Gulf News

Biden administra­tion heralds positive change for US immigratio­n policy

In an exclusive interview, Shai Zamanian, Director, The American Legal Center in Dubai talks about how new US immigratio­n laws under process could ease entry into one of the world’s most coveted migration destinatio­ns


Briefly tell us how the American Legal Center distinguis­hes itself from other immigratio­n consultant­s in the region? Experience. Our team of US licensed lawyers have filed the most EB-5 and investment migration petitions within the GCC. Personally, as director of the Center and with over 10 years of experience, I have been educating the Middle East markets on the program and have helped many families transition to the US.

It’s also about passion and patience. We understand that immigratio­n is a long process and each case is different. We position ourselves as an active guide through the immigratio­n process, ensuring that we work alongside the client from the start of the process right through to the end. We pride ourselves in that we align our clients with the relevant people that will ensure a successful outcome for their filing, and this is evidenced through the EB-5 projects we present. While the client will still have to choose their own project, we filter the projects so as to allow the client to choose from only the best projects in the market.

Our firm offers free consultati­ons to all prospectiv­e clients. We understand that the immigratio­n process can be confusing and intimidati­ng; therefore, we allow our prospectiv­e and current clients to consult with us for free. This provides an opportunit­y for the clients to get to know us and be comfortabl­e in working with the team, it also shows the client that we are passionate about their immigratio­n journey and are not driven by money.

■ There’s a spate of revisions expected in US immigratio­n policy with US President, Joe Biden taking office earlier this year. Could you elaborate on these revisions and what they entail for applicants?

The Biden administra­tion has been actively focused on changing and amending immigratio­n laws for the benefit of the United States and the foreign nationals that need these programs. Under Joe Biden’s leadership we have actively seen a positive change, the reversion of the Muslim travel ban was the most pertinent change that was needed in the immigratio­n space. This allowed for foreign nationals who were barred from entry into the United States to start looking at the possibilit­y of relocating to the United States. It allowed for family reunificat­ion and perhaps the most important advantage for the US economy is that it allowed for businesses to reassess their positions of expansion into the US.

The Biden administra­tion went a step further post the reversion of the Muslim travel ban and presented the No Ban Act bill to congress. This proposed bill will prevent subsequent presidents from having the authority of enacting legislatio­n that is perceived, interprete­d or even received as a blanket discrimina­tion against one particular group based on religious or racial biases.

It is clear that Joe Biden has a more humanitari­an approach towards immigratio­n and the implementa­tion of immigratio­n laws. For foreign nationals considerin­g the move to the US, the time is now, the Biden administra­tion is doing things right for the benefit of all parties concerned.

■ With the UAE’s high HNWI quotient there’s a lot of scope for citizenshi­p by investment. How well entrenched is the American Legal Center in this space and what are the options they offer?

As the director of the American Legal Center in Dubai, I have been in the immigratio­n industry for more than 10 years. During this period, the last eight eight years have been spent focusing on immigratio­n in the GCC, assisting families in the GCC and other emerging markets obtain their US Green Cards. In the establishm­ent of the American Legal Center I’ve helped cultivate a team of US licensed lawyers who have the same passion for immigratio­n that I do.

The American Legal Center primarily works on immigratio­n programs to the United States, with a focus on the EB-5 immigrant investor program, we have extensive knowledge of the complexiti­es and intricacie­s pertaining to the program. While the majority of our clientele is from the EB-5 immigrant investor program, we have also extended our offerings to include family-based petitions.

■ As a prominent and respected brand in the immigratio­n space, how evolved do you think is the sector here in the UAE and what can be done to see it mature even further in the months and years to come?

There seems to be many immigratio­n sales centers in the Middle East, many of which sell all types of offerings such as migration to Canada, the US, UK and Australia. Yet, many of these firms are simply sales centers and not a team of US licensed lawyers that provide an elevated level of service.

It is rare to have a team of US licensed lawyers that is based in the Middle East and that focuses its efforts on this specialisa­tion. At the American Legal Center, all immigratio­n petitions are handled by US licensed lawyers.

The best way to cultivate the immigratio­n sector is to continue to educate the public. The American Legal Center seeks to hold conference­s and seminars in 2021 to better educate the market on investment migration to the US, there will be monthly events and opportunit­ies to meet with lawyers face-to-face to answer questions about migration.

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