immigrants form a critical part of our culture and our economy. Recent reports have further confirmed immigrants’ economic impact, both in New Jersey and nationwide. New Jersey is currently suffering a net population decline, as residents move elsewhere. Immigrants are making up for some of that loss. They are also starting new businesses at a considerable rate, which helps local economies and the state as a whole. Numerous immigration programs play a role in this, such as the EB-5 investor visa program and the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. While the forthcoming change in the White House is bringing significant uncertainty for immigrants, it is worth noting immigration’s economic benefits.
Congress established the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program to encourage investment, entrepreneurship, and job creation. It is available to immigrants who intend to invest a minimum amount in a “new commercial enterprise” in the U.S., which will create a minimum number of new jobs for U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5). According to the December 2016 Visa Bulletin, the processing of EB-5 visa petitions is current for everyone except individuals from mainland China.
At least 3,000 EB-5 visas each fiscal year must be for new commercial enterprises in “targeted employment areas” (TEAs), defined as either a “rural area” or an area with at least 150 percent of the national average unemployment rate. Id. at § 1153(b)(5)(B). The minimum investment amount to qualify for an EB-5 visa is currently $1 million. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(f)(1). For a TEA, the minimum investment is $500,000. Id. at § 204.6(f)(2). The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for “qualifying employees.” Id. at § 204.6(j)(4). A report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in September 2016 found that a substantial majority of recent EB-5 petitioners intended to invest in TEAs.
The DACA program allows undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children and who meet other criteria related to education and lack of criminal history to remain in the U.S. with work authorization for a defined period of time. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, people who qualify for DACA status tend to start new businesses at twice the rate of both the general population and the immigrant population in the U.S. DACA, the study found, has had a positive effect on both recipients’ earnings and the economy as a whole.
A survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found that New Jersey lost a net total of 17,000 people in 2015, as people left for other states and other countries. The actual loss, in gross terms, was about 227,000 people during that time. Immigrants accounted for about 30 percent of new residents moving into the state, with an estimated 62,000 in 2015.
Employment immigration attorney Samuel C. Berger represents immigrants who have made their homes in New York City and Northern New Jersey, prospective immigrants who want to come to this area, and families and employers that want to bring an immigrant to the U.S. Contact us today online, at (201) 587-1500, or at (212) 380-8117 to schedule a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced immigrants’ rights advocate.
More Blog Posts:
Immigrants Account for a Substantial Percentage of Business Startups in New Jersey and Around the Country, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, April 28, 2016
Several Recent Events Relating to Immigrant Visas Could Affect New Jersey Immigrants and Employers, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, November 12, 2015
EB-5 Investor Visa Program Scrutinized by Financial and National Security Regulators, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, September 5, 2013