USCIS Publishes List of Terminated EB-5 Regional Centers
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 17, 2017 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a list of 116 EB-5 Regional Centers that have had their participation in the Immigrant Investor Program terminated. As of June 5, 2017, there were 859 Regional Centers approved by USCIS.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program provides a path to permanent residence for certain eligible immigrant investors. To be eligible, immigrant investors must invest $1 million or more in a U.S. business that will eventually employ 10 or more American workers, directly or indirectly. The investment threshold is lowered to $500,000 if the immigrant invests in one of several Targeted Employment Areas, which are rural areas or areas with high unemployment. Applicants may invest directly, or they may pool their funds to invest in Regional Centers, which are third-party intermediaries. Regional Centers are entities that have been approved by USCIS to create projects for EB-5 investors.
“When 80+ percent of EB-5 Regional Center petitioners are from the People Republic of China, and there is a multi-year wait for a visa number before such persons are eligible to immigrate to the United States, together with a multi-year wait for USCIS EB-5 case adjudication, it stands to reason that these delays will lower interest levels in the EB-5 program in China,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas, Texas and Frisco, Texas immigration attorney with the firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “With lower demand comes increasing regional center inactivity resulting in a shrinking in the number of regional centers.”
The EB-5 program has emerged as an important source of funding for many major development projects, including hotels, restaurants, resorts, casinos, stadiums and multi-use developments. In 2015 and 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought enforcement actions against several EB-5 projects for misusing investors’ funds. The Immigrant Investor Visa Program was renewed on May 5, 2017 by President Trump and is currently extended through September 30, 2017.