Friday, December 30, 2016

Five Important EB-5 Facts from 2016

(Source: Wolfsdorf Rosenthal) The U.S. government has released the final statistics for Fiscal Year 2016, providing critical information regarding the EB-5 program.
  1. During the past 3 years, 39,443 Form I-526 petitions were filed, representing almost $20 billion of capital invested in the U.S. economy, creating thousands of new jobs.
  2. Only 10,000 green cards may be issued to EB-5 applicants and their immediate family members each year. Because family members are counted against this 10,000 immigrant visa quota, approximately only 3,000 investments result in green cards each year. This has created a current waiting line of almost 3 years for Chinese investors who make up over 80% of EB-5 investors. In contrast, 50,000 green cards are issued annually based on a random lottery and about 700,000 people permanently immigrate via family petitions.
  3. 20,804 Form I-526 petitions are currently still pending, despite the approval of more than half, or 2,851 of the 5,509 petitions filed in the 4th quarter of Fiscal Year 2016. In the 4th quarter of Fiscal Year 2016, 293 petitions were denied and 2,851 were approved, reflecting an approval rate of about 90%.
  4. In Fiscal Year 2016, a total of 14,147 petitions were filed, almost exactly the same number as Fiscal Year 2015, when 14,373 petitions were filed. This is still substantially above the 10,923 petitions filed in Fiscal Year 2014 and represents an extraordinary $7.5 billion annual investment over the last two years. However, this statistic also shows there is an issue as the program appears to be reaching a plateau almost certainly caused by concerns about the increasingly long waiting line for Chinese applicants. It is time for Congress to take action to resolve this by borrowing at least 10,000 visas annually from the 55,000 allocated annually to the green card lottery.
  5. In Fiscal Year 2016, a mere 86 Form I-829 petitions for final green card approval were denied (less than 5%), while 1,758 petitions were approved. With an approval rate of over 95%, it appears USCIS is reluctant to remove investors after their conditional permanent residency is granted.
Unless the U.S. Congress takes steps to increase the EB-5 quota soon, the 2016 Fiscal Year will have represented the pinnacle of a hugely beneficial program which provides enormous amounts of capital investment and creates thousands of jobs annually.