COVID-19 AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

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What Do Recent Travel Bans Mean for Business Immigration Law?

On April 22, 2020, the White House released information regarding an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump. Proclamation 10014, the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, was enacted as an effort to combat the ever-growing number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States. However, for those in the construction industry who rely on workers from multinational backgrounds, this proclamation can be devastating. 

In order to keep your business running as smoothly as possible, it’s important to understand how Proclamation 10014 can affect your firm. Additionally, if you have any issues with employment immigration law, it is crucial to contact a Tampa business immigration lawyer as soon as possible. 

Related: 5 Reasons to Consult a Tampa Business Immigration Attorney

What Is Immigration Law?

Immigration law refers to the standards set up by the federal government for establishing who is permitted to enter the United States and for how long. Additionally, it governs the naturalization cycle for individuals who want to become U.S. residents. Finally, when foreign nationals enter without authorization, exceed their visit, or otherwise lose their legitimate status, immigration law determines how the detainment and expulsion procedures are to be completed.

With the help of experienced Tampa contractor lawyers, individuals who qualify may be able to obtain permanent residency, an EB-5 visa, and even citizenship. While the law provides a way for workers and investors to gain citizenship, the most common method through which foreign nationals gain legal status is family-based immigration.

Who Does the Executive Order Impact?

While you should always contact a Tampa employment immigration lawyer with any questions or concerns, it’s never a bad idea to have a basic understanding of who may be affected by the order.

  • Foreign nationals presently outside the US;
  • Who have Immigrant Visa applications pending for adjudication at US consulates abroad; AND
  • Who are not spouses or minor (under 21 and unmarried) children of US citizens; AND
  • Who are not immigrating to the US to work in a healthcare profession, or to perform medical research, or to perform other work “essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak,” or who are immigrating based on approved EB-5 (investor program) petitions, or who are immigrating through certain Special Immigrant programs, or who are the spouses and minor children of such foreign nationals accompanying their spouses/parents to the US

Who Is Not Impacted?

Just as it’s important to know who is impacted, it’s just as important to know to whom the order does not pertain when you contact a Tampa business immigration attorney.

  • Any foreign national currently in any stage of an immigration process other than the final, Immigrant Visa application stage (Form DS-260).
  • Lawful permanent residents
  • Foreign nationals pursuing lawful residency through “adjustment of status” from within the US
  • Spouse and minor children of US citizens
  • Refugees
  • Foreign nationals included in one or more of the above exceptions.
  • Foreign nationals with current nonimmigrant visas or pursuing new applications for nonimmigrant visas

A Tampa business immigration lawyer can help you determine if any of your employees fall into one or more of the categories listed above.  

Related: The State of Immigration in the U.S.

Foreign Investors

In today’s growing market, it’s not uncommon for construction firms to bring in foreign investors before expanding or beginning a new, large project. Unfortunately, with the travel ban in place, it means that a halt has been placed on any prospective investors immigrating to the United States. 

 

Under normal circumstances, a Tampa construction attorney will help guide your firm through the process of sponsoring a foreign investor for his/her EB-5 visa. There are a number of requirements needed in order for an investor to qualify for an EB-5 visa.

  • The business must be for-profit. The business could be a partnership, a holding company, a corporation, a joint venture, a business trust, or other public or privately- owned entity. The company can be completely new or a reorganization of an existing company; in which case, there must be a 40% increment in the net worth of the company or the number of employees.

 

  • 10 full-time jobs must be created for US citizens of foreigners legally authorized to work in the United States. In the event that the company had a loss of 20% of net worth in a given period, it may be considered a troubled company and be permitted to have preserved jobs counted as if they were new jobs.

 

  • The investor must meet the minimum contribution of capital of $1,000,000 in cash, equipment, or other tangible property. The exception is if the EB-5 visa is being granted for one of the reserved “targeted employment areas” or areas where the unemployment rate is well below the national average. In this case, the minimum is reduced to $500,000.

Once the Travel Ban is Lifted

Once the travel ban is lifted, it’s crucial that your employees comply with I-9 requirements. Furthermore, it’s important to sponsor the correct type of visa for your employees. A Tampa construction lawyer will help you understand what your employees need and how to provide them the necessary documentation to stay in the country during the project on which they are working. 

Cotney Construction Law’s experienced attorneys will provide sound legal advice to construction professionals at every level and can assist your firm with any immigration employment need. Not only do we advise our clients on legal matters, but we also provide a myriad of other valuable services for construction businesses, including contract review, employment law advice, and litigation and arbitration services. We also advocate for clients involved in licensing complaints, permitting issues, stop-work orders, business immigration, and more. 

If you would like to speak with a Tampa construction lawyer, contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.