The federal government recently announced several changes to U.S. immigration legislation. Two key topics involve increased enforcement efforts of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and changes in request for prevailing wage procedures. 

Preparing for an I-9 Audit or Inspection
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has significantly increased its enforcement
efforts with respect to undocumented workers and Form I-9 recordkeeping. Employers must be prepared to quickly and effectively respond to an ICE-issued Notice of Inspection (NOI). ICE may review the employer’s files in as few as three days from the time the NOI is issued. Often enough, a prompt and complete response to the ICE office handling the investigation will end or significantly curtail their inquiry. In any event, a cooperative employer is far less likely to face fines or sanctioning. With that in mind, employers can prepare themselves for responding to a NOI by ensuring the availability of the following records:

Continue Reading Yes, The U.S. Immigration Laws Apply to the Real Estate Industry

Recently, the news about the $300 billion China Investment Corp. (“CIC”) invested an additional $500 million in Blackstone’s Fund-of-Funds unit and earmarked about $800 million for investing in a Morgan Stanley Global Property Fund has stirred up another round of excited discussions about China’s money pouring into the U.S. Lately, the Wall Street Journal reported that

In the past 20 years or so, China’s real estate market has experienced phenomenal growth. Hundreds of skyscrapers bursted into the sky during the two decades and many more are coming. This dramatically changed the landscape of many cities in China. All these skyscrapers and other real estate developments are built on a unique land ownership system. The system is still in its primary state of formation, thus uncertainties exist in many crucial areas. In 2007, the first Property Law of People’s Republic of China was enacted and clarified some of the uncertainties but it is far from eliminating them all. Many land ownership issues are still left undefined. The following is an overview of some aspects of China’s unique system. 

In China a private party cannot “own” land. All land is either “owned” by the State or by the Collectives. The State owns most of urban area land (i.e. commercial land) and the Collectives are the owners of most rural land (i.e. farm land). Under the current system, even though the land itself can not be transferred, the State may pass the right to use its land to private parties through the granting of “Granted Land Use Right” (“GLUR”) or “Allocated Land Use Right” (“ALUR”). In contrast, Collectives are not allowed to transfer the use right of the land they own. Collectives’ land must be converted from Collective ownership into State ownership before the use right of the land can be transferred. There are efforts, including legislative and administrative, to “free” the land owned by Collectives.  The general purpose behind these efforts is to give farmers more “property right” to energize the rural economy in China. Continue Reading Introduction to China’s Real Estate Ownership System