Friday, November 20, 2015

Ten Facts about EB-5 Immigrant Investor Fiscal Year 2015 Numbers

(Source: Bernard Wolfsdorf) USCIS released data for both I-526 immigrant investor petitions and I-829 applications to remove conditions for the Fiscal Year 2015 ending September 30, 2015. Here are some interesting facts:
  1. 6,575 petitions representing over $3.2 billion dollars of investments were filed in the last 3 months of FY 2015 from July 1, 2015-September 30, 2015.
  2. 17,367 petitions representing over $8.68 billion dollars of investments were pending as of September 30, 2015.
  3. A total of 8,756 petitions were approved in FY 2015 versus 4,925 in FY 2014, representing an increase of almost twice as many approvals. In 2008 there were 642 petitions approved.
  4. On the positive side only 1,051 I-526 petitions were denied representing an approval rate of 88%.
  5. In FY 2014, 1,169 petitions were denied and only 4,925 approved, therefore the denial rate dropped by almost 100%.
  6. Only 1,067 I-829 final applications to remove conditions were approved in FY 2015, which is far less than FY 2014 when 1,603 I-829 applications were approved.
  7. On the positive side, only 11 I-829 cases were denied in FY 2015 versus 1,067 that were approved representing a 99% approval rate.
  8. As of the end of FY 2015, there were 4,049 I-829 petitions pending, almost twice as many as in FY 2014, which had 2,075 pending.
  9. USCIS adjudication times continue to increase with I-526 average processing times reaching 14.4 months; I-829s reaching 15.4 months and I-924s at 11.6 months.
  10. The Regional Center program presently sunsets December 11, 2015.
Comment: The billions of dollars brought into the U.S. and thousands of jobs created by the EB-5 program, without costing tax payers one penny, is indisputable. Can Congress get its act together and simply extend the program and stop playing political football trying to decide whether this money goes to rural or urban projects? Trying to fleece immigrants by increasing the amount to $1.2 million and $800,000 for targeted employment/rural areas isn’t necessary. Congress should pass a multi-year extension and focus its efforts on the many critical problems our country faces.  Increasing the minimum investment amount retroactively and destroying billions of dollars of existing projects, is just plain bad policy. The U.S. admits almost 1 million immigrants annually, including 50,000 randomly selected by lottery. Why can’t the U.S. agree to continue to admit 3,500-4,000 immigrant investor families? Congress needs to take action and extend the program to 2019 and increase the EB-5 quota to 10,000 families, now.

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