EB5 Investors Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1 | Page 44

Continued from page 43
Current Experiences January and February 2013
Regional Center Designations .
As of Feb . 15 , 2013 , the USCIS has published the list of 261 designated Regional Centers . This represents an approximate increase of 6 % since the beginning of 2012 .
USCIS Adjudication times for processing cases ?
As discussed by the writer with attorneys and Regional Centers , the following are the case processing times currently being experienced ( contrary to USCIS published information ):
I-526 – Direct hire + 6 months I-526 – Regional Centers + 12 months I-829 – Removal of Condition + 6 months I-924 – New Regional Center Applications + 1 year I-924 – Regional Center Amendment Applications + 1 year
Policy Memorandum dated Feb . 14 , 2013
The long awaited and updated draft Policy Memorandum has at last been disseminated . The subject is EB-5 Adjudications Policy and it covers 25 pages . Some of the highlights are :
• A reiteration of “ The Preponderance of Evidence Standard .”
• USCIS will continue to ensure program integrity . Cases affecting fraud , national security and public safety are being referred to the appropriate agencies .
• USCIS opines on the definitions of Capital and Invest and Amount of Capital That Must be Invested , as read in conjunction with the case law .
• Targeted Employment Area ( TEA ) and State ’ s Designation of TEAs
• New Commercial Enterprises are discussed , including purchasing , restructuring or expanding a new business ; pooled investments ; the requirement that the investor be engaged in the new enterprise ; and the location of the enterprise .
• Job Creation for Full-time positions , Troubled Businesses and those located within and outside the boundaries of a Regional Center .
• Pointers are given on the content of Forms I-526 , I-924 and I-829 . There is a “ Deference Policy ” where , absent fraud , USCIS will not readjudicate issues previously approved as part of a prior case filing .
• Material Change by deviating from the business plan filed with the I-526 may result in a denial of the I-829 to remove the conditional status . However , USCIS acknowledges “ the fluidity of the business world ” and now allows for changes to the business plan . A Readjudication of relevant parts of the case will be done at the I-829 stage .
Comments can be made to USCIS about the content of the draft before April 1 , 2013 .
What does the Future Hold ? Will there be a permanent EB-5 Regional Center Program ?
The Regional Center Program is due to sunset on Sept . 30 , 2015 . Congress has historically left the approval of the extension of the Regional Center Program to the last days before the sunsetting date . Will that be the case once again ? Or will Congress pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform law and incorporate the Regional Center Program , making it a permanent program ? This is the case with direct hire EB-5 cases . Finally , will there be a standalone bill to fix the actual and perceived problems with the program ( as well as making it a permanent program )?
USCIS will strictly apply all the rules and will collaborate with other agencies
For the past year , USCIS has applied the regulations in the narrowest context without regard to the overall benefit that the projects may bring to the U . S . job market and economy . The Draft Memorandum of Adjudication Policies of February 2013 appears to have relaxed the rigidity of the Service to take market realities into account .
We all look forward to approved cases and much faster adjudications in 2013 !
Securities and Exchange Commission files law suit against a Regional Center , an individual and a Limited Liability Company .
One of the agencies with which the USCIS collaborates is the Securities and Exchange Commission . A direct result of this policy appears to have resulted in a civil action being filed in the Northern District of Illinois , Eastern Division by the SEC against an individual and two companies , one being Intercontinental Regional Center Trust of Chicago . The allegations include defrauding foreign investors by selling $ 145 million in securities and collecting $ 11 million in administrative fees from about 250 individuals . The law suit was filed on Feb . 6 , 2013 .
USCIS , EB-5 Unit to move to Washington , D . C .
The EB-5 Division of USCIS ( currently based in Laguna Niguel , Calif .) is slated to be relocated to USCIS Headquarters in Washington , D . C . This will in all likelihood cause an additional delay with the adjudications .
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