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An EB-5 Engagement with USCIS Economists announced for June 22, 2012

Engagement with Director Mayorkas and USCIS Economists
Friday, June 22, 2012, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (Eastern)
Tomich Conference Center
111 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20529

See the below link for the full announcement and how to participate:

http://eb-5center.com/files/USCIS_Invitation_EB-5_Economist_Engagement.pdf

At this EB-5 Engagement, recently-hired USCIS economists will probably be answering many questions from EB-5 stakeholders and other economists in private practice about how USCIS believes the jobs should be counted.

[Q] Can I apply for a regional center designation in an area where there already are several approved regional centers?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of regional centers USCIS can approve within a state or city. Actually, in our opinion, USCIS should set a limit on the number of regional centers they can approve every year, due to budget and staff constaints.

Status on EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program Extension

The bottom line is this. There is some chance that this Program may be permanently authorized, but in all likelihood, the Program will be extended 3 years. When? Probably one or two weeks before the sunset deadline date of September 30, 2012.

If we were a betting man, we would bet as follows:

Extension of 3 years: 70%

Extension of 2 years: 10%

Made permanent: 20%

Our attitude on this is: Make it permanent or get rid of it. The Congress should make it permanent, so that they don't have to keep wasting time extending it. Don't they have more important things to do? Oh yeah, winning the election.

[HOT] Article on the Current USCIS Trend In Adjudicating I-829s

Written by: Stephen Yale-Loehr, Robert C. Divine, and Sonia Sujanani. Click the below link to read this educational article in its entirety.

* Posted here at the request of Stephen Yale-Loehr and upon our determination that the article is helpful.

http://eb-5center.com/files/USCIS_I-829_EB5_Trends.doc

Introduction

In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Invest In the USA (IIUSA), the trade association of EB-5 immigrant investor regional centers, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) delivered 895 pages of heavily redacted I-829 requests for evidence (RFEs) and denials. In total, USCIS released parts of 167 I-829 RFEs and denials ranging from 2008 to early 2011. Most of the responses are from 2009 . . .

[HOT] Where is the long-promised EB-5 FAQ in the USCIS site?

Over one year ago, USCIS promised to develop and upload EB-5 FAQ in its EB-5 link site at www.uscis.gov, but to date, there is no such information. And still, interested people cannot obtain much needed information directly form USCIS itself.

Go here at www.uscis.gov/eb-5centers and see if you notice "EB-5 FAQ" anywhere. Nothing.

[HOT] Can direct individual (non-regional center) EB-5 case take credit for indirect jobs?

No, if you try doing so, your I-526 gets denied. Believe it or not, some inexperienced people set up a non-RC EB-5 project and tried to count indirect jobs, leading to USCIS denials.

Estimates of Job Creation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Look at the White House's own job creation estimates. "Estimates of Job Creation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," Executive Office of The President Council Of Economic Advisers, May, 2009.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/Estimate-of-Job-Creation

This goes to show you that the job estimates studies being submitted by the EB-5 regional center operators are not different from those that are being submitted by the U.S. government.

[HOT] Bipartisan Bill Introduced by Senator Leahy To Permanently Authorize EB-5 Pilot Program

What does below mean? I would say 3 years extension for sure and a decent chance at a permanent authorization of the EB-5 Pilot Program.

Leahy Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Permanently Authorize Job-Creating Foreign Investment Program

Bipartisan Bill Will Extend EB-5 Program Bringing Jobs, Investment To Vermont

May 24, 2012

WASHINGTON (Thursday, May 24, 2012) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation Thursday to make permanent the charter for a successful, job-creating immigrant visa program that has brought economic development and job growth to Vermont since 1997.

[HOT] A good article on tenant-occupancy issue

Note however that USCIS' position or counter-argument to the underlying main argument of the below article would be that their new position is not a change in the rule-making but a clarification, and therefore, they are not in violation of the APA. Some cynical EB-5 practitioners have suggested that the tactic of USCIS is to intentionally make the EB-5 policies unclear so that people will have a hard time suing and winning federal lawsuits filed against USCIS. Not a bad idea. :)

http://www.nationofimmigrators.com/investor-immigration/immigration-agen...

[HOT] Article on 10 ways to make the EB-5 Program Work

See below link:

http://ailaleadershipblog.org/2012/05/22/top-10-ways-to-make-the-immigra...

I guess the article implies that the EB-5 Program is not working very well currently.

[HOT] Congress should discontinue the 10 jobs requirement for EB-5 cases

More I gain experience and understand the EB-5 requirements and the real-world issues related to these EB-5 requirements, the more I am convinced that the 10 jobs (new full-time positions) creation requirement is an unrealistic and short-sighted requirement that should be discontinued immediately. [Note this would require the Congress to change the EB-5 law, since USCIS does not have the authority to change the statutory requirement; therefore, I wish to make it clear that my complaint is not with USCIS but with the short-sighted Congress in this matter.] My arguments for the discontinuance by the Congress is as follows:

[Q] What is the definition of "filed" date for the purpose of timely filing a petition or application to USCIS?

Under 8 CFR 103.2(a)(7), the “receipt date” is the date on which the properly completed petition or application was actually received by USCIS, accompanied by the required filing fee.

2012/03/08 -- Operational Guidance on EB-5 Adjudications Involving Tenant Occupancy Methodology

Due to many complaints from stakeholders, USCIS today issued its Operational Guidance on Tenant Occupancy Methodology to try clarify the deference USCIS examiners should give to prior adjudications.

http://eb-5center.com/files/Tenant%20Occupancy%20Guidance%20-%20FINAL%20...

What if USCIS approved some I-526s for a regional center based EB-5 project, will they approve other I-526s?

How about those regional centers which were designated without going through the I-924 designation procedure?

What if the regional center application did not contain a specifically-identified project but a hypothetical or exemplar project whose parameters did not change?

[HOT] [Q] Can I and my family still get LPR status through an approved I-130 or I-140 even after I get CPR status?

[Q] Assume my family and I obtain CPR status through an EB-5 case, but we have an approved I-130 or I-140 whose priority date is not yet current. If the priority date becomes current, can we adjust at that time and obtain LPR status even though we are in CPR status?

Yes, because obtaining CPR status through an EB-5 case does not make the rights associated with an approved I-130 or I-140 immigrant petition disappear. You might have to submit a form giving up your CPR status though before you can be accorded LPR status via I-485 or IV consular processing based on an approved I-130 or I-140 immigrant petition.

[HOT] [Q] What is your take on the USCIS' recently-announced position on the "tenant-occupancy" jobs?

USCIS is saying that their newly-hired economists and examiners want more explanations and justifications from the regional center operators and/or petitioners on why tenants' employees should be counted, and that this request for additional explanations or justifications is not a change in USCIS policy but just a request for more details.