Approaching Feb 15

The regional center program authorization granted in 2018 is now active again, with another continuing resolution that extends previous funding and authorities for a few more weeks — through February 15, 2019. USCIS has updated its Regional Center program page to remove the language about lapse in authorization. My Washington Updates page has the detail on the legislation.

The shutdown from December 22 to January 25 turned out to be much gentler on EB-5 than it could’ve been, thanks to the USCIS decision to continue to accept regional center I-526 and I-485 filings during the lapse in RC program authorization. Adjudications were delayed, but not that much in the scheme of long processing times. So we survived the lapse and are reauthorized again, and the drama is just beginning.

Regional center program authorization got extended by default in the continuing resolution, and has to be included on purpose in a new funding bill for 2019. And immigration issues are at the center of appropriations negotiations. The White House says “Once the government is open and the immediate crisis is addressed, President Trump will hold weekly bipartisan meetings to reform our immigration system.” A group of 17 Congressional representatives has been appointed to work out a compromise on border security funding – a compromise that could implicate wider immigration issues and visa allocation. The White House statement mentioned these priority issues: “interior enforcement, asylum reform, worksite verification, the 11 million people living in the country unlawfully, and moving toward a merit-based immigration system.” If only someone would speak up in this negotiation for the EB-5 regional center program, and the need to put immigrant investment on a stable footing (ideally with more visas for these merit-full immigrants). But I’m not sure who in that group of 17 negotiators is a friend of EB-5. I hope that the group includes someone who knows positive stories to balance member Patrick Leahy, whose wounds from Vermont Regional Center disappointments are still fresh. Leahy used strong language to complain in 2018 that “The recently-passed omnibus spending bill included a clean extension of EB-5, and did not include any reforms to crack down on well-documented fraud, abuse and national security concerns.” The EB-5 regulations that Leahy called for then have still not been finalized (I keep checking the OMB site for evidence that they’re under review, but nothing yet). Will Leahy or others in Congress be motivated by DHS delay to address EB-5 again now? But then the border security negotiation is so large and EB-5 is such a tiny visa category. EB-5’s problems are dwarfed by the size of the program’s positive economic impact, and negligible in the big picture of immigration problems. When Congress can’t manage progress on a single major pressing issue – border security – how likely is it that the minor regional center program will earn a moment’s thought now, beyond the minimum necessary to keep the program going? We shall see.

IIUSA says that it is “active on Capitol Hill and will continue to visit offices and advocate on your behalf. As we learn more leading up to the next sunset date of February 15, we will keep you informed of progress made on a long-term reauthorization of the Program.” We certainly need such advocacy now.

In other news, a thank you to industry colleagues for recognizing me again this year as one of the Top 5 Business Plan Writers in EB-5. Blogging is a sideline but business plans are my profession, and I’m delighted to be honored by peers for excellence in my core work.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

23 Responses to Approaching Feb 15

  1. YL says:

    829 processing seems to be delayed though – the estimated time is now longer at 28 to 36 months, by one month.

  2. tpk129 says:

    “In other news, a thank you to industry colleagues for recognizing me again this year as one of the Top 5 Business Plan Writers in EB-5. Blogging is a sideline but business plans are my profession, and I’m delighted to be honored by peers for excellence in my core work.”

    Congrats and thank you for the blog…I recommend it to all my consultant contacts around the globe! See that you’ve been receiving some mighty fine press in India!

  3. SK says:

    Suzanne, You rock… you are THE source of info on EB5….

  4. VS says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Great information as always.
    How about processing speed of I-526? Is it still faster now compared to old days? I read your great article https://blog.lucidtext.com/2018/11/13/applying-data-to-questions-i-526-timing-visa-timing-for-china-vietnam-india/.
    I have invested in one of the project during first quarter of 2018. The Regional Center communications team updates us that so far all the investors who received approvals have received decisions within 10-18 months of filing. But USCIS still shows processing for I-526 more than 20 months with October 2016 date.

    Q1) So I am confused how USCIS picks up cases newer than the dates mentioned on their website, can you shade some light on that?
    Q2) Is the case of I-526 being processed faster (Off course VISA availability is important too) still happening?

    • Here’s the master post with what I know about I-526 processing: https://blog.lucidtext.com/2018/05/18/how-long-does-i-526-take-iii/
      I predict average I-526 times as a function of inventory and flow rate. That calculation estimates that average time should be about 20 months for I-526 filed in 2017, and eventually reduce to about 12 months for petitions filed in 2018. (My prediction model spreadsheet is linked in the above post.) I suspect that USCIS uses almost the same theoretical formula I do to choose dates to post on its processing times page, and does not attempt to capture/report what’s actually on adjudicators’ desks at any given time.

  5. VS says:

    Thank you for the details. Those are helpful.

  6. D says:

    Menu congratulations, Suzanne, on the well-deserved recognition.

    As far as investors are concerned, your blog is the most authoritative and indispensable source of information. Thank you for all your hard work in maintaining this blog.

  7. Amit says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Great information as always.

    I am EB5 regional center investor, waiting for visa interview date. Feb bulletin shows 5th regional center (I5 & R5) as unauthorized even though resolution signed by president. Where we can see updated or revised bulletin?

    Will they schedule interview dates eventhough bulletin shows unauthorized ?

    When I call to NVC , all agents say the visa is not available for I5 category and they go through published bulletin information only.
    So I want to know where the ON / OFF switch at NVC or USCIS or at embassy? Where we can check revised / update in our category?

    • Hi Amit,
      I do not know the answers to these good questions, and haven’t seen others commenting on the February visa bulletin and what that means. I guess that DOS just left I5 and R5 not current because the next sunset date is so soon, and in February. I believe the on/off switch is at DOS and that the visa bulletin is indeed determinative for everyone, but I’m really not an expert in this part of the process.

      • VS says:

        That is an interesting point. So lets assume the EB5 program does not get an extension at all and is completely lapsed. Then what happens to all the investors who invested earlier?

        • Sid says:

          Then investors will not get a conditional green card until the program is reauthorized.

          • tpk129 says:

            I think the question deals with the situation where the program is not ever reauthorized. If so, it would seem equitable that any I-526 that has been filed will be processed. Anyone who doesn’t have the application filed has just made a normal investment and wouldn’t be eligible for the EB-5 program.

            Not sure this is 100% accurate, but it would be the fair. Given the less than positive views of Regional Centers, one should probably find a definitive answer if you’re looking at this type of investment.

          • Amit says:

            My question: Did anyone get schedule for interview after shutdown over?

    • VS says:

      Hi Amit,
      Did you receive any new updates for your VISA availability? I think dates are now changed to current. Hope you case moves ahead and if possible please update this blog so others can educate.

      • I’m also curious to hear this. The February and March Visa Bulletin still show I5 and R5 as unavailable, though if you scroll way down there’s the langauge “If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2019, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for March for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5”

      • Amit says:

        The February and March Visa Bulletin still show I5 and R5 as unavailable, NVC representatives when I call for inquiry for by interview date, speaks same by reading these bulletins. After shutdown is over on 15 feb 2019 there should be update in feb & march bulletins which did not happen. Now I believe we wont see visa availability “current” until we have April 2019 bulletin. If NVC are filling slots of interview by seeing out-dated bulletins then It is loss to EB-5 community for such big period. Suzanne, I request to you, please provide some solution to this matter.

  8. Dan says:

    Suzanne, they seem to be very late releasing the Data for the last quarter this time?

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