EB5INVESTORS.COM 55 the top schools in the United States, I will surely have no difficulty in landing my dream job. But I was wrong. Though I had almost no issues getting i nter v ie w s a nd adv a nc i ng to se cond a nd t h i rd rounds, I would then be asked the dreaded question: whether or not I had a permit to work in the United States. I would answer that I did not have a work permit and expected that my prospective employer would sponsor me. I remember how the face of the interviewer would change at that moment. I would not hear from them again until the rejection letter would arrive in my mailbox. They usually would let me know that, even though they thought I was talented and would most likely be an asset for their firm, the position they were interviewing for would necessitate a different skillset. Deep down, I knew what that skillset was called: “a green card.” CHANGING OF THE TIMES Let’s not forget, that was the mid-eighties, and, unlike today, there were no quotas for the H-1B visa. All that the employers had to do was to accept me to work on the OPT, otherwise known as Optional Practical Training and switch my status to H-1B as soon as possible. 1 Then, they would move toward the labor certification procedure by collecting data of unique abilities that I had – abilities that were not immediately available with other potential employees who already had work authorization. I remember interviewing in one of the big American banks on Wall Street. The interviewer noticed that I was a foreign student from the Middle East. He told me that they would be delighted to hire me, send me back to my home country, and in 10 years there would be a chance, greater than zero percent, that I could come back and work in New York in the same firm. I was polite and did not answer him. Back then there was no EB-5 program. Even if I had had the financial means, I would not have been able to take advantage of this wonderful program that exists today. Thankfully, in the end, I did find an employer who believed in my talent and was willing to sponsor me from the H-1B all the way to the green card. Because of my rare success story, I’ve become very passionate about this topic. I think about all the international students ...applying for the EB-5 early on so that adjustment of status can be achieved before any unlawful days are accrued is of utmost importance today. ” Aside from family-based “ immigration, EB-5 is most likely the fastest option of getting U.S. permanent residence status. who, upon graduation, do not have green cards. Even if they graduate from one of the best universities in the United States, they are often forced to return to their home country before having a chance to get practical training for a job in their area of specialization. Foreign students with green cards, on the other hand, have a much greater advantage over those who do not. OPT is very limited in terms of its duration. Companies also do not typically want to hire and train recent graduates only to see them leave after a year or two. Students desperate to get a job in order to utilize their OPT option oftentimes settle for jobs that are not appropriate with their academic experience and the area of expertise in which they are seeking to be trained in. Green card holders can choose from among job offers they receive in their field in line with their career development goals and academic standing. This will enable them to make decisions based on their desired position, salary and geographic location. Students who do not have green cards unfortunately do not have this option. Even innovative ideas such as the Obama Era’s “start-up visas” to encourage foreign entrepreneurship was cancelled by the Trump Administration. 2, 3 PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS HOW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS CAN EMBARK ON THEIR VISA JOURNEY & AVOID PITFALLS ALONG THE WAY Why is EB-5 a better choice than trying to obtain an H-1B or E-2 visa? H-1B denials and request for evidence (RFEs), delays in processing times have all increased in an alarming rate in the current political climate and resulting immigration regime. 4 Aside from family-based immigration, EB-5 is most likely the fastest option of getting U.S. permanent residence status. 5 Each countr y can send 700 applications annually before retrogression, also called quota backlogs, could become a problem. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened with applicants born in mainland China and, to some extent, to those born in Vietnam. There has recently been some talk, that applicants born in India may potentially face retrogression soon. Candidates from other countries, however, have no such worries at the moment.