Washington Updates (new draft bill), New Form I-526, RC list updates

Washington Updates
It’s still not clear what will happen in the next couple weeks before the next regional center program sunset date on April 28, and whether we’re likely to see EB-5 program changes first from legislation or from new regulations. In an advocacy update sent to members last week, IIUSA noted that the appropriations package to fund the government past April 28 is likely to be larger than a continuing resolution. Thus it could be a vehicle for EB-5 legislative reform, were any reform proposals ready. Right now there are three active bills – two that would terminate EB-5 entirely, and Rand Paul’s rosy wish list of improvements. Yesterday EB-5 Insights reported that the Senate Legislative Council is circulating another staff discussion draft of EB-5 reform legislation, and speculates that the RC program may get a short-term extension of a few weeks (with government funding) while Congress works out other appropriations details. I’ve added the staff draft dated 4/15/2017 to my Bill Comparison Table and updated my TEA Incentive Summary for reference. (5/11/2017 update: I’ve now revised the TEA Incentive Summary.) The new draft is basically the same document (with a few changes) as the 12/2/2016 staff discussion draft, which in turn was based on the Goodlatte/Conyers legislation from 09/2016. We shall see whether it goes anywhere this time around.
Meanwhile, the comment period on revised regulations closed last Tuesday, with 33 published comments on USCIS-2016-0008 and 289 published comments on USCIS-2016-0006. I haven’t had time to read everything yet, but will report back when I’ve gathered a sense of the message USCIS is receiving from such comments as people bothered to make. It may also be significant that the new appointee for DHS head, Lee Francis Cissna, has spent much of the last few years working on immigration issues, including on EB-5 at Chairman Grassley’s office (according to IIUSA).

New Form I-526
There’s a new edition of the Form I-526, which everyone must use starting June 9, 2017. Wolfsdorf Rosenthal and EB-5 Insights discuss what’s new in this version of the form.

Petition Processing
The new IPO processing times report does not look good, with the “processing petitions as of date” date having regressed for every category (back almost a week for I-829, back nearly 3 weeks for I-526, and back nearly 5 weeks for I-924). If you’re new to this blog, here’s a link to a post with everything I know about interpreting processing time reports.
Also, a sharp-eyed reader pointed out to me that the number of pending I-526 petitions that USCIS reports every year does not, as one would expect, equal the number of pending petitions at previous year-end plus current-year receipts minus current-year approvals and denials. (The quarterly numbers don’t add up either.) Anyone know why this is so? If not, I’m submitting a question for the next stakeholder meeting.

Regional Center List Changes
Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List, 04/03/2017 to 04/17/2017

  • Atlas Regional Center, LLC (California)
  • Hawaiian Palms Regional Center (Hawaii)
  • Hope Investment Regional Center (California)
  • Washington Free Life (Washington)

New Terminations

  • Leaf Fischer Investment Group, LLC (Florida) Terminated 3/6/2017
  • Idaho Global Investment Center, LLC (Idaho) Terminated 3/6/2017
  • FreeMind Films Regional Center (California) Terminated 3/15/2017
  • Green Card Gateway Regional Center (Illinois) Terminated 3/30/2017
  • Florida Gateway Regional Center, LLC (Florida) Terminated 4/12/2017

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Lucid Professional Writing provides writing and editing services for businesses and scholars, and specializes in assisting clients to prepare business plans for filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

5 Responses to Washington Updates (new draft bill), New Form I-526, RC list updates

  1. Investor says:

    On your TEA incentive summery, you said “visa set asides” are unpopular and may be taken down in the negotiation. How likely will that happen? If this provision is enacted, does that mean that current Chinese investors who invested in urban areas will have an epic long wait time? (consider only 7500 visas are given to China each year, and if 3000 of which are taken away, in theory they have to wait for 20+ years and will make EB-5 a disaster). Do you think this can be considered as a retroactivity and can potentially violate the constitution?

    • I originally wrote the sentence that you quote back when the legislation suggested permanent set-asides. In the current draft, set-asides are temporary (released back to the general pool after one year if not used) and so are less controversial. I’ve now deleted that sentence from my summary, because now I’m hearing that lobbyists support the visa set-aside option as an alternative to wide monetary differential between TEA and non-TEA investments. Until the existing visa backlog works its way through the system, I guess the visa set-aside provision would have fairly minimal effect because very few past investments would qualify for the new TEA categories and be able to claim any set-aside visas, meaning most set-asides would shortly return to general availability. But I’m assuming a basically first-in-first-out visa process which I’m not sure is accurate. The question of effective dates is interesting. The legislation says the new TEA rules do not apply to an investor who filed I-526 before the date of enactment, and the visa set-aside provision is part of the new TEA rule. So technically visas should be allocated according to the old rules to those grandfathered investors? But I don’t know how Department of State would figure out how to manage visa allocations to treat pre-enactment and post-enactment investors differently. In the end I’m not placed to give you a good answer, as I don’t really understand the visa issues.

  2. Lucy says:

    Thanks for your summary, Suzanne!

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