Thursday, July 26, 2012

USCIS releases EB-5 statistics

Statistics are in for the third quarter of this federal fiscal year.
USCIS has approved 3,002 I-526 petitions (for the conditional green card) and has 1,154 pending.  The approval rate is 79 percent.
The agency has approved 639 I-829 petitions (for the permanent green card) for an approval rate of 84 percent.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New EB-5 Program office to be created

A new office will be created to oversee the EB-5 Program, according to an announcement on July 19 by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayokas.
Also, a review board will be created by the end of July, consisting of two supervisory immigration service officers and an economist, to examine regional center applications recommended for denial, with applicants having the opportunity to meet with the board members in person.
These are major positive developments for the EB-5 Program, which has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past few years.
The new, dedicated EB-5 Program office will be led by a Chief of Immigrant Investor Programs.  Mayorkas said the job was posted July 19, and that he's looking for someone who has "significant experience in the business world and will assume responsibility for ensuring that the program is administered efficiently, with integrity, with predictability, and with an understanding of today's business realities."
"We understand," he wrote in the announcement to EB-5 stakeholders, "that more work needs to be done to further improve our administration of the EB-5 Program."
This is all good, but we'll see.  As my father used to say, "Don't listen to what people say; watch what they do."
The EB-5 Program enjoyed a brief period of clarity and certainty in 2005 when it was led for almost four years by a former Commerce Department employee.  Let us pray that USCIS hires someone who can understand the EB-5 Program.  Stakeholder meetings, conferences, conference calls, and requests for additional evidence make it abundantly clear that there are wide gulfs in levels of understanding of the EB-5
Program generally, and regional centers and regional center investment projects specifically, among USCIS employees at the California Service Center.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Senators should support permanent EB-5 Program

Please encourage your U.S. senators to vote for S. 3245, which was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy and ranking member Senator Charles Grassley.  Cosponsors include Senators Conrad, Hatch, Kohl, Lee, Rubio, and Schumer.

The bill would make permanent four existing visa programs due to "sunset" on September 30 -- the EB-5 Regional Center Program, CONRAD30, E-Verify, and religious workers.

This will have the very positive effect of eliminating uncertainty that Congress supports these important visa programs.