This afternoon, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas hosted a small group discussion regarding ongoing concerns with the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, as part of his new Conversations with the Director initiative. Among the 25 in-person attendees was Ed Carroll, representing the interests of this firm’s clients.
Director Mayorkas outlined an ongoing agenda of improvements to the EB-5 program, including the hiring of economists and business analysts in an effort to bring real-world insight into EB-5 case processing. The business analysts have been hired and will be involved in the EB-5 unit’s operations “within 2-3 weeks,” and applications for the economist positions are under review.
Attendees raised several key issues of ongoing concern to participants in the EB-5 program, including:
– Reliance on state TEA designations;
– Clarification of policy regarding use of investor funds to pay off bridge financing;
– The locus of authority for policymaking;
– Alternatives for ameliorating the “age-out” problem in the event of a “material change”; and
– Multiple-project venture capital funds as EB-5 commercial enterprises.
Director Mayorkas listened attentively to participants’ comments and expressed a commitment to refining the operation of the EB-5 program in ways that removed agency-related barriers to investor confidence while retaining the integrity of the system. “Our goal,” he said, “is to move with speed and predictability sufficient to remove any negative influence” on investor participation.
We look forward to more tomorrow during the agency’s Quarterly Engagement.
In a much anticipated move, USCIS announced today that it has commenced offering direct email access with I-924 adjudicators for applicants with currently pending I-924 applications. The Form I-924 is used to secure designation as an approved Regional Center for participation in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.
In connection with the new procedure, the agency has assigned a “unique identifier” to each proposed or existing Regional Center with a currently pending application, and it indicates it will assign such a unique identifier in connection with new I-924 applications as they are filed. Applicants and their counsel (provided counsel’s G-28 includes an email address) are instructed to use the unique identifier, along with the I-924 application receipt number and the name of the Regional Center, when contacting the new email address “to discuss issues” relating to their pending applications. USCIS adjudicators may use this e-mail procedure to informally ask questions of applicants. The agency’s announcement clarifies that the procedure is intended to supplement, but not replace, the standard RFE/NOID process.
To see the full text of the USCIS announcement in Q & A format, click here.