16 Apr Our firm participated in the pivotal Invest in the USA (IIUSA) conference held in Washington, D.C.
Pivotal IIUSA Meetings in Washington DC
April 15, 2015
I.A. Donoso & Associates participated in the pivotal Invest in the USA (IIUSA) conference held in Washington, D.C. held on April 12-13, 2015.
The IIUSA conference were a mirror of the state of the EB-5 Regional Center program.Exponential growth in the EB-5 program leading to a waiting list for mainland China EB-5 applicants, coupled with the continuing challenge of assuring the renewal of the EB-5 Regional Center Program.
Attendance at the conference was at an all-time high of over 400 attendees. Conference attendees represented regional centers and service providers – such as lawyers, economists, financial services companies – from across the U.S.
Current and former government officials appeared in person to provide news and opinions about the future of the EB-5 program. These officials included Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security during the government of George W. Bush. Also appearing were Maria Odom, the current Ombudswoman for the USCIS.
The regional centers who attended were a testament to the millions of dollars in capital raised, thousands of visa petitions approved, and thousands families who have been able to pursue the American Dream while helping create jobs in the U.S.
EB-5 Waiting List
Growth in the EB-5 Regional Center Program was epitomized by two facts:
- First, there have been more I-526 visa petitions filed with USCIS in 2015 than in 2014. There is a backlog of over 13,000 visa petitions still to be decided by USCIS.
- Second, there is finally a waiting list for EB-5 visas for mainland China applicants. This is the first time ever that a waiting list occurs in the EB-5 Program – which is a testament to how far the EB-5 program has advanced from the years when less than 1,000 cases were filed.
Charles Oppenheim, the Department of State official who has personally managed the visa waiting list for decades, appeared personally at the IIUSA Conference to deliver the news.
The EB-5 waiting list for mainland China applicants will start on May 1, 2015, and cause a delay of approximately 2 years. Applicants from mainland China whose I-526 visa petition was filed before May 1, 2013 are not subject to the waiting list. Similarly, only principal applicants born in mainland China are caught by the waiting list.
Conference seminars dedicated a great deal of time and effort at explaining complicated rules and strategy for helping investors with children who may be excluded from the visa because they turn 21 during the waiting list
Renewal of the EB-5 Regional Center Program
The IIUSA conference also focused on the challenge of obtaining the renewal of the EB-5 Regional Center program after September 30, 2015. IIUSA’s President, David Anderson, gave a stark assessment of the difficult road ahead in his opening remarks. Media reports have been critical of the program, and a USCIS report from the Office of Inspector General, indicated past problems in the decision-making procedure under former USCIS Director, Alejandro Mayorkas.
In response to this challenge, IIUSA approved an increase in its membership fees to provide a bigger war chest to conduct a broader lobbying and public relations effort on Congress.
In conversations with conference attendees, most expected the EB-5 Program to be renewed. Some believed that changes could be added to the EB-5 program, such as additional security and background checks on applicants. Overall, most conference attendees expected the new Republic Party majority in the U.S. Senate to lead the renewal of the EB-5 Regional Center program. It is likely that, as part of that process, hearings will be held during the summer of 2015, and a new proposed law to be prepared by the end of August of 2015.
The growth of the EB-5 Regional Center program has been extraordinary, which continues in 2015. The IIUSA meetings addressed the key issues facing the program today. The main challenge of the renewal of the EB-5 Regional Center program should be resolved.
For more information, please contact I.A. Donoso & Associates.