Visa Numbers (FY2018 Q3 and conference update)

The 2018 eb5 investors Magazine EB-5 Convention in Los Angeles provided a platform to discuss a challenged industry. The dominant theme was EB-5 visa numbers, and the consequences of excess demand for a limited quota.  Panels and conversations discussed alternatives to China in view of untenable visa wait times, alternatives to EB-5 for investors and project companies and service providers, alternatives to the visa quota as currently interpreted, and options for deploying past investor funds during the visa wait. I learned that everyone is confused about redeployment and material change, with smart lawyers giving conflicting advice, and that many people are confused about visa availability.   I copy below the most important piece of solid information I learned at the conference – the latest DOS statistics on EB-5 visas issued – followed by my comments and predictions.

Information reported by Bernard Wolfsdorf at the EB-5 Waiting Line panel at the eb5 investors Magazine EB-5 Convention on July 24, 2018, based on information provided by Charlie Oppenheim at the Department of State Visa Controls Office [recording here]

As of the third quarter of FY2018 (June 2018), Department of State had issued the following number of visas:

  • Worldwide: 7,900
  • China: 4,049
  • Vietnam: 692
  • South Korea: 423
  • India: 375
  • Taiwan: 337

DOS China Predictions:

  • On October 2018, the cut-off date for China will move to August 8, 2014 (or maybe August 15).
  • China has received a large number of visas annually because it has been able to take visas unused by other countries. Increased marketing in the rest of the world means that the number of visas available for China is dropping. Charlie will allocate 4,675 visas to China in FY2018—much fewer than in previous years. (China received 7,567 visas in FY2017.) Charlie predicts that China will have 3,500 visas available in FY2019, and 3,000 in FY2020.

DOS Vietnam Predictions:

  • On October 1, 2018, the Vietnam cut-off date will move up to January 2016.
  • In March 2019, the Vietnam cut-off date is expected to retrogress.
  • [Suzanne’s note: In other words, the October Visa Bulletin date moves up so that Vietnamese can get the about 700 new visas available to them in the new fiscal year. These having been issued, the March Visa Bulletin will put Vietnam back to the same cut-off date as China — i.e. in the same line as China for any leftover visas.]

Notes on visa availability:

The China backlog has the oldest priority dates in the system and thus first claim on all visas left over after the up-to-700 per country allocation. The total allocation to China depends on number of leftover visas. Countries behind China are effectively limited to about 700 visas annually. Data on visas issued for FY2018 to date indicate that Vietnam has already reached its limit for the year, while South Korea, India, and Taiwan are closer than ever before to the 700 limit. (As a reminder, total visas issued to these countries in FY2017: Vietnam 471; South Korea 195; India 174; Taiwan 188.)  DOS predicts future visa wait times for investors from these countries. (No FY2018 Q3 numbers were provided for Brazil — don’t know if that means fewer FY2018 visa applications than expected from Brazil.)

Remember that investors from one country don’t all have the same wait time.  Individual wait times vary by priority date (date of I-526 receipt). Vietnamese investors who filed I-526 in January 2016 will likely have an almost 3-year wait for a conditional green card (per Charlie’s Visa Bulletin cut-off date prediction above), while Vietnamese who filed I-526 in April 2018 will likely have a 6-year wait (per Charlie’s prediction at the IIUSA conference in April). Each of those estimates is specific to a point in time – that is, to Vietnamese investors who filed on a certain date — not for all Vietnamese.  If the number of I-526 filings from Vietnam increased in a linear manner from 2015 to the present, then the visa wait time for Vietnamese investors over that time period is also linear. As a Vietnamese investor, I’d estimate my visa wait by plotting a line through the two wait-time estimates provided by Charlie, and see where my priority date would fall on that line. (i.e. I’d estimate about a 2-year wait if I filed in 2015 and a 4-5 year wait if I filed in 2017, since he estimated 3 years for early 2016 filers and 6 years for early 2018 filers.) The demand line often isn’t linear (e.g. I expect Vietnam I-526 filings to drop in 2019, thus changing the calculation for 2019 Vietnamese investors), but still plot-able given data.

In EB-5 some people have a false sense of panic (i.e. past Chinese investors thinking Charlie estimated a 15-year visa wait for all Chinese as of April 2018, when he just estimated a 15-year wait for new Chinese investors filing I-526 in April 2018), while others have a false sense of security (i.e. current Vietnamese investors thinking an October 2018 Visa Bulletin indicating 3-year wait applies to today’s new investors, when in fact it’s just specific to people who filed by January 2016 and at the visa application stage in October 2018.) The misunderstandings both result from forgetting to think of the visa wait as a waiting line problem, with the wait for any one investor as a function of that investor’s place in a priority-date-ordered queue (subject to country limits, but not in undifferentiated pools by country). Generally, the longer ago you filed I-526, the shorter your total wait for an EB-5 visa. Chinese investors who filed I-525 four years ago are receiving visas today (four year wait), while Chinese investors filing I-526 today will have longer to wait.  The EB-5 waiting line problem extremely complex but not impossible, considering the process we know and the fact that we have at least some data. (FYI my spreadsheet of backlog-related data is currently under revision as I try to think out a simpler presentation with clearer country-specific analysis. And I really wish we could get updated per-country I-526 data!)

Misconceptions about visa availability were evident in several promoters who spoke at the conference about demand  potential. The EB-5 quota and per-country limit mean that each non-China country can get only about 700 visas i.e. accommodate only about 230 investors annually.   (10,000 visa quota * 7% per country + 0 visas leftover after the China backlog) * 1 investor/3 visas = about 230 investors per country, sustainably. Meanwhile, thousands of investor I-526 * 3 visas/1 investor * 1 year/700 visas = many years visa wait for any country that falls for the siren song of big projects. India especially, take note.  CanAm alone boasts of securing 200 Indian investors this year – almost a year’s worth of visas to one regional center operator – and I hear about multiple other projects each seeking hundreds of Indians. Investors should be vigilant, and EB-5 promoters consider their long-term interests and watch the activity of other promoters.  No market can replace China; raising too much in any one market will simply spoil it. That is, unless the EB-5 visa quota changes.

Will the EB-5 visa quota change, and who will advocate for change? I was reminded at the conference that the industry has conflicting interests. On the one hand, we cannot keep raising money or creating jobs at historical levels without visa relief. Long wait times would ruin the market going forward. Either EB-5 visa numbers increase or EB-5 economic contributions fall.  On the other hand, long visa waits result in the golden gift of billions of dollars in past investment free to be redeployed for 10+ years longer than expected with little investor input and no new job creation requirement. Some companies with large amounts of EB-5 money already in pocket may not be motivated to press for change. But a majority of industry players do want change, as do investors of course.  A new lawsuit pressing the 10,000 EB-5 visas-for-investors argument has maximized its slim chance of success by being entrusted to rockstar Ira Kurzban. (The 10,000 EB-5 quota has been historically interpreted to include family members, thus making it effectively a 3,300-investor quota.) If Kurzban can’t argue this, no one can. People at the conference seemed to think the lawsuit is, at least, a significant and productive gesture. (Update: here is the complaint.) A new organization has been formed just to advocate for backlog problems: EB-5 Visa Relief Group. We shall see where all this leads. This year the draft EB-5 reform legislation did not touch EB-5 backlog problems, while larger immigration bills offered to increase visa numbers for every EB category except EB-5. I welcome more pressure and lobbying on behalf of EB-5 visa relief.

Based what I heard from panels and in conversation at the conference, I would be willing to bet money on the following predictions:

  • The regional center program will get another short-term reauthorization with no changes by the next sunset date of September 30, 2018, as part of the funding bill for FY2019.
  • Another EB-5 bill with longer-term regional center authorization and some EB-5 reforms will be introduced following the midterm elections. The bill will not go anywhere, unless finalized regulations motivate the EB-5 factions to consult with each other, accept painful compromises, and figure out a minimum broadly-beneficial platform that Washington can count on being thanked for enacting. In other words, the bill will not go anywhere.
  • The EB-5 modernization regulations will be finalized in 2018, probably right when I wanted to focus on pumpkin pie and Christmas shopping. The investment amount increases and priority date protections may be modified from the original draft regulations. Litigation around the rollout may come out of New York City.
  • The total number of I-526 filings will fall gradually through 2018, and drop significantly in 2019 as a result in of the regulations and new Visa Bulletin cut-off dates. Because I predict a fall in demand overall, my projections for China visa numbers are more optimistic than Charlie’s. I think that rest-of-the-world demand will fall after 2019, leaving more visas left for China.
  • When new Visa Bulletin cut-off dates are imposed in 2019, many people will express surprise that the cut-off dates and associated visa wait effect people who invested back in 2017 and 2018. If the visa cut-off dates come earlier than expected as a result of more/faster-than-expected I-526 approvals, people will be surprised by that too.
  • With increasing pressures and alternatives, many regional centers, real estate companies, and service providers (and some past investors) will look to exit EB-5 in 2019.
  • Litigators will keep busy, cashing in on questionable interpretations by USCIS and investor frustration with wait times, issuer redeployment decisions, and project progress.
  • I-526 processing times will improve significantly with the fall in I-526 receipts. EB-5 will become a fast track again for investors from low demand countries, escrows contingent on I-526 approval will become feasible again, and new types of projects will find opportunity in EB-5.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing.

49 Responses to Visa Numbers (FY2018 Q3 and conference update)

  1. kumar kk says:

    You are the Best Suzanne !

  2. Rommy says:

    Hi Suzanne, I see visa consumption numbers for current FY 18 year, however do we know if per country submitted I 526 application numbers are available now for FY17 ( oct 16- sep17 ) by anyone?

    • I expect data on per-country I-526 filings since FY2016 to come eventually from USCIS via FOIA request, but haven’t seen it yet, unfortunately. I know that IIUSA at least has a FOIA request pending. The Hans India story I linked in the article quotes CanAm as saying that India filed over 500 I-526 in FY2017, but doesn’t specify CanAm’s source for that figure. In absence of figures from USCIS, I’m left with estimates based on market experience and reports from the media and investors.

      • Rommy says:

        Thank you for the updates, yes I have noticed discrepancy of visa numbers for current year between number ,what you reported from the conference and in the article. Guess will have to wait for DOS annual report to confirm it.

  3. Archit Patel says:

    Hi Suzanne, thanks for the great insight on latest EB-5 visa numbers. However, I am confused with this situation for Indian applicants – it seems that that IPO will process less than 700 visa for India in FY18, but China has already received 4000+ in FY18.
    How can this be true when India has more than 700 investor applications (~2100 visa needs) pending? Shouldn’t Indian applications be processed first until it hits 700 visa mark for FY18 before processing of the pending “over quota cap” Chinese applications?
    Thanks.

    • The number of visas issued to India in FY2018 depends on the number of qualified Indian visa applications ready in FY2018 (up to the 700 visa cap), not on number of pending I-526 that may eventually but haven’t yet been approved to proceed to visa applications. Charlie will have calculated his year-long allocation for China visa numbers for FY2018 based on first allocating visas to satisfy expected visa demand for the year for countries like India without a cutoff date. That’s my understanding. What I don’t understand is why Department of State would have a lot of pending visa applications for non-backlogged countries on hand in November, which is close to the beginning of the fiscal year. For example the Annual Report of Immigrant Visa applicants for November 2017 reported that the National Visa Center had 423 pending Hong Kong applications and 307 pending India applications at that time. Maybe NVC got a huge number of applications from those countries in October 2017? But if many of those applications were leftover from the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2017, why were they leftover? Why didn’t they get available visas in FY2017? What can stall a visa application that’s not stalled by visa availability? I hope someone will tell me the answer.

  4. happy says:

    Thank you for a nice update! I agree it’s time to increase investment visa numbers!! At least, the money will help our society as a whole to pay for the fiscal burden associated with giving away (rather than selling) residency rights to some other types of immigrants. With an increasingly higher federal deficit pushed up by the tax cut, this money will be helpful, assuming these are good money from good people.

  5. KELLY says:

    Chinese eb-5 investors’ tragedy today is the future of Vietnam India etc.No one care about us, instead they care about our redeployment to earn much more easy money. Their huge profit is earned by our huge pain. Most Chinese investors were not told the real waiting time before investing. we are misled to invest.

    • You shouldn’t feel that no one cares. Most people in the industry that I talk to care about the waiting line problem, and want to help. Not to mention the human cost for investors, the long visa wait is not good for most companies that accepted EB-5 investment. (I suspect the motives of those that solicited thousands of investors, and now tempted by so much capital, but not most of the industry.) I do my best to help in the one way I can — by publishing available information about the waiting line. IIUSA has been doing the same since at least 2015. But we have a problem in EB-5 that USCIS and Department of State do not provide real-time data on EB-5 demand and usage. The reports come at least one quarter and sometimes a year or more after we need the data for decision-making. It’s difficult to calculate the real wait time at the time of investing because — at that time — we don’t have data yet on how many other people are investing recently/at the same time, or how many people will invest after that time. It’s only looking back at past data that wait times become clearer. You can see this difficulty now for India — it’s hard to calculate real wait times for today since we haven’t yet been told how many Indians filed I-526 in 2017 or 2018. We can only try our best with limited data, and won’t find out the real wait time for 2018 investors until 2019 or 2020. But we try our best. I hope that all the efforts being made to deal with excess demand from China over the past few years will eventually bring relief to your situation.

  6. Eric says:

    Hi , Suzanne
    My priority date was August 7 2015 and 526 was not approved yet. Could you advise how I can ask for the progress? Strangely some application later than my date was approved. The agent promised to refund the investment by 5 years of the application, but in my case do you think it is possible? My project was the Burger King restaurant . Thanks you are great .
    Eric

    • According to the USCIS processing times page (https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/), your I-526 is now outside of normal processing times so you can file an inquiry with USCIS. This page has info on filing an inquiry: https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/displayONPTForm.do?entryPoint=init&sroPageType=onpt But I’d advise you to consult with the lawyer about this do do the inquiry in the most effective way. You can look at the legal agreements for your project to get information about exit strategy. USCIS will deny the case if the documents promise that you can certainly be refunded a certain amount at a certain date, so I hope the documents don’t say that! I would guess that they are set up as for a normal real equity investment, in which case your exit and profit will depend on the success of the restaurant. Good luck!

  7. Zhihua wang says:

    Dear Susanna,
    I believe the fairest way is to issue visa according to the priority date worldwide.
    Kindly consider!
    Best wishes to you!
    Zeewah

    • kishore says:

      That will only work if each country files equal number of petitions per year. If not the big billion countries like India, China will flood the line for decades

  8. KELLY says:

    Frankly speaking, now Chinese investors have set up many Wechat group to communicate with each other. Many of us have come to a conclusion that if visa backlog cannot be solved until our own redeployment, we will ask refund and give up green card. But we are doubting whether RC will give our money back smoothly if we refuse redeployment. EB5 experience almost ruined our trust in US ‘ s integrity & jusice.

    • I’m afraid that the comment in my post about the potential benefits of redeployment for some companies may have encouraged a conspiracy mindset. But I regret that! Such a mindset would be correct occasionally but wrong most of the time. For most regional centers and project companies, it’s a nightmare to figure out the unclear and onerous redeployment guidance, face having EB-5 responsibilities last much longer than expected, and struggle to deal with unhappy investors in a scenario that none of the sides anticipated. There are a few merely selfish/greedly players out there, but integrity is more common than not, from my perspective. The people who say they want to do their best for you might really be trying to do their best for you, and need your faith to help navigate a very complex situation.

  9. Connor says:

    Hi Suzanne, thanks for pointing out the issue and RCs’ reaction.
    Here is the news release from these 480 Chinese plaintiffs:
    https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180725005655/en/EB-5-Investors-Lawsuit-Asks-Government-Address-Pressing

    • Connor says:

      This link missing one important quote from the investor plaintiff:

      Jacky Zhai, one of the plaintiffs, complained: “Before we made our investment, we were never told we will have to wait so long to be issued EB-5 visa to enter into US to work, study and stay there. And it seems that the waiting times in the future will be even  longer than US government has stated since more and more investors from other countries will cut in line and make Chinese investors wait longer and longer. I have seen many children age-out and many more will age-out during the long waiting time and thus lose their opportunity for a “green card.” In addition, the policy of USCIS put us in a more unfavorable position. Approval of our EB-5 petition will be revoked if the project we invested changes somehow before we get EB-5 visa, and we will have to reinvest our money again and again into new projects. That’s unfair, and not practical in the real world of business.”

  10. qpigpig says:

    You are excellent. I have learned a lot from your article. thanks

  11. sthoo says:

    The visa quota should be allocated proportionally to the number of applicants of each country

  12. KELLY says:

    Thanks very much for your reply. As for redeployment, we are very confused why we need to invest the 2nd or 3rd time even when we have created 10 jobs. We understand rule is rule. Eb5 rule need money to be at risk when applying 829. However, the rule was made decades ago, and become outdated now.The situation now is quite different, why still not amand it? For 2 or 3 investments, we may create 20 or 30 jobs, it is not fair, compared with other countries who donot wait such a long time. Why everyone talk about how to redeploy, but no one want to change it?

    • USCIS and AILA have written to USCIS pointing out problems and strongly urging the agency to reconsider and clarify the redeployment policy. Various industry stakeholders have tried to propose sustainment options that would minimize risk to investors and trouble to project companies. The topic is raised at every stakeholder meeting with USCIS. Meanwhile, both the proposed regulations and legislative proposals have offered priority date protections that would help soften the material change policy (which creates redeployment complications) and soften the consequences unnaturally long visa waiting line. So attempts are being made. (I can send links to sources if you’d like to review.) But we don’t have conclusions yet. Ideally, the problem would be solved by reducing the visa wait. Otherwise, it is tough to formulate any good solution to the bad situation of investment needing to be sustained 10+ years.

  13. Claudia says:

    Thank you for above information. The heavy EB5 China-citizen investors’ backlog being 15-30 years will seriously injure the expectation of the worldwide investors who want to invest in USA with his/her family because the situation is against the spirit of justice which is one of the foundation of USA. All of the investors must have the equal right to have their green card according to the date they invested in USA.

    • FYI, this analysis helps explain the logic behind the per-country limit: http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/library/P12189.pdf
      I don’t foresee rest-of-the-world demand being large enough to make the China wait 30 years, especially not with cut-off dates about to put the largest countries behind China and increased investment amounts about to reduce demand from all countries.
      One of the immigration compromise bills this year actually proposed to remove the per-country cap for EB visas. If that had passed, it would’ve been good for China but bad for every other country using EB-5. I discuss the impacts of various potential waiting line changes on various countries in this post: https://blog.lucidtext.com/2018/04/05/eb-5-visa-waiting-line-and-visa-allocation/

      • Claudiz says:

        Ira Kurzban representing 480+ China investors and RC sued the government for 100000 yearly EB5 visa quota which should exclude any of his/her family members, which inspires all the investors, RC, and lawyers who served the EB5 cases, what can we – all the investors – do to support the lawsuit which will benefit all the investors, RC, case lawyers, and USA if it is successfully?

      • Claudia says:

        Thanks!

  14. 飞跃太平洋 says:

    Thank you for your voice for eb5. Now the problems that our investors are facing are related to the future life of our family, the education of our children, and we abide by the laws of the United States.I hope that the present unreasonable situation will be improved.

  15. Jessie says:

    We are law-abiding citizens,We just want to get a green card in a legal way, But the bill disappointed me…

  16. ZJ says:

    help。

  17. Corrine says:

    Hi Suzanne, I am a Chinese EB5 investor. I think regional centers have big misunderstanding of Chinese market. They consider immigrating to US as a must demand for Chinese, but they forget that 90% of Chinese are applying Eb5 for their kids’ education and future development plan.Visa backlog result in a tragedy that lots of kids are out-aged and have no chance to have green card together with their parents.It is a big harm to those families who may not recover from It.
    USCIS policy need our money maintaining at risk within 2 years after we enter US with conditional green card. This policy allows some greedy RC to redeploy money into high risk project. Thus our whole risk is expanded unlimitedly. Material change before conditional green card is a fatal hit to us in waiting. Thus from next year or the year after next, more and more investors who face redeployment will give up green card and ask refund since kids age out or don’t want to take more risk to wait 15+ years.
    Even if RC use some rules to restrict or obstruct our refund then, we will fight for our rights by lawsuits. On the one hand, RCs want to explore market outside of China. On the other hand, they want to take advantage of USCIS risk requirements to exploit Chinese money again and again. I am afraid RC ‘s plans cannot suceed. For every market , only fairness and transparency can bring unfailing. Investors are partners of NCE, not the unpaid works crying for their own money.

    • Investors are in a tough position now for sure. But regional centers and issuers are in a tough position too. You could see that they want to take advantage of USCIS risk requirements to exploit Chinese money again and again, or you could see that they are forced by USCIS risk requirements to keep EB-5 money moving in a limited range of activities even if they’d prefer to do something else with the money or get out of the EB-5 game as soon as possible. You could see that they choose to redeploy in projects with high investment risk, or that they’re forced into such options by the need to reduce immigration risk — i.e. to avoid material change from the initial deployment that would spoil the immigration objective. Certainly, I think all sides should do better to communicate with and try to understand each other.

  18. Thanks very much for your kindly reply.I can understand that from the perspective of experts working for the industry, it is hard to feel the pain of Chinese investor. For RC boss, an investor is just a percentage of his one project out of his many projects. But for the investor, EB5 means his and his family member’s whole future life, which need all his efforts to guard.
    Americans may not understand how RC defraud Chinese investors through the hands of Chinese EB5 agencies. Before or even after investing, many of us have no chance to contact directly with our immigration lawyers. Many of us don’t know there is a PPM and don’t know the waiting years are desperately unacceptable. Also many don’t know EB5 don’t guarantee Green Card and Money refund. Knowing nothing above, they signed a few almost blank papers under the urge of salesman. In the end, all the money obtained by defrauding flow into RC who claim knowing nothing about deceiving.
    For an immigration plan full of defrauding, if it cannot be reformed, it need to be ended. It should not continue, on the one hand, hurting all the Chinese investors who contributed lots of money to industry and sacrificed their family future plan. On the other hand, it should not continue defrauding potential investors from other countries in the same way.
    The reason why Chinese investors were attracted by U.S. is that they believe the country is relatively fair, honest and righteous. However now countless lies and defraudings ruined our faith towards this country.
    Still thanks a lot for your objective & fair reporting and analysis in such a long time. It helps a lot to all the investors. We are grateful for your efforts. Thanks again.

    • Thank you for sharing. I hear the pain in these words! The side of the story I see is that issuers and project companies on the U.S. side spend money on hundreds of pages in documents for the investor that explain the conditions and risks and terms of EB-5 investment. I’m paid to write business plans that are as clear and well-documented as possible to facilitate review and due diligence, while securities attorneys are paid to write offering documents so detailed that they help protect the company from lawsuits later saying “I didn’t know…” These documents all get included in the I-526 package that the investor must sign and file. Meanwhile, the internet is full of information about the EB-5 program and its requirements and limits, including information published by USCIS and Department of State, trade associations, and people like me who blog about industry updates as soon as we hear them, even if the updates are discouraging. To me, that looks like a lot of effort at honesty on the U.S. side (though I understand there are pockets of dishonesty too). I hear regional centers complaining about deceit, but they focus their ire on agents who charge them very high fees while isolating the RCs from marketing activities and investor contact, leaving RCs feeling in the dark and sometimes helpless and ripped off. I hear complaints about Chinese investors too, from RCs with high-quality projects who were frustrated that the market didn’t seem to notice or demand quality, instead easily favoring whoever put in a big show. Some reformers argue that immigrant investment should be shut down because it’s just inherently too risky — that people from abroad are too vulnerable, too lacking in sophistication and cut off from information to safely make such investment decisions. I disagree with this argument because I don’t buy that vision of foreign people. Investments get made across borders around the world all the time, not just in EB-5. High net worth people outside the U.S. are smart and educated and have internet access and translation tools. Particularly for China, I can imagine a Chinese person duped through over-reliance on a personal trust relationship, but I can’t believe in a picture of Chinese investors helpless due to lack of savvy or lack of ability to access information. My experience living and working in China impressed me with the sophistication, education, and connectedness of Chinese people. I agree that the EB-5 program should be stopped if integrity in EB-5 can’t be protected. But in a small, connected world full of smart people, a lot of available information, accessible travel, and so many communication tools, why can’t integrity be protected?

      • Lulu says:

        It is not like that simple, background is much more complicated than you thought. If things are all like you said, there would be much much less investors and no blames.

      • Connor says:

        Hi Suzanne,

        On this issue, I have to say security lawyers are paid to do security law compliance for RCs to avoid them to be sued, instead of protecting EB-5 investors.

        In China, no need to mention only few investors read English.The common practice is most investors are never given offering documents, not matter in Chinese or English, before they sign them. And in most cases, they have only signature pages to sign in instead of whole documents to review.

        RCs can argue they did nothing wrong, but they know well what their agents did.

        Who cares? That’s out of SEC’s reach, and out of China government’s reach either unfortunately.

      • ypqj says:

        Dear Suzanne,

        Thanks for your all efforts on EB-5,

        I am a EB-5 investor from China mainland , our family made investment by end of 2015, before investment , we made carefully investigation about the projects and finally made carefully choice on the project , project has been going smoothly so far , we had understood that as long as project goes well, the investment is worth of doing , we never thought of the risk of waiting so long time, although our agency was honest to tell us the process will be longer than previous 1 or 2 years to get the temporary green card , but none of us received any information from USCIS that we need to wait more than 10 or 15 or even longer years , we can wait 5 or 6years but not means more than 10years can be accepted !! We don’t understand why USCIS did not unveil the real waiting time? Also don’t understand why do they continuously accept petitions when the quota is so much less than what really can be met? Even without any actual warning to the applicants? Just keep letting the money go into USA again and again but without any responsibility? and keep the money from our foreigners who has good dream for American at RISK for years and years??

        We are just ordinary middle-class family in China, we had believed America is a country which comparatively fair and righteous, also the environment is better for our children’s education, so we sold our flat, it’s a so big challenge for us because my husband and I both are very conservative person and we had thought it’s worth of doing, but now we are doubting, if America is like this to bully our profit and don’t care about us who are good potential immigrants , but only care about Money , so is a country like this really worth of going?

        My husband has been working in a very famous American company for more than decades, as a professional engineer, if without visa problem, he can find job in America very easily, when we made EB-5 , our plan was to go into USA in about 5years, then he can still work , and we also had been working on choosing good private schools for our kids , but now everything was ruined, we have to plan our family future again….

        It’s absolutely we can NOT accept so long waiting time, if the visa backlog problem can’t be solved , we will choose withdraw, redeployment can’t be accepted also , we had created jobs and contribute American economics , why we need to bear the risk again and again because of USCIS’ irresponsibility? With USD5,000,000, we can re-schedule our family plan, even still stay in China, those money we earned through our hard-working is still very treasurable for ourselves !

        Please kindly help us on visa backlog problem or help get the money back at least , of coz, if it’s project failed, we would admit it’s our bad luck!.

        Thanks again for your all sincerities and efforts!

        Thanks & Best regards,

        Nancy

      • Nancy, Thank you for sharing your story! I think that anyone who reads it will be touched and even more motivated than before to support solutions for the China wait time.

  19. Xiaoyan Hu says:

    It is unfair to mainland Chinese investors! We invested our money which we hard working to make, we created jobs, we believed that America would give us a fair and just opportunity to create happiness life,but what did we get? What we faced will be twenty or thirty years of waiting and separating family, we will face inconclusive life, what we faced is the regional center misuse of our money for risky reinvestment again and again ,finally we won’t get the money back and won’t get the green card also. When we invest nobody tell us these, nither the regional center nor immigration office! That’s unfair! Now the EB5 turned out to be a Ponzi scheme ! Please help us!

    • I guess there’s 15% probability that your regional center doesn’t care about your immigration objectives and just wants to misuse your money, and 85% probability that you invested in an RC that intended to use your money honestly and will still try to the best of their ability to help you finish the process as successfully as possible under the circumstances, with return on investment and a green card. People with bad will exist, but people with good will outnumber them, I believe. Don’t despair too easily!

  20. Vince says:

    Hi Suzanne. Thank you for your persisting pro bono efforts on bringing eb-5 explanation, analysis and updates to the otherwise under-informed public. I think I am very impressed by your commendable impartiality towards the complex subject on hand and the people involved with differentiating or conflicting interests. However, I can also greatly feel your empathy towards the mass Chinese investors stuck in this dreadful backlog debacle, as I am one of them.

    From this update, it is wonderful to hear from your predictions that the modernization regulations from DHS are going to be put out this year (finally), which is a great surprise to me as we’ve been told neither the regulations nor the legislation will ever be actually finalized. And I do believe the increase in investment amount will curb the further worsening of waiting times for Chinese nationals. But I still hope further efforts can be made by all parties. Consider this: the other types of EB visas still grant a legal status for staying in the US for people waiting in line, albeit varying waiting times also exist.

    But the one thing I do not understand is why the early legislative efforts have time after time faced willful suppression from the alleged all-powerful ‘moneyed interests’. And why do they keep promoting and selling eb-5 projects in other parts of the world as the Chinese market was being exhausted? They know too well what immediate effects it could bring to us Chinese investors onboard. I assume those from my perspective highly questionable maneuvers actually begot different conspiracies. It does call into question what is the actual percentage of project companies that have been bearing in mind their Chinese investors’ interests, and what underhanded and all-messed-up business deals were made between them and some Chinese agents.

  21. ypqj says:

    Thanks ,Suzanne, It’s hard for me to make comments on Twitter or FB or others because of the internet control in China mainland, so grateful for your blog through which we can make our own voice, please help us forward our story and our voice to the responsible persons who can really make change on EB-5 based on JUSTICE! Many thanks again!

  22. Alex says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Thank you for all the information as always. USCIS received our cases in October 2015, petitioners coming from Latin America. There still has been no movement yet. Every time we reach out to USCIS they respond with the same generic e-mail. What steps can we take? It’s way beyond the normal time but there seems to be little we can do. Appreciate all your knowledge. Thank you!

  23. Dan says:

    Not sure, but it looks like they have updated processing times. I829 looks to have reduced by 2 weeks. Can anyone confirm if previous max was 39.5 months?

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