EB-5 Update: Notes from the January 23, 2012 Quarterly Engagement

Statistics shared by USCIS confirm phenomenal growth of the EB-5 program. The CSC adjudications unit has quadrupled in size during the past year, and the agency reports ongoing improvements in workflow.
USCIS acknowledged that a large number of Regional Center applications are being held in abeyance pending resolution of “an issue with the economic analysis.” The agency has been consulting with a contract economist and hopes to have that issue resolved within the next few weeks, after which applicants will begin to see decisions, RFE’s or denials.
The agency’s comments revealed no clear resolution on such questions as under what circumstances an employer will be provided the opportunity to replace a nonqualifying worker with a qualifying worker in response to an RFE, under what circumstances identical project documentation will be given deference in I-526 cases where bridge financing is used, and under what circumstances real estate-based investments may be used as part of a portfolio of investments.
There will be several new developments to watch for in the coming quarter. EB-5 processing times will be reported separately from the general CSC report and will be made available on the USCIS website. The new processing time reports will reportedly include more transparency. Also, summarized data from the I-924A process will also be published on the USCIS website. USCIS is compiling information on the most common reasons for denial of an I-924 and an I-829 and may make those available at the next stakeholder meeting. Finally, the revised I-924 form is in development and will be published for notice and comment. The new form will lay out standards for “shovel ready projects.”

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