Posts Tagged ‘EB-5 Visa Program’
By Renata Castro
The Department of State, issued on January 29, 2014, a 60-day notice period for a proposed information collection, where any interested individual or organization are welcome to submit comments, or suggestions on the current Electronic Application for Immigration Visa and Alien Registration form, or DS-260.
This is a particularly important form for EB-5 investors who seeking their permanent residency while outside the United States. After the I-526 petition is approved, the EB-5 investor and his or her family would then file individual forms DS-260 which would lead them to consular processing of their EB-5 application.
Comments on form DS-260 will be accepted until March 31, 2014, and can be submitted as instructed below:
- The DS Form number must be included, as well as the collection title, and the OMB control number in the email.
On the web
- The Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) can be accessed by visiting www.regulations.gov. Search for Public Notice 8612 in the search bar.
More information can be found here.
Industry Leader and EB-5 Attorney Ron Klasko recently reported that for 2014 USCIS intends to draft EB-5 regulations covering differences between stand alone and Regional Center EB-5s; authority to verify job creation; as well as the authority to deny, terminate or revoke Regional Centers.
USCIS will also seek legislative reform this year including expanded authority to deny, terminate or revoke a Regional Center for reasons of national security, and authority to oversee job-creating enterprises, wrote Mr. Klasko.
USCIS is also conducting security checks for the first time starting this year on both Regional Centers and their executives and referring substantial numbers of EB-5 matters to its interagency enforcement partners: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Treasury and others within the intelligence community.
“The EB-5 regulations are woefully in need of change – they are actually inconsistent with the statute in parts and completely disregarded in other parts,” said Mr. Klasko. USCIS expects to have regulations drafted by August, 2014. However, Mr. Klasko urges us not to hold our breaths. “My experience is that nine months in government time is likely to be far longer in real time,” he said. He also committed his team to attempting to ensure that the USCIS’s activities are collaborative processes.
For more on upcoming changes to EB-5 or information on the Eb-5 program please contact Exclusive visas. An Exclusive Visas EB-5 Consultant explaining how the program works generally and specifically. Exclusive Visas brings together all the elements of the program, manages timelines, and gives the client the broadest likelihood of success.
From petitioning the USCIS to choosing a credible project to invest in, Exclusive Visas will see to it that the investor has all the information necessary to make the best of the EB-5 opportunity.
Click Here to Contact an Exclusive Visas EB-5 Consultant Now
By Robert C. Divine, in the Congress Blog Feed “The Hills”, republished in its entirety.
Senate consideration, and subsequent approval, of USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas’ nomination to a higher position at the Department of Homeland Security gave rise to increasingly hyperbolic innuendo about the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program. As someone who served in senior positions at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and represents a variety of program stakeholders, I’d like to set the record straight about the EB-5 program — separate and apart from the nomination, which I personally support.
Under EB-5, a program created by Congress with broad bipartisan support, foreign nationals who invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000 dollars in approved U.S. businesses are eligible for permanent residency if the U.S. government confirms that their investment created at least 10 American jobs. A comprehensive peer-reviewed economic study found that, from 2010-2011, EB-5 investments contributed $2.2 billion to U.S. GDP and supported over 28,000 jobs – at no cost to taxpayers. Preliminary 2012 data shows continued growth, with the amount invested topping $2.5 billion and over 33,000 jobs supported.
Look behind that data and you see that EB-5 capital has been a critical source of funds for name-brand projects like California’s San Bernardino Airport and adjacent business development and the booming Philadelphia Navy Yard. Over the last five years, with commercial lending at a standstill, EB-5 capital filled the gap to fund nearly every major U.S. hotel project , as well as smaller, job-creating projects ranging from senior housing in Washington State and Florida, to a pioneering charter school focused on health care training in upstate New York.
Many EB-5 Regional Centers, which account for more than 95 percent of EB-5 capital and are subject to government approval and oversight, work closely with regional economic development agencies to direct funds to high-impact projects. In fact, a number of Regional Centers are partnerships with municipal governments. And, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently endorsed permanent authorization of the regional center program, noting that EB-5 has become a vital source of urban redevelopment funds.
Contrary to recent criticism, the program requires rigorous vetting to ensure that investors do not pose either a law enforcement or national security threat before they are granted a visa. This starts with USCIS scouring the path of funds flowing into U.S. investments, tracing the money back to the source to ensure that it was earned legally.
This vetting is on top of background screenings required by USCIS and the State Department, which are the same for EB-5 investors as for applicants in any other visa category. Every immigrant in every family and employment based category, including EB-5, completes the same visa or adjustment of status application, providing information that the U.S. government has long determined to be sufficient.
Some applicants will receive greater scrutiny, and individuals deemed to be a danger to the United States can and should be found inadmissible – whatever the visa category.
In fact, in my view having served as chief counsel and acting director of USCIS, EB-5 investors and their families, which account for only 7 percent of employment-based visas and 1 percent of permanent visas overall, are more carefully scrutinized than applicants in other visa categories. From a national security standpoint, detailed proof of a legal source and path of funds is more meaningful evidence than the sponsorship of a family member or a prospective employer, educational credentials or work history.
There is no doubt that this is a complex program requiring an equally complex and time-consuming analysis and approval process. Recognizing this, USCIS has made significant operational changes. A new, dedicated program office – now led by a former director of the Treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network – opened in May, staffed by more than 20 economists along with experts in business, immigration, fraud detection and national security. Interagency cooperation among USCIS, the SEC, FBI, and U.S. intelligence agencies related to reviewing EB-5 applications is the strongest I’ve seen and critical to addressing national security concerns.
These are the facts.
Simply put, the EB-5 program is complex, and the agency has taken commensurate steps to increase its expertise and enhance its systems. Absolutely, the agencies charged with issuing visas must be vigilant against security threats, and EB-5 is no exception.
And, yes, some projects will fail. By law, this program is neither a fast-track nor a guarantee. EB-5 offerings are subject to the same problems that plague other investment vehicles – bad luck, poor planning or execution, and, in some circumstances, misrepresentation. In these cases, investment funds are lost as is immigration status –both risks that the law requires, and all U.S. anti-fraud and securities laws apply.
Concern over investment failure and immigration security, or fundamental misunderstandings about a complicated program, should not throw a cloud over a program that fundamentally is working as intended.
Divine is an immigration attorney at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, who served as chief counsel and acting director of USCIS during the Bush Administration. He is the Vice President of the Association to Invest in the USA (IIUSA), a trade group representing EB-5 Regional Centers.
The office of The Inspector General released a memo addressed to Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, on the IG’s general inquiry into the EB-5 program.
The report contains four recommendations aimed at improving the EB-5 Regional Center program.
To read the document, click here.
By Renata Castro
Chinese influence is no stranger to several areas of the United States such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle, but recently more areas are putting their best foot forward to attract Chinese visitors, and most importantly, Chinese EB-5 investors.
Florida has become an up and coming destination for Chinese visitors looking for some fun in the sun, theme park action at places such as Disney World and Universal Studios parks in Orlando. Aside from the expected activities of any Florida tourists, Chinese visitors have their eyes on a different prize – casinos.
In one of the latest moves toward attracting Chinese visitors to Florida, Seminole casinos have introduced Asia’s hottest slot machines to their casino locations. Fa-Fa-Fa, which means Richer, Richer, Richer in mandarin, is a wildly popular slot machine featuring Asian symbols of prosperity. Turtles, gongs, fish and phoenix illustrate this slot machine that is one of the most prevalent ones in Macau. With jackpots of US$ 150,000 minimum, Seminole gaming executive hope to attract to Florida what EB-5 projects have been doing for a while now – Chinese wealth.
The EB-5 program, which allows foreign investors to become US permanent residents through a passive investment of US$ 500,000 that fulfills certain USCIS requirements, has been China’s ultimate indulgence, allowing the nouveau riche of the growing economy to provide their offspring with an expedited path towards the American dream.
The EB-5 program benefits the investor, his or her spouse and any children under the age of 21 at the time the EB-5 petition is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The program is open to citizens of any nation, but Chinese nationals filed over 60% of I-526 petitions in recent reports issued by USCIS.
Given current currency restrictions imposed by the Chinese government, EB-5 investors using funds from China are particularly concerned over the proper procedures to be followed in the EB-5 process, as source of funds is one of the most important prongs of the eligibility test performed by USCIS when granting green cards.
Exclusive Visas has successfully worked with several EB-5 investors from China in obtaining their green card. Contact Exclusive Visas for more information on the EB-5 program.