FAQ for potential regulatory changes and visa bulletin updates

Nothing is changing at the moment. The EB-5 modernization regulation is still pending review at OMB, the Visa Bulletin is still current for India and moving forward for China and India, IPO remains silent, and there are no hints of EB-5 legislation.

But for the sake of being prepared, this post considers “what if” questions related to possible forthcoming changes.

To start with the Visa Bulletin, here are the most recent predictions I’ve heard (from the February 2019 Visa Bulletin and Charles Oppenheim’s presentation at IIUSA in October 2018):

  • China: Final action date was expected to move about one week per month between January and May 2019. When the new fiscal year starts in October 2019, the final action date is expected to be October 22, 2014 (best case) or October 8, 2014 (worst case)
  • Vietnam: Final action date was expected to move about three weeks per month between January and May 2019, and progress at least to September 2016 this fiscal year.
  • India: Will get a final action date when visas available to India for the year have been used up, likely “no later than July 2019.” The final action date will initially be the same as for China, to effectively stop visa issuance to India-born for the fiscal year. When FY2020 starts in October 2019, the final action date for India will move forward enough to release enough Indian applicants to claim the new year’s visas. The final action date will likely be in 2017 at that time.

IIUSA recently announced that Charles Oppenheim of Department of State will speak at the Advocacy Conference on May 6. We look forward to hearing his updated projections.

Regarding regulations, the final rule for the EB-5 Modernization Regulation RIN: 1615-AC07 could be published as early as tomorrow or as late as never, and take effect 30 or so days after publication. We don’t yet know the content of the final rule, but there’s a fair chance that it will be similar to the proposed rule (NPRM) from January 2017 (full text here). If the regulation gets finalized with content that mirrors the NPRM, then here are some issues and considerations to keep in mind.

Investment Amount and TEA Changes:

  • Proposed change: The minimum EB-5 investment will increase significantly for TEA and non-TEA investments (the NPRM proposed $1.8M and $1.35M). The incentive to invest in a TEA will likely be reduced (the NPRM proposed 25% discount instead of 50% discount from the standard investment amount). Many fewer urban areas will qualify as TEAs, due to limits on TEAs that combine census tracts. USCIS, rather than states, will become responsible for TEA designation.
  • Effect: The NPRM says that “unless otherwise specified,” the investment amount and TEA changes will apply to “EB-5 immigrant petitions filed on or after [INSERT EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE.]” i.e. changes will apply to all I-526 filed after the rule becomes effective. The NPRM mentions no exceptions, not even for capital raises in progress, or for projects that have filed or approved I-924 exemplars or other approved I-526. On the other hand, the NPRM specifically applies the investment amount and TEA changes to new I-526 filings – i.e., not to people at other stages in the process (not to I-526 pending, I-526 approved and waiting for a visa, conditional permanent residence, or I-829)
  • Practical consequences: Considering the chance that we might need to deal soon with a Final Rule that looks like the NPRM,
    • Prospective investors: If I were planning an EB-5 investment, I’d make every effort to get I-526 filed soon under the current lower investment threshold. In vetting potential projects, I’d consider how much EB-5 money the project still needs to raise (the larger the EB-5 raise, the more exposure to risk from rules changing for future investors).
    • People past I-526 filing: I’d congratulate myself on being already in the system, so the investment amount and TEA changes do not affect my eligibility. If my project still hasn’t completed its EB-5 raise, I’d consider its ability to adapt to the changes for incoming investors. (If the project can still attract the investment, past investors will benefit from changes that mean fewer investors to claim the available job creation.)
    • Project companies and regional centers: If I were promoting an EB-5 investment, I’d try to complete the raise asap, before new rules constrict the market. Meanwhile, I’d strategize about what can work under the new rules. It seems likely that a dramatic investment amount increase, combined with reduced and restricted TEA incentive, will create an environment that privileges high-end projects with attractive ROI.  Some people can afford to write off $500,000, but an investor committing $1-$2 million of equity will likely care about it as an investment, not just an immigration opportunity.  The ideal project will offer security, a solid return, and be located in a distressed or rural area. Since economic reality makes such opportunities very rare, security and profitability will probably carry the day. Sadly, the NPRM proposed to make TEA status both more difficult to obtain and less valuable – not a recipe for competitive advantage for distressed and rural areas. But for what the revised TEA incentive is worth, it’s possible check whether a given project would qualify. The revised TEA designation rules in the NPRM are basically the same as the current rules, except when it comes to making a TEA from census tracts. Look at a mapping tool that shows unemployment rates by census tract (this one for example). A project can qualify under new rules if the census tract where it’s located (combined, if needed, in a weighted average with one or more of the immediately contiguous census tracts) has high unemployment. The difference from current practice is that a special TEA as defined in the NPRM can only include census tracts that touch the tract where the project is located, not larger and more extended groupings.

Priority Date Retention Change:

  • Proposed change: An EB–5 immigrant petitioner may to use the priority date of an approved EB–5 immigrant petition for any subsequently filed EB–5 immigrant petition. This provision would provide some protection from material change, allowing the investor to keep her priority date even if changed circumstances require filing a new I-526 petition.
  • Effect: The NPRM proposed that priority date retention would specifically apply to anyone in the stage between I-526 approval and conditional green card. The NPRM does not offer the protection to people with pending I-526, people whose I-526 was denied or revoked, or people who already have conditional permanent residence.
  • Practical consequences:
    • Prospective investors: This change is promising – an additional future protection that’s particularly important to anyone from oversubscribed countries (China, Vietnam, India) who faces a long wait between I-526 approval and green card.
    • People with pending I-526: The change is no help yet, but a nice promise for the future
    • People with approved I-526 and still waiting for a green card: The priority date retention could be a game-changer. It means that so far as USCIS is concerned, you’re free and welcome to withdraw from one project and invest or reinvest in another. At this stage you’d still have to file a new I-526 for changed circumstances (and deal with the rules that apply to new I-526 filings), but could keep the original I-526 priority date, and original place in the visa wait line. Priority date retention removes some of the sting from material change, and opens the door for investor-lead redeployment.  USCIS can’t force terminated regional centers or under-performing projects give investor money back. But at least the regulation removes barriers on the immigration side to change and voluntary reinvestment.
    • People with conditional permanent residence: The priority date retention does not apply to them, in the NPRM. However, note that EB-5 policy already allows significant leeway for change during the CPR period without need to refile I-526.
    • Project companies and regional centers: For underperforming projects, priority date retention could lead to a rush of investors pushing to withdraw so that they can reinvest somewhere else. For attractive projects, priority date retention could open a new market: people with approved I-526 who need a new investment after the original one didn’t satisfy. Priority date protection could effectively create a secondary market in EB-5 investment, and entirely change the redeployment issue by giving investors power to reinvest their own funds. But there’s an important limiting factor: priority date is all that investors could retain from the original I-526 filing. The NPRM does not offer to let people reinvest under the same rules for minimum investment and TEAs that applied to the original I-526 filing. People who could invest $500,000 in Project A last year may be practically unable to invest $1.35 million in Project B this year, even if USCIS allows and facilitates withdrawing from Project A and reinvesting in Project B. But still, priority date protection could have significant implications for the EB-5 landscape.

I-829 Changes:

  • So far as I can tell, the proposed I-829 changes are an unmixed good. The NPRM would make people more free to grow up, marry, divorce, and die, knowing that family members will still be able to file I-829 to remove conditions. CPR status would be automatically extended between I-829 receipt and adjudication, blunting the pain of long processing times. Interviews would be conducted within reason as to time, place, and content.

And now the waiting game, to see whether EB-5 regulations ever get finalized, and if so which provisions get included in the final rule. Congress, if only you would act instead, and provide the modernization that EB-5 really needs to protect integrity and incentivize economic development!

UPDATE: Frieldland & Calderon have published an article that explains the process behind the regulations and why they don’t believe that the EB-5 regs will ever be finalized. They also reiterate why EB-5 needs Congress to act, though Congressional action is also unlikely.  “EB-5 Reform on the Horizon – If the Palm House Hotel Debacle Does Not Precipitate Congressional Action, What Will?” (March 22, 2019)

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

74 Responses to FAQ for potential regulatory changes and visa bulletin updates

  1. EB5 investor says:

    Effectively the new rules are made sure EB5 program is killed. Its the stupidity of the white house that these changes are being made. 3 years for i-526 , 2 years for CGC, another 3 years of i-829 and another 7 years for naturalisation and suck in 2 million for a decade with zero return. biggest ponzi scheme on planet.

    • However, note that the current timing problems result from excess demand. If not for over-heavy use of EB-5, processing times would be short and there would be no visa backlogs. So technically the regulations offer just what the industry needs to survive: dramatic demand reduction that would lead back to reasonable timing. So long as EB-5 can work in the end for at least someone.

    • Bharghava Sarabu says:

      I believe naturalization count down begins when one receives CGC, and one needs only 5 years to naturalize. Paperwork processing will take 5-6 months. So all in all, it’s a good deal from the moment you get CGC. I could be wrong too.

      • Sid says:

        You are can apply for naturalization 4.75 years from th date your conditional green card has been granted assuming you’ve removed conditions successfully.

  2. eric yao says:

    We initially thought Mr. Oppenheim’s projections at IIUSA conference were very good. In Oct 2016, he projected 7 years wait-time for Chinese investors while majority of immigration attorneys or immigration agencies were suggesting 4-5 years.

    From hindsight, however, his projection significantly underestimated visa demand from non-Chinese markets. Consequently his 7-year projection was much better than 4-5 years, but still seriously underestimated the wait time. Based on I-526 petitions filed since 2015, visa allocations to non-China countries per year were already 50% or higher, while Mr.Oppenheim’s assumption was only 15%.

    Because demand from non-China countries were as high as 50% or more, not 15% as suggested by Mr. Oppenheim, the actual wait time for Chinese investors who filed Oct. 2016 were more like 12 years, not 7 years as projected. What troubled me and my clients the most, is that the market demand numbers were already available based on I-526 petitions by countries from USCIS at the time of Mr. Oppenheim’s projection in Oct 2016. His projection could have been much more accurate.

    If I and my clients learned about a 12-year wait time in Oct 2016, then most of my clients wouldn’t have made these investments. It would be bad to my business but at the same time, the misinformation were very bad to my clients and their family. The EB-5 market would have been shifted in 2016, not two years later. But there would be definitely less sufferings to the tens of thousands of Chinese families who were mislead into this program.

    • What was good about Mr. Oppenheim’s presentation is that he provided data and explained calculations — thus not giving any excuse for us to say we were forced to rely on his one slide of estimates instead of analyzing his many slides of available data for ourselves and adding our own assumptions to reach our own conclusions.

      • eric yao says:

        Did you come to a different conclusion after reading his slides in Oct 2016? I didn’t. Not until I received the I-526 petitions by country data after several months. If we didn’t discover it, how could the foreigners find the error, who could barely understand 50% of the English words in this 20 page slides. One would think, as the head of a sister government agency, he should have much easier access to USCIS data – I-526 petitions by country in 2015 and 2016. These data would have increased the projection of wait-time dramatically – from 7 years to 12+ years.

        • Kelly says:

          “ If professional didn’t discover it,how could the foreigners find the error, who could barely understand 50% of the English words in this 20 page slides” Totally agreed!

          With lifetime visa backlog & endless redeployment after creating 10 jobs, EB5 IS biggest ponzi scheme on planet!!!

        • Michael says:

          Hi Eric,
          I agree that the wait will be even more than 12+ years if the overall visa availability or per country quota doesn’t change.
          The prediction really depends on how fast the the demand from rest of the world will increase (Excluding India, Vietnam and possibly Taiwan, Brazil and South Korea)
          If the allocation to China reduces by 200 year over year and bottoms at 3000, the wait time will be ~16 years.
          Remember to account for risks such as news of new investment amount causing a huge influx from rest of the world, pushing the date further down the drain.
          However, if the investment amount is actually raised, the demand from the rest of the world will decrease, a good news for those in line.

          I am trying to track the I-526 by country data. However could not find it other than Suzanne’s excel spreadsheet.

      • Corrine says:

        Hi suzanne, we’re all curious, how does Charlie’s time work out, do you have a formula or link to that? thank you.

        • I should revise my original comment — Charlie provided the historical input data but did not give his calculation. We could extrapolate from his conclusion to his X factor assumptions about future incoming non-China demand and future rate of attrition from the backlog between I-526 and CPR. He evidently extrapolated from the past rather than guessing much about the future changes, but I agree that we get better estimates by expecting future change.

          • eric yao says:

            His projection does provide calculation, not just data. See the link below for the full PPT:
            https://www.dropbox.com/s/cwam8myqw47f7dt/Charlie%27s%20Projection%20of%20Wait%20Time%20for%20Chinese%20Oct%202016.pdf?dl=0

            When I looked at his slides again today, the projection has a major error in assuming the demand from non-China markets and consequently visa allocation to Chinese petitioners. The projection did not look at the non-China demand dynamically. It just says that there are 6 years visa backlog for all investors, and there is likely 10,000 new non-Chinese who would jump line which would add an additional year. Therefore, 6+1=7, 7 years for Chinese petitioners who file Oct 2016.

            What should have been done is a more dynamic approach: take a look at the I-526 petitions in the past FY 2015 and FY 2016, see how many petitions were filed by non-China investors. From there, he could have established a trend for annual allocation of visa to Chinese investors. Based on the data, which should be available at the time of his projection, non-China investors would consume over 5,000 visa per year. This leaves less than 5,000 visa to Chinese investors each year. Let’s say, total Chinese investors in the line is 60,000 and each year, only 5,000 is available. Then 60,000 divided by 5,000, it would take 12 years to absorb the backlog.

            Unfortunately he didn’t do that, and none of us as analysts realized this error until several months later. I bet immigration attorneys who are in the industry for a long time would have the experience/knowledge to discover the error, as the retrogression issue does not apply to EB-5 alone – it had happened to other visa categories long time ago. Unfortunately they were either too busy filing I-526s or choose not to say anything.

            Consequently tens of thousands Chinese investors were misled into the investment. Now, they have to battle with a handful of regional centers who want to keep investor’s money for life, to get their money back!

          • Kelly says:

            Totally agree with Eric’s comment. “Immigration attorneys either too busy filing I-526s or choose not to say anything. Consequently tens of thousands Chinese investors were misled into the investment”

            As the misled investors, we have to battle with a handful of regional centers who want to keep our money for life, to get our money back!

  3. Terrance Kelley says:

    Thanks Suzanne!

    I think your comment regarding planning for individuals with approved I-526 applications and waiting for a conditional green card is very astute. Pulling out of a bad deal and reinvesting in a new one is as you say, a “game-changer”. I like this for the Chinese and Vietnamese with long wait times and anyone else in a bad or busted deal.

    I’m presuming this opportunity applies if the Regional Center (or “direct investment”) went belly up due to fraud or market conditions. Is this correct?

    • The NPRM did not state any restrictions on investor reasons for abandoning one project and filing with a new one. Naturally the choice wouldn’t be made lightly, since the new I-526 would be subject to the new investment amount rules.

  4. Pete Chase says:

    Hopefully, if the investor decides to pull out and re-invest, they just consult their immigration attorney. I can just see a new breed of “middlemen advisors” looking to make bank on these poor people.

  5. Bharghava Sarabu says:

    When FY2020 starts in October 2019, the final action date for India will move forward enough to release enough Indian applicants to claim the new year’s visas. The final action date will likely be in 2017 at that time.

    Hi Suzzane – In the above, when you mentioned final action dates, you are referring to I-526 filing date? or I-485 Filing date?

  6. Vinay Polisetti says:

    Hello Suzanne, as usual great blog

    Do you think India would skip the retrogression this year as we had government shout down for about 35 days and lost a few days?

    Initially it was expected to be July 2019 but Do you think all the 700 visas would be consumed before September-2019? Looks like they issued just about 150 visas till end of Feb.

    • At the IIUSA meeting in October, Charles Oppenheim explained that DOS is required by statute to dole out available visas gradually over the course of the fiscal year (no more than about 27% each quarter in the first three quarters), not all at once to as many people as qualify for them. The government shutdown did not affect the number of visas available for the year, or the number of people who could file visa applications. So the shutdown should make no difference to retrogression.

  7. Terrance P Kelley says:

    Broken link to “EB-5 Reform on the Horizon – If the Palm House Hotel Debacle Does Not Precipitate Congressional Action, What Will?”

  8. tpk129 says:

    Read the article by Gary Friedland and Jeanne Calderon. Couldn’t help but wonder if the authors aren’t overstating the importance of the program and industry today. This just isn’t that big of a deal to most people. Raising $50 million from 100 people wanting a green card isn’t going to show up on many people’s radars today.

    We keep hearing reports that the major developers have abandoned the EB-5 program and it is doubtful that we’ll see the flood of applicants from India or Brazil like we saw from China. The mistakes, and fraud, of the past have made potential investors much smarter and the opportunity to find large amounts of cheap capital has dwindled. My reading is that Opportunity Zones are the new gimmick that is attracting attention from developers.

    All of this doesn’t mean that the OMB can’t sit on the proposed regulations, but it is hard to believe that a large numbers of real estate barons are spending political capital on a program that isn’t as meaningful to them as before. It is also truly doubtful that Congress would spend a New York second on a matter that has so little impact for voters.

    • Corrine says:

      What you said is correct. For American politicians, foreign investors are not voters in their own constituencies and cannot bring them votes. For the American public, this is a game in which foreign wealthy people buy green cards through money. But for foreign investors, they really want to work hard to make their families and children live happily in this country through legal channels. This is an irreversible tragedy for all the families of foreign investors facing a visa backlog.

      • tpk129 says:

        Wait times were poorly communicated and if investors had known how long they would have to wait, it may have deterred some from moving forward.

        My thinking is the larger issue of outright fraud and stealing that happened because of so little oversight. I’m sure the people who have lost all their money would happily wait for their green cards if their investments were reinstated.

        One point I didn’t make clear in the post was that the relatively small amount generated by EB-5 would not cause politicians to defend, or advocate for, the program. With a cap of 10K visas per year and assuming each investor has 3 family members joining them, then 2,500 investments of $500,000 will be made annually. This totals $1.25 billion by EB-5…the U.S. economy is $20 trillion.

        This amount is extremely immaterial and it is doubtful that someone is going to use political capital to mess with the program. The OMB could still stonewall the proposed regulations…but probability not because some Senator pounded the table demanding that Congress address the program….they won’t waste the time.

        • Corrine says:

          Hey, I don’t think it makes sense to compare the amount of money in EB-5 with the economic volume of the entire United States. The legislative intent of Congress is not to invest EB-5 as hot money, but to hope that these funds can create employment opportunities in remote and impoverished areas and promote local economic development.

          Nowadays, the abuse of “tea” flows to the money bag of the super metropolis developer in Los Angeles, New York. The remote and poor places that really need money will not be helped, and the people will not benefit.

          As you said, politicians may not care about EB-5, and its size is too small. But in fact, if used correctly, it will help those in need, as long as the policy is stable and standardized, fair and reasonable, I believe the market will recover.

          • eric yao says:

            Well said about the policy intent of the TEA and EB-5 program! If we look at the sizes of tax credits programs such as NMTC or section 42, $1,.25 billion is quite significantly. I also agree with you about policy reforms. The market would never recover when abusive capital redeployment practice and “creative” sales tactics are becoming the industry norms. Foreign investors admired this country and wanted to spend money to create jobs and move their families. We don’t want this great program to be misused to only feed the greed of a few businessmen, at the expenses of innocent investors and integrity of American people. The EB-5 program itself is not guilty. It is the current way the program is set up that provides the greedy capital a chance to murder it.

        • Chandra Ojha says:

          I think its not as simple as arithmetic calculation. So the investment amount is at least 10,000 investors into minimum of 500,000 $. However maximum visa issued is 10,000K. So on an average only 3,500 investors and their families get the visa. Also in the best case scenario, one gets the capital redemption after or around 5 years. So even in the best case scenario it is 10,000 X 500,000$ X 5 (years). So this amount of money is in US economy and creating infrastructure as well mandatory jobs, which further propel the economy. Also with decades of backlog, more and more money is being added to the economy, which remains in the economy for much longer.

          Now lets look at the real scenario. A Chinese investor investing in 2018-2019 is looking at 20 -30 years before capital redemption, Vietnamese investor @ 7 – 10 years and an Indian investor @ 6 – 9 years. So if you do the math, you realize that US economy gets access to a capital which is creating infrastructure as well as jobs which is coming from outside, has no risk to the US tax- payer, a capital with less than 0.5 % return to the investor (lendor if we use the banking term) and is available to the industry/economy for decades without worrying about risk of deployment or re-deployment. All risk are literally borne by the investors.

          I am not a financial person, just an average joe but to me, it seems like a big big asset to US economy without much risk. Would love to ascertain your opinion ?

          • Sameer Deshpande says:

            @Chandra Ojha, an Indian investor who invests today can’t get their money within 6-9 years, and will probably have to wait for at least a decade to get their money back.

            Let’s say, it’ll take 12 months to get 526 approval and another 6 years to get the visa number. That makes it 7 years right off the bat. Add 6 months to file 485 / 260, and 21 months waiting period to file 829, and then another year to get 829 approval.

            That makes it at least 10 years before an Indian investor gets their money back if they chose the EB-5 visa route. In contrast, we can get our money back in 5 years if we chose the EB-1c visa option, and we’d get our permanent green cards in about 3 years. I read the post by Shaikh on LinkedIn ( https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6514224747339972608/?commentUrn=urn%3Ali%3Acomment%3A(activity%3A6514224747339972608%2C6514443412203278336)&replyUrn=urn%3Ali%3Acomment%3A(activity%3A6514224747339972608%2C6514458551602286592) ), where he spoke about the securities fraud being committed by U.S. Immigration Fund (www.usifund.com), and I think he’s right, because when I spoke with one of their agents, they tried to convince me that it’d take only 2 years to get my conditional PR status, and thanks to Susan’s great work, we know that it’s impossible for Indians to get conditional PR status (aka temporary green cards) within 6 years.

            More disturbing was the fact that USIF agents and employees didn’t even bother to disclose the fact that USIF has been sued for fraud by dozens of EB-5 visa investors.

            Just makes me wonder what else do regional centers hide from us?

        • Kelly says:

          Totally agree with you about the poorly communicated waiting time & outright fraud and stealing that happened because of so little oversight.

          Speaking of current Chinese EB5 and the near future of Vietnam, I cannot helping thinking of “modern slavery”. Investors’ money were slaved in the name of visa backlog and difficult to withdraw, even though they have created 10 jobs, which is the legislative intent of Congress.

          Some PPM even slave the money until 829 approval even if some investors want to give up immigration process. Lifetime redeployment for nothing? Only slavery can be so evil.

          • Chandra Ojha says:

            @Sameer Deshpande

            You have mentioned EB1C several times in the past. Isn’t it only for company transfers ? Or is there any other EB1C which I don’t know about ? EB5 is a modern day visa slavery, no doubt about it. However for people like me, who have been in US since 2007, trained in some of the best places as Interventional Cardiologist, build a heart hospital from scratch but still faced wage theft and face visa hostage situation every day, wonder how can EB1C be an option ? If there is, please enlighten me. I will be able to help a lot of my colleagues who are just in a career deadlock because of visa compulsions.

  9. harvey says:

    With lifetime visa backlog & endless redeployment after creating 10 jobs, #EB5 IS biggest ponzi scheme on planet!!! Please reform it,make American honest again!

  10. harvey liu says:

    If u have no enough bus seats but sell much tickets. That’s frauding.
    No visa quotas but absorb # EB5 capital is USA style frauding.
    Please stop the worldwide EB5 fraud.

  11. Amit says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Are expedited projects like Tryon eligible for expedited processing of I-526 only or I-485 approval as well ?

    Because, I notice some of the Tryon project’s applicants AOS were approved much earlier than other normal project AOS cases (ie FIFO not strictly being followed).

    As India retrogression is fast approaching this will be a worrying matter for non expedited (ie normal) project based applicants

    Thanks
    Amit

    • Chandra Ojha says:

      @ Amit: If you join the EB telegram community, you will realize that quite a few people have got expedited approval of I 526 and successful I 526. I think it is too late for India by now. All of us have to plan for future with retrogression, not without it. When is your priority date ?

      • Thenga Mandai says:

        Chandra,

        I am Indian as well and have a priority date of December, 2017. When do you expect the likely availability of visa if processed per normal times (20 – 24 months)?

        Thank you,

        • Chandra Ojha says:

          Amit,

          So at this point it doesn’t truly matter, how soon your I 526 is approved. We all are going to face retrogression. Very likely your visa will be available by late 2020 or early (first two quarters) of 2021. If I remember correctly, December 2017 had lots of applicants. Hence it will make a big difference ( few months) if you applied early or late in December 2017.

          • TM says:

            Thank you Chandra. My priority date is December 5t so is it safe to assume visa availability in late 2020?

          • Chandra Ojha says:

            @ TM. Sorry .. I got mixed up in the last message. I do hope so that you will have CGC before the end of 2020

          • TM says:

            Thank you, Chandra. What is the link to the EB telegram community?

        • Sid says:

          Here is the link to the telegram group: It is run by EB5 investors such as yourself: https://t.me/EB5VisaGroup

  12. harvey says:

    #EB5 Industry and Stakeholder Letter Requesting a Meeting with @MickMulvaneyOMB on Antiquated Regulations.
    http://eb5coalition.org/press-room/eb-5-industry-letter-requesting-a-meeting-with-omb-on-antiquated-regulations/

    We have finally found that these interest groups have been blocking EB5 reform, such as EB5 coalition, iiusa, U.S. Chamber of Commerce etc. These big real estate developers are trying to get and lock up the cheap capital of EB5 . They talk about the reform only orally and actually block any reform that is conducive to improving backlog and optimizing EB5 rules. They are totally disregarding investors’s lives, they only care about themselves. This time they exposed their greed and hypocrisy. They only want to extend the backlog indefinitely to achieve the purpose of permanent occupancy of EB5 funds. OMG, poor modern eb5 salves who stuck in backlog.

    • Kelly says:

      It seems from 2015 until now, they blocked EB5 reform time after time. What is worse, they took advantage of EB5 reform possibilities to cry wolf time after time, in order to mislead more investors to EB5. How clever they are!!!

      As clever business man, it seems they even want to take advantage of out-dated&ambiguous EB-5 laws to occupy money forever.

      In the end, maybe all the tragedy which happens to investors, result from investors‘ own stupid. Stupid investors deserve to be cheated and slaved!

      What kind of industry can be so high-handed? I have to say thanks to EB5 industry to let us experience “modern slavery” in 21st century!

      • I am also angry that a very small group of people blocked attempts to implement certain EB-5 program changes. However, remember that they specifically blocked proposals that would have made EB-5 more expensive by increasing the minimum investment amount and changing targeted employment area rules. Prospective EB-5 investors also did not want such changes, and also would have blocked them if they could. To my knowledge, no one has ever blocked a proposal to reform EB-5 with measures that would increase visa availability or decrease wait times. That’s partly because the industry has had no opportunity, because Congress has never offered that kind of reform. But I’m confident that the industry would eagerly welcome that kind of reform, if it were offered — who could dare to do otherwise?

        • eric yao says:

          We all want more visa numbers. However, before TEA reform and price increase can be done, the congress doesn’t seem to have much appetite. To some extent, I agree with their logic. We have to fix things first, before we can grow. It is true that the price has been extremely low compared to other countries. More importantly, low price directly resulted in higher demand, so the low price is the NO. 1 cause to retrogression. For TEA, I don’t want to waste time here. The development of the country is not balanced.

          What the existing investors are angry about is the self-serving nature of a certain regional centers. They spend money and effort to block price increase. Keep price artificially low helps the regional centers, but not their clients. Price increase would discourage demand and hence less people jumping the line. This is true to all major EB-5 markets – mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, India. So price increase benefits all existing investors.

          At this point of time, to regional centers, how many existing EB-5 clients and how many prospective customers? The number of existing clients would be way more than prospective customers. Yet, a handful of self-serving regional centers would not care about the interest of their existing clients AT ALL! Their money God told them, money from the existing clients is already in your pocket, no need to worry about what they say. Keep them in your pocket as long as you could, and go get the new fish!

          • Kelly says:

            Dear Eric,

            Thanks a lot for speaking for us-existing investors, who have been totally abandoned. I agreed with you. Only after TEA reform and price increase can be done, the congress may have the appetite to increase visa numbers. Price increase benefits all existing investors.

            We are indeed angry about the self-serving nature of a certain regional centers. Besides, some investors want to give up immigration process to get money back. However, it seems PPM have already locked the money until 829 approval. Visa backlog seems to give them good excuses to keep our money forever.

  13. tpk129 says:

    It probably isn’t a good idea to use the words “slavery” and “slaves” on this thread. The terms are inflammatory and distract from valid arguments and drive away support for the cause. Completely understand the high degree of frustration and desire to lash out, but it would be more productive to do so in a different way as these terms are quite offensive in the U.S. and don’t apply in this situation.

    The bad actors in the program still exist and, in some cases, are leading the effort to stop reforms from happening…it doesn’t help meet their goal of committing larceny.

  14. Harry says:

    Can someone please advice if they know from there centers, what is the latest I-526 application recently approved & Date on those..!! I am anxiously waiting for my I-526 to be approved so i can apply 485 & at least get EAD. Mine is Aug 30th 2018- INDIA..Thanks

    • Chandra Ojha says:

      @ Harry .. mine is July 17th 2018. Not to be pessimistic and shatter your hopes but it will be very unlikely. Of course, just like life, nobody knows the fate or luck but to be realistic, very unlikely. When I applied, I hoped that with single source of income and every single dollar accounted for in US, ( I trained here from 2007 – 2014 as an Interventional Cardiologist, in job since late 2014), my application might be processed faster (just a hope). However I am not confident anymore, it seems that I have to accept “Visa hostage” situation till late 2022 at the earliest.

      One never knows the luck, however with retrogression bound to happen by July-August, I think we have to be realistic.

      • Harry says:

        Thanks for the reply & sympathy 🙂 .. Coming back to dates, has anyone moved pass the March 2018 recently as i last I head was it is somewhere at March 2018.. !! Also does it depends on project to Project as i keep hearing from some center? Hoping for some miracle to avoid another queue ( already in line with EB2-INDIA for last 8 years ).

        • Chandra Ojha says:

          @ Harry

          Last what I have heard is March 2018 as well. Seems to have stalled since. Don’t know if USCIS resources have been diverted for H1B visa lottery etc. I think we have to hope for the best but plan for the worse. I haven’t completely given up but I am resigned to the visa hostage situation till early 2023.

  15. Sameer Deshpande says:

    @Chandra Ojha,

    EB-1c visas are also for those investors who own their own businesses in India or their spouse owns businesses in India, and the investor does the joint venture with a US company. Shaikh’s firm (SmartBusinessBroker) does the joint venture with Indian business owners and sponsors their green card under EB-1C visa category.

    With EB-1c, we can get our permanent green card in 3 years and our money back in 5 years, and that makes it a lot more attractive for me when compared to EB-5 visas. My friend had his wife relocate to India and do a business for a year, after which they went ahead and filed for L1A and EB-1c through Shaikh, and my brother also started his process with Shaikh, and I’m most probably going to start myself within the next 8-10 weeks. My friend’s wife got the L1A visa, and he got the L2 visa, which anyway allows him to work without restrictions, and that gave us a lot of confidence in Shaikh’s ability to deliver.

    Based on what you’ve said about yourself, it’s probably going to be easy for you too to get an EB-1c visa, and a lot cheaper too. We found the EB-1c visa (investment + fees) to be about 20% cheaper than the EB-5 visa, but more importantly, we found the time it takes to get a permanent green card under the EB-1c category to be half that it takes to get a temporary green card under EB-5, and also realized that we’d get our money back in 5 years under EB-1c as opposed to 10+ years under EB-5.

    • Chandra Ojha says:

      @ Sameer Deshpande

      Thanks Sameer. I didn’t about that. Also I have no business experience or acumen. In addition, I am practicing Interventional Cardiologist. I have already applied for EB5 and is waiting. I will look into the option of EB1C for my friends.

      As you are aware, a lot of EB5 applicants by Indian national are H1B to EB5

    • sid says:

      eb1 for india has a 7-10+ year wait as well at this point if you file today (PD from 2019). it’s not much faster that eb5 really unless and possibly slower unless you have a PD from mid 2018 or earlier. In addition, ROW has been eating up all the visas (as evidenced by eb-1 not being current for any country) leaving India with less and less of the leftover EB1 visas . In addition, you can also expect lots of eb2 upgrades from those with PDs in 2012 to 2019 so the wait could end up being longer (i know lots of people taking this route once they realized eb2 is a dead end). Article with a numerical analysis:

      https://www.cato.org/blog/150-year-wait-indian-immigrants-advanced-degrees

      • Chandra Ojha says:

        @Sid

        My friends have EB1 A PD of March 2017 and are still waiting. I have EB2 – PD of March 2017, so if EB1A/B happens, I can port it. However my gamble of joining the University has not paid off as they have not been keen to live up to the promise while hiring me. In hindsight, seems like a big blunder but at least with EB5 PD of July 2018, I can hope to be out of this “visa hostage” situation by end of 2022 or early 2023.

        Unfortunately EB1 is now, what EB2 used to be.

        • Sameer Deshpande says:

          Dear Chandra,

          You can be sure that you can’t get a cgc before 2023, which is why I’m surprised that you aren’t looking at EB-1C for yourself, when you can easily get a permanent green card by the end of 2022 at the latest.

          • Chandra Ojha says:

            @ Sameer

            I took secured loans of my retirement funds and is practicing Interventional Cardiologist. Still paying the loan. Where will I get money to file for EB1C ? I know nothing about business, how can I just take such a big risk !!!!!!

      • Sameer Deshpande says:

        Dear Sid,

        I am not an immigration lawyer, but do have the sense to consult them instead of just trusting anyone. I double checked with 2 independent immigration lawyers, and they both confirmed that I can expect to get my permanent green card in about 3 years under the EB-1C category if I invested today, and I am willing to wait for even 4 years to get my permanent green card, because I’ll still be ahead of the game. I don’t know what’s your agenda, but I do know that I trust numbers and the advice of 2 independent immigration lawyers who don’t know each other, more than I trust people like you. I didn’t even trust Shaikh, I ensured that I verified everything he said with third parties.

        • PR says:

          Sameer your posts are clearly advertisement for some Shaikh. If you don’t know I want to tell you that you are spamming. Can you please stop posting these repeated advertisement here it makes eyes hurt.

          I am sure most folks would already know but if you Google this broker Shaikh, you will find that this whole business seems pretty shady with several negative reviews from people who were cheated.

          • tpk129 says:

            By gosh…I think you’re right! Hadn’t seen the names “Smart Business Brokers” and Shaikh in quite some time. They appear to be licensed in Florida based on a quick check this morning. One review I saw was negative, but current tell if this was just a personal fight between two guys or not…it was nasty though.

          • PR says:

            Yeah their business address is a 3 bedroom home worth less than a single investor’s investment. I would’t buy even candy from such a shady business run from home. It is surprising to see they don’t even have a proper office forget about any legit business staff to help their investors.

            I know folks are smart and would do their own research but yeah would request Sameer to please stop spamming.

          • Chandra Ojha says:

            I agree, I think Sameer is not doing himself a favor by doing this again and again, even if he means well. I think he is just using this forum to promote, what is not right.

        • PR says:

          Sameer did you invest with that Shaikh? How much did you invest? Did you file your EB1c? Do you know high rejection rate in EB1c due to all fraud in that category?

          The new Shaikh business seems a new low for EB1c fraud 😦

        • Sid says:

          Hi Sameer,

          I have no agenda – many immigration lawyers don’t know the facts either about country specific waits. They are looking at their clients who applied 3 years ago and getting GCs today and based on that, they are telling you will get it in 3 years. This is the same mistake lawyers have been making for years in EB3 and EB2 and now they are repeating for EB1.

          From my experience, I filed an EB-2 in Q4 2011 and four(yes four!) different independent immigration lawyers told me I would get my GC by 2016. It’s 2019 and I don’t expect my EB2 date for Q4 2011 to be current for another decade (Charlie himself said it will take 5 years for EB2 to reach end of 2010 !) . These experts were off by 15+ years and possibly much more than that.

          Instead of relying on anyone’s opinion, you can do the math yourself by going here: https://www.cato.org/blog/150-year-wait-indian-immigrants-advanced-degrees

          As per USCIS published data in May 2018 (link is in article), there are 34,824 pending EB1s from India as of May 2018. Since EB1 ROW is not current in the latest bulletin, you can assume that USCIS expects all EB1 visas to be used by ROW in FY 2019. This also implies that India will not get more than 7% of all EB1 visas (ie 2800) per year. Assuming this trend continues (which I agree doesn’t need to but is a reasonable assumption), some simple division (34824/2800) leads to the conclusion that the wait is 12+ years for EB1. To make things worse, we don’t know how many people have applied from EB1 India between May 2018 and April 2019 so the line could be significantly longer. Another thing is people with EB2 dates between 2012 and 2017 are upgrading to EB1. My estimate of 7-10 year might actually be conservative if anything.

          I’d love to hear back from you after you’ve spoken to your lawyers and see if they can argue against my logic above.

          • Sameer Deshpande says:

            Hi Sid, we did discuss the Cato article and estimates too, and both the lawyers told me that they expected me to get my permanent green card in about 3-4 years based on latest State Department numbers. The USCIS estimate is 1.4 dependents per petition, and Cato seems to think that it’s a lot higher. Immigration Lawyers tend to go with official USCIS and State Department estimates, as opposed to other non-governmental organizations, especially because their figures are incongruent with official figures. Secondly, the Cato article is unreliable as it doesn’t show EB-5 visa figures to compare and contrast with EB-1c.

          • Chandra Ojha says:

            @ Sid .. lot of Doctors are upgrading from EB2 to EB1. We are taking massive salary cuts, joining a year or two of clinical research fellowship etc. One of my friend is a NIH researcher who got expedited EB1A approved in March 2017. Still waiting and most likely will become current by October 2019. Reportedly there are 6,000 EB1 for India between April 2017 and December 2017. So one can do the math.

            Also Victoria Chen is the most successful lawyer for EB1A, at least for doctors or medical researcher. As per her EB1 , ROW (rest of the world) will become current in October 2019 briefly but will retrogress soon after. So at least among the medical community, the understanding is that EB1 for India will be at least few years for people applying now. The big benefit of successful EB1 application for people like me, if I happen to succeed in future would be that I could port it to my EB2 or PNIW (Physician National Interest Waiver).

            Also keep in mind that up until 2016, left overs EB5 used to come to EB1, which will not happen anymore. So having friends who got GC in 2 weeks with succesful EB1A application in 2015, now I have friends from 2017 waiting for more than a year and half.

  16. Sameer Deshpande says:

    @Chandra, AFAIK, it’s easy to reclaim your money from any regional center by claiming securities fraud, which would be super easy to prove in case of regional centers, because they usually don’t disclose material facts honestly. You could easily invest your money in your own business such as a clinic, so that should be something you can easily do. You’re an Indian like me, and doing business is easy for Indians, so don’t think you lack the brains or the perseverance to succeed in business, when you’ve already succeeded so spectacularly in life.

    @PR and tpk129, I’m not promoting Shaikh, just pointing out the reasons my friend and my brother went with him, and the reason I’m going with him too in a few weeks. I’m not in the business of marketing other people’s businesses, I’m just pointing out why I finally decided to choose Shaikh instead of the shady regional center guys who’ve been accused of fraud by the SEC, FBI, etc. I actually went through Shaikh’s blog (http://eb5-expert.blogspot.com/) where he’s been helping EB-5 visa investors avoid the fraud committed by regional centers since 2012, and also looked at his LinkedIn posts for the past few years, and that helped me get a lot more confidence in him, because whatever he used to say about securities fraud committed by regional centers is exactly what the SEC and FBI ended up saying in their indictments against regional centers. Due to this, I’m more inclined to trust Shaikh, because whatever he alleged is exactly what the SEC and FBI also alleged in their indictments.

    I’ve yet to see Shaikh being indicted by anyone for fraud, while I’ve seen over a hundred cases where regional centers have been accused of fraud.

    I saw the negative reviews of Shaikh too, and it seems those were of disgruntled rivals, because if he was really a fraudster, there would’ve been at least ONE successful case against him, instead of him being clearly smeared by business rivals who’ve their own agenda.

    Anyway, PR, why are you, Sid, and tpk129 so scared about disclosing your real names? If you want to make allegations, at least make them with your own true names, so that we know what you’re saying and why you’re saying it. If Chandra, Harvey, Eric, and I are willing to openly say our names, why are you, Sid, and tpk29 unwilling to openly disclose your identities?

    Are you guys affiliated with regional centers? If yes, why would anyone trust you?

    Forget me, anyone who does their research diligently would find Shaikh more credible than either of you is because he had the guts to openly accuse regional centers of fraud since 2012, while here you’re casting aspersions on a man’s integrity in a cowardly manner without even disclosing your own names and agenda.

    I personally think that you, tpk129, and Sid are affiliated with regional centers, and I simply don’t trust regional center guys who lie about many things in order to fraudulently induce investors into making investments. If you can grow a spine and get the courage to speak openly while disclosing your own identities and agenda, please let us know. Otherwise stop trying to fool us investors by deflecting attention from the fact that fraudsters affiliated with regional centers are the reason that investors are suffering. Please remember that unlike Chinese, we Indians have full access to Google and are fluent in English, so it’s a lot easier for us to figure out who’s doing what and why they’re doing it.

    As I mentioned several months ago, I’ve yet to see even one regional center’s CEO and CFO come up and offer a written guarantee that the regional center will fully disclose all material facts and not engage in conflict of interest. So far, not a single regional center’s CEO has had the guts to come up and offer such a written guarantee. Shaikh’s company is willing to offer that written guarantee along with a full fee refund guarantee. Is it any surprise then that my friend, my brother, and even I are going to go with a company that is a) willing to give a written guarantee that they will disclose all material facts, b) avoid conflict of interest, and c) give a full fee refund guarantee in case we’re denied due to his company’s fault? I wasn’t going with EB-1c as my first preference, but when Shaikh’s company is willing to offer guarantees that aren’t offered by regional centers, and can help me get my permanent green card in half the time it’d take me to get a temporary green card from regional centers, and give me my money back in half the time it’d take me to get my money back from regional centers, I’d be a fool to go with regional centers.

    I know better than to get fooled by fraudsters. I looked at things objectively and did my research, instead of letting fraudsters influence my opinions and decisions.

    • PR says:

      @Sameer I think identify and investment disclosure would help clear some dust. Let’s start with following,

      1. Linked in profiles of you, your brother, friend who invested.
      2. How much they invested ? Business structure and how it justifies international managers requirements ?
      3. For last few months you have been saying your investing in 8-10 weeks what’s holding you back? Why is it still 8-10 weeks? Why your clocks is stuck ?

      • Sameer Deshpande says:

        Dear PR,

        I asked your to identify yourself first, as I believe you and the regional center affiliated people need to identify yourselves clearly and also mention who you work with.

        I don’t have a LinkedIn profile, but do view posts based upon Google alerts.

        I’ve already signed my contract and am just waiting to get finally get all my money before I invest with Shaikh, as I faced a delay in getting my funds in hand. I wasn’t promoting Shaikh, I was pointing out the reasons I found it easier to trust him than to trust a regional center, of which the foremost reason is that I still haven’t come across any regional center CEO who’s willing to offer a written guarantee of freedom from fraud and conflict of interest. The other factors that influenced me are the fact that I’d get my green card and money back in half the time it’d take with regional centres.

        You can say whatever you want, but you definitely can’t deny the fact that regional centres are basically fraudsters.

  17. tpk129 says:

    I’m not certain why you included me in your comments as I didn’t say anything negative about you or Shaikh. But given that you have swept me in these 831 words of diarrhea of the mouth…I guess keyboard in this case…does call for a rebuttal! Only picked these three gems of wisdom you chose to offer-

    • “You’re an Indian like me, and doing business is easy for Indians…” Right, the entire world
    knows this as fact! Painfully obvious you don’t possess the skills you claim, but you’ve
    proven that you’re an arrogant putz!

    • “I’m not promoting Shaikh, just pointing out the reasons my friend and my brother went with
    him, and the reason I’m going with him…” This is what we call “promoting Shaikh”!

    • “…it’s easy to reclaim your money from any regional center by claiming securities fraud,
    which would be super easy to prove in case of regional centers…” Are you joking? Please
    explain this to the thousands of Chinese and others who would love to get their money back.
    You’ve lost all credibility with this one statement, as well as proven your ability to structure
    a sentence is not your strong suit.

    As a dolt, you’ve provided plenty of fodder and I could probably continue ad infinitum, but it isn’t worth the effort. I’m heading to the kitchen to make French toast….better use of my time than responding to your nonsense.

    Do us a favor and please find another country to pursue your dreams…if not, hopefully we’ll stop you at the border.

    • Chandra Ojha says:

      @ Sameer

      My humble request to you. Focus on your life and your goals. Thanks for your help. You have no idea of what other people do and then you come up with all these ideas which further wrecks our whatever little hope we have. Dude, we made the decision, we are ok with it. We will wait. We are grateful that we at least have this pathway.

      Please focus on your life and work.

  18. Kishor says:

    Sameer Deshpande is a troll. if you want to do Eb1 go do it. Dont come and brag about it on an EB5 dicussion. Go away dude. you are not contributing anything useful for Eb5 discussion.

  19. har says:

    Recently,EB-5 Coalition Calls for Obama-era #EB5 Regulation Withdrawal
    https://t.co/ah2PPsLo5I

    acctually, The political agenda of those who make these predictions is obvious.
    Repeatedly, EB- 5 proponents intentionally mischaracterize the regulations as
    “Obama – era” regulations. However, there is no evidence that the reform of the
    EB- 5 Program (the “Program”) or the elimination of TEA abuse was a priority, or
    even a focus, of President Obama. If the regulations should be labeled, the
    “Grassley -era regulations ” would be more appropriate.
    A s the industry is well aware, then Chairman of the Senate Judiciary
    Committee , Charles Grassley (R- IA), an ardent supporter of President Trump and
    a foe of President Obama , was the driving force behind these regulations. After
    the first EB – 5 reform bill failed at the end of the December 2015, Senator Grassley,
    at the first Committee hearing on EB- 5 reform in February 2016 , repeatedly
    pressed the DHS to issue regulations.

    TO label the EB5-reform Obama-Era that does not belong to it.
    Even for the selfish interests of the industry, the big real estate developers in N.Y. should not use the political differences between President trump & Obama to provoke & mislead the American public which only make the American public more disgusted with this dirty industry and investors will be more disappointed in the reform!

    see more report on : “EB-5 Reform on the Horizon” — NYU Stern School of Business
    https://www.stern.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/assets/documents/EB-5%20Reform%20on%20the%20Horizon%20-%20If%20the%20Palm%20House%20Hotel%20Debacle%20Does%20Not%20Precipiate%20Congressional%20Action,%20What%20Will.pdf

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