IIUSA Submits Comments on EB-5 Reauthorization Legislation

IIUSA Submits Comments on EB-5 Reauthorization Legislation

Industry trade association believes a bill can be ready for Congress to pass before the December 11 sunset date

Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the non-for-profit industry association representing more than 290 EB-5 Regional Centers, has developed detailed comments on draft legislation reauthorizing the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The comments were submitted to the House and Senate Judiciary Committee leaders currently negotiating legislative language. Without passage of reauthorization legislation, the EB-5 Regional Center Program will expire on December 11.

Under EB-5, a program created by Congress with broad bipartisan support, foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 or $1,000,000 in approved U.S. businesses are eligible for permanent residency if the U.S. government confirms that their investment created at least 10 American jobs within two years of the investment.

“We greatly appreciate the leadership and hard work of Members of Congress to develop legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the EB-5 Regional Center Program,” said Peter D. Joseph, IIUSA Executive Director. “The EB-5 Program is an increasingly important tool for economic development and job creation across the nation. The latest draft bill is a significant improvement, and with the revisions outlined in our letter, we believe a bill can be ready for Congress to pass before the December 11 sunset date.”

IIUSA makes its recommendations after close and careful review of draft legislative language and consultation with its members who represent big and small projects, urban and rural areas and industry sectors ranging from real estate, manufacturing and energy to infrastructure and economic development. The comments build on a reauthorization and reform compromise proposal that IIUSA submitted to the Judiciary Committee leaders on November 2.

IIUSA’s latest comments and recommendations address a number of important issues including:

  • Effective Dates: IIUSA supports a “date of enactment” effective date for reform measures that will enhance government oversight to deter, stop and prosecute fraud and protect national security. However, it is imperative that reforms related to investors – e.g. investment amount, sources of funds, and job creation – are applied only to I-526 petitions filed after the date of enactment;    also critical is a transition period on any changes to permissible job creation methodologies and targeted employment areas (TEAs) in order to minimize unintended economic consequences of implementing reforms before regulations can be promulgated.
  • Indirect & Direct Job Creation: In its November 2 compromise proposal, IIUSA recommended that there be no change to current policy related to job creation methodologies. In the interest of securing reauthorization before December 11, IIUSA does not object to language in the draft legislation requiring that at least 10 percent of job creation used by investors to meet EB-5 requirement be direct jobs, so long as the rules on compliance are grounded in standard economic modeling practices.
  • Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs): IIUSA has recommended an approach to TEAs modeled on the State of California’s current policy which limits high unemployment TEAs to a geographic area or political subdivision consisting of no more than 12 contiguous census tracts. IIUSA appreciates the intent behind additional metrics to TEA policy, but we strongly believe that a simple and transparent TEA methodology is a superior approach that minimizes the opportunity for manipulation and abuse. Furthermore, IIUSA supports inclusion of “infrastructure” and “manufacturing” projects qualifying for TEA designation.
  • Investment Levels: Consistent with its compromise proposal, IIUSA recommends a new minimum investment levels of $800,000 in TEAs and keeping the non-TEA investment level at $1,000,000. The smaller difference between the two amounts will create a competitive marketplace for both investment levels while providing sufficient opportunity to qualify for TEA designation by qualifying projects.

In addition to these core four issues, IIUSA provided detailed technical comments to other reform provisions included in the draft legislation.

“We strongly believe that these recommendations provide a path to long term reform and reauthorization with no lapse in the Program,” commented Joseph. “This outcome will allow the EB-5 Program to maintain – and grow – its positive impact. In fact, the Program will be even stronger thanks to a number of important improvements to Program integrity and effectiveness.”

To read IIUSA’s full letter to Congress commenting on the bipartisan, bicameral discussion draft legislation, click here.


IIUSA Data Report: USCIS Publishes 2015 Q4 Adjudication Statistics Providing EB-5 Stakeholders with Full Year Program Data

On November 18th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published updated data for Q4 (July-September) pertaining to the number of I-526 petitions (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) and  I-829 petitions (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions) received, approved, denied and pending as of September 30, 2015.

IIUSA has put together data reports for I-526 petitions (click here), I-829 petitions (click here) and petition processing times (click here). Highlights and trend analysis are listed below.

I-526 Data Highlights:
  • USCIS received 6,500+ I-526 petitions in Q4 which was almost equal to the combined number of petitions received for the first three quarters of the fiscal year.
  • I-526 approvals dropped in Q4 by 25% to 2,185 which can likely be attributed to the large increase in receipts and longer processing times.
  • The Q4 I-526 approval rate declined to 85% which was the lowest quarter of FY2015.
  • FY2015 saw a large increase in the number of total filings with over 14,000 receipts.
  • In total there were 17,367 petitions pending with USCIS as of 9/30, representing approximately $8.7 billion in foreign direct investment into the U.S.
  •  For FY2015 EB-5 accounted for $4.378 billion in FDI representing a 71% increase year over year
  • Processing times for Q4 increased to 14.4 months, up from 13.8 months in Q3.
To view the full I-526 data report Click Here


I-829 Data Highlights: 
  • In Q4 USCIS received only 499 I-829 petitions which represents a 35% decrease from Q3 and a 49% decrease year-over-year
  • 461 I-829’s were approved in Q4 a 72% increase in approvals from Q3 which had previously  been the most productive quarter of the year.
  • There are currently 4,049 pending approvals pending which is a slight increase from the Q3 total of 4,007.
  • Processing times for I-829’s increased slightly from 15.4 months in Q3 to 15.5 months in Q4.
To view the full I-829 data report Click Here
Petition Processing Times: 
I-526 Petitions
  • As of 9/30/15, processing times adjusted to 14.4 months a significant slowdown from the 13.8 months figure from 8/31/15. The slowdown can be attributed to I-526 petitions riling rush prior the fiscal year deadline brought on by the EB-5 Regional Center Program “sunset date” of September 30, 2015.
I-829 Petitions
  • Processing times for I-829 petitions decrease slightly from 15.5 months on 8/31/15 to 15.4 months on 9/30/15.
I-924 Applications
  • Processing times for I-924 applications decrease from 12.3 months on 8/31/15 to 11.6 months on 9/30/15.
To view the full report on Processing times Click Here. 


U.S. Department of State Issues December Visa Bulletin – Cutoff Date for Mainland-Chinese EB-5 Applicants Advances

The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs released its Visa Bulletin for the month of December which revealed the cutoff date for Mainland Chinese EB-5 applicants advanced to December 15, 2013. The previous cutoff date from the November Visa Bulletin was November 22, 2013. The dates for filing EB-5 visa applications for Mainland-China is May 1, 2015.

Since May 1, 2015, Mainland Chinese-born immigrant investors have been subject to a cutoff date for EB-5 visa issuance, due to high demand for EB-5 category visas. This cutoff allows investors who filed their I-526 petitions on or before the priority date to receive a conditional green card once their I-526 is approved but places those who filed after the priority date into a “waiting line” until more visas become available.

Need a refresher on how the new Visa Bulletin works?
Review the recording of the September webinar, “Revisions to the Visa Bulletin for Adjustment of Status Applicants and It’s Implications for EB-5 Investors” (members can use the promo code for a 50% discount).

To Read the Full Bulletin Click Here 



Press Release: IIUSA Submits Amicus Brief in SEC v. Path America Case

IIUSA Submits Amicus Brief in SEC v. Path America Case

EB-5 industry trade association files as amicus curae in support of Immigrant Investors


Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the national not-for-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program (“the Program”), has filed an amicus brief in the ongoing securities litigation case against an EB-5 Regional Center located in Washington. The case Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) v. Path America, LLC, et al., No. 2:15-CV-01350-JLR, was filed in August in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Under EB-5, a program created by Congress with broad bipartisan support, foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 or $1,000,000 in approved U.S. businesses are eligible for permanent residency if the U.S. government confirms that their investment created at least 10 American jobs within two years of the investment.
Press Release
“We are appreciative of the Honorable Judge Robart granting our motion to file amicus in this case. IIUSA has a unique perspective as the non-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program that we believe will be helpful to the court and appointed receiver as proceedings continue,” said IIUSA Executive Director Peter D. Joseph.

In its amicus brief, IIUSA provides important background information about the EB-5 Program and the potential ramifications of the litigation for immigrant investors who have invested significant amounts of capital through Path America.

“While the court considers the allegations against Path America, it is critical that the interests of the immigrant investors be understood and protected. Steps should be taken to ensure, wherever possible, that the investors’ capital contributions be properly directed to legitimate job-creating projects so that they remain eligible for immigration benefits under the EB-5 Program.” said Joseph. “This type of investor protection, compliance with – and enforcement of – all applicable securities, anti-fraud laws and regulations are essential to maintain the confidence of all industry stakeholders and ensure that the EB-5 program continues to bring capital and job creation to American communities.”


Invest in the USA (IIUSA) is the national not-for-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program, Representing over 290 federally designated EB-5 Regional Centers. Approximately 95 percent of all capital raised through the EB-5 program is raised in affiliation with IIUSA’s members.


Member Perspective: EB-5 Visas and the Chinese Waiting Line by Bernard Wolfsdorf

EB-5 Visas and the ChBernieinese Waiting Line. Ten Things I learned from Mr. Charles Oppenheim, Department of State (DOS), Chief, Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting (including the fact that $1,794,259,000 – almost $2 billion was invested in the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2015)

By Bernard Wolfsdorf Esq., Managing Partner, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

View Article PDF Here


On October 22, 2015, Mr. Charles Oppenheim released critical information at the IIUSA conference in Dallas, Texas regarding the EB-5 program, including predictions as to the Chinese EB-5 waiting line.

In May 2015, the DOS announced the establishment of a cut-off date for the Chinese EB-5 category of May 2013, establishing a waiting line of 2 years for persons chargeable to the China quota. Remarkably, in the seven months from May 2015 to November 2015, the waiting line has not retrogressed once and has moved forward at the rate of about one month in every one of the 7 past visa bulletins. Fortunately, this trend continues for the entire first quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 (October 2015-December 2015), and slows down only slightly in the second quarter of FY 2016 (January 2016-March 2016). It may be noted Mr. Oppenheim has refrained from making predictions for the March 2016 EB-5 Visa Bulletin. This is despite the unprecedented surge in filings leading up to the critical September 30, 2015 sunset date when the program was extended for 10 weeks to December 11, 2015 as part of a continuing resolution.

Highlights of Mr. Oppenheim’s comments are:

1) The ACTUAL Final Action Date or cut-off date for China EB-5 for December 2015 will be December 15, 2013.

2) The ESTIMATED Final Action Date for China EB-5 for January 2016 will be January 8, 2014.

3) The ESTIMATED Final Action Date for China EB-5 for February 2016 will be January 15, 2014. Note for February the forward movement is only one week per month because of the workload implications associated with the start of the Chinese New Year, as opposed to January 2016 which represented a forward movement of three weeks. The rest of the world remains current with no with limit on the processing of cases ready for final action.

4) Most important, Mr. Oppenheim explained that based on current demand patterns, for September 2016, the last day of the FY 2016 year, a best case scenario for a China EB-5 Final Action Date would be May 2014 and the worst case would be April 2014. This of course could be April 1, 2014, and that date could be “frozen” at April 1, 2014 at any point during the summer months to hold visa issuances within the FY-2016 annual limit.

5) This means the waiting line for applicants chargeable to the China quota would continue to be about two years for the next few months and would only increase to about 2 1/2 years by the end of the 2016 Fiscal Year on September 30, 2016. Since most cases take at least 18 months to be scheduled for final interviews abroad, this means that for FY 2016 the additional waiting line caused by the China quota is a mere 6-12 months, hardly the catastrophe anticipated by the surge in EB-5 filings.(USCIS IPO average processing times) are presently 13.8 months and scheduling an interview in Guangzhou takes another 4-5 months).

6) On October 1, 2015, the FY 2016 limit of 9,940 EB-5 visas became available for use under the worldwide distribution.

7) For FY 2015 ending September 30, 2015, 9.764 EB-5 visas were issued of which 8,157 or 83.5% were from China with the rest of the world providing only 16.5% of applicants.

8) Vietnam provided the 2nd largest number of EB-5 immigrants with 280 immigrants representing 2.87% of the total. Third was Taiwan with 139 or 1.4%. South Korea was fourth with 116 or 1.2%. In 5th place was India with 111 or 1.1%. India joined the top 5 countries for the first time. It may also be noted that for the first time Asia provided all of the top 5 countries. In prior years, Mexico (FY 2014-129 visas) and Venezuela (FY 2013-92 visas) were in the top 5.

9) Of the 9,764 EB-5 visas issued, 9,689 or 99.23% were in the T5 ($500,000 Direct-TEA/Rural) and I5 ($500,000 Regional Cetner-TEA/Rural) categories and less than 1% (.77%) were in the C5 ($1m Direct) and R5 ($1m Regional Center) categories representing almost $5 billion dollars invested in the U.S. economy. This is slightly below the 10,692 issued in FY 2014. The reduction is because the number of visas available declined slightly as a result of less spillover from unused family visas together with many visa applicant “no-shows” for September 2015 immigrant visa interviews. Some were refused, primarily for not having all of the required documents, and were classified as Section 221(g) “soft “denials.

10) Of these 9,764 EB-5 visas, only 991 or roughly 10% adjusted status in the U.S., whereas 8,773 consular processed through American consulates or embassies abroad.

These critical statistics show the vitality and continued success of the EB-5 visa program which provides billions of dollars of capital every year to developers and U.S. industry while also creating thousands of jobs for U.S. workers without costing U.S. taxpayers a penny.

Since EB-5 deal flow is presently at least 5-6 years before an I-829 removal of conditions application is approved, and the money available for return to the investor, an estimated $25-$30 billion is in play. Moreover, with an estimated 15,000 petitions currently pending in the pipeline, representing about $7.5 billion, the stakes are high. In addition, many of these immigrants purchase homes and businesses magnifying the contribution to the U.S. economy. My experience is most of my EB-5 investor clients purchase homes in the $2-$5 million range adding another $20-$50 billion annually, not to mention the businesses purchased and an average $100,000 a year spent educating each child at private schools and colleges.

It’s time for Congress to step up to the plate and pass a permanent extension to the EB-5 program and to raise the quota. The EB-5 visa category is restricted to 7.1% of the 140,000 Employment Based Immigrant Visa allocated annually. The U.S. needs to issue EB-5 visas to 10,000 investors as originally intended by Congress, not the estimated 3,500 families currently processed. Each EB-5 petition presently uses approximately 2.7 visas on average. The reason being that the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that not only the investor’s visa issuance be counted against the EB-5 annual limit, but also their spouse and child’s visas, causing long waiting lines for Chinese investors.

This quota of approximately 10,000 was set by the Immigration Act of 1990 signed into law over 25 years ago by President George H.W. Bush. The quota has never been adjusted despite an over 1,000% increase in demand in the past 10 years alone. In contrast, 55,000 visas are allocated for the Diversity Lottery Program which are randomly awarded annually to applicants with a high school diploma or two years’ work experience. In addition, tens of thousands of visas available under the annual limits were not used during most of the earlier years of the EB-5 program. From FY 2006 to FY 2008, only 3,038 visas were issued so just for these 3 years there were almost 27,000 unused visas that need to be recaptured.

IIUSA is deeply grateful to Mr. Oppenheim of the U.S. Department of State for being among the government representatives speaking at the Dallas event from October 21-23, 2015. The EB-5 Market Exchange was attended by hundreds of developers, Regional Centers, industry specialists, and others actively involved in this important and highly successful investment visa program.


Join IIUSA at the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) National Summit, November 3-6 in Charleston, SC

The Council of Development Finance Authorities will be hosting their 2015 Annual Development Finance Summit in historic Charleston, SC this November 3-6. Hosted by the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA), the CDFA National Summit brings together the leaders and deal makers in the development finance industry to discuss best practices, trends, and project financing solutions.

The CDFA National Summit is a deal making event at its core with a program built to encourage networking and individualized learning about all types of development finance tools and programs. With hundreds of public and private sector development finance players in attendance the National Summit is a great opportunity to meet industry experts, connect with financing, learn about the latest approaches, and discover development finance solutions to bring to your local community.

The 2015 National Development Finance Summit will feature speakers from across the country presenting on a wide variety of topics. In addition to the panel discussion this years summit will include the CDFA South Carolina Round-table discussion, a project marketplace featuring projects in search of financing, a special one day course offered by the CDFA Training Institute on the brownfield redevelopment process and CDFA’s highly acclaimed training workshops.

IIUSA Director Peter D. Joseph will be a speaker on the “Ask an Expert: EB-5” panel session. Mr. Joseph will be joined by IIUSA member Mariza McKee of Kutak Rock, LLP while elsewhere IIUSA Member Cam Turner of United Fund Advisors will be presenting on New Markets Tax Credits. To view the full program agenda, click here.

Register for IIUSA’s Next Webinar: Form I-924A: Strategies for Fulfilling the Annual EB-5 Regional Center Reporting Requirement(10/29 3:00 pm EST/12:00 pm PST)

Panelists (Click Photos For Bios):
H. Ronald Klasko
Managing Partner, Klasko Immigration Law Partners 
Samuel Silverman
     Director, EB-5 Affiliate Network
Anna Morzy
Partner,  Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Form I-924A: Strategies for Fulfilling the Annual EB-5 Regional Center Reporting Requirement

When: Thursday October 29, 2015

Time: 3:00 PM EST/ 12:00 PM PST*

*Note: Registration will be cut-off  the day of the webinar at 2:00pm est. 

Topic: For the fifth year, IIUSA will be holding a practical workshop for how to approach Regional Centers filings of Form I-924A.


The annual reporting is used to demonstrate a Regional Center’s continued eligibility for the Regional Center designation, which must be filed for each fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year (on or before December 29) of the calendar year in which the fiscal year ended. The failure to timely file a Form I-924A Supplement will result in the issuance of an intent to terminate the participation of the regional center, which may ultimately result in the termination of the approval and designation of the regional center. In addition to regional centers, EB-5 stakeholders such as attorneys, developers and project managers will benefit from the webinar’s examination of how to correctly file this petition.

IIUSA’s expert panelists will take a closer look aspects of the I-924A filing such as reporting of statistics such as capital investments, industry designation (NAICS codes) as well as job creation estimation and methodology. Sign up today and get started on your required year-end reporting!



Member Perspective: SEC Advisory Committee Recommends Additional Clarity Regarding So-Called “Finders”

SEC Advisory Committee Recommends Additional Clarity Regarding So-Called “Finders”
(Originally posted on 10/7/15 on


The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (“Advisory Committee”) announced new recommendations to make it easier for small and emerging companies to raise capital using finders rather than registered broker-dealers.

In its September 23, 2015 letter to the SEC, the Advisory Committee noted that of issuers relying on Regulation D for their private placement exemption, only 13% of the offerings between 2009 and 2012 reported using a financial intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or finder. The Advisory Committee observed that this “void” means that small and emerging companies are must likely using unregistered persons to identify and solicit potential investors. Under the current regulatory scheme, this creates a risk of significant liability to both issuers and unregistered persons, and the Advisory Committee urged the SEC to clarify its position on what activities require registration.

The Advisory Committee presented recommendations to the SEC in its September 23, 2015 letter, the most substantive of which are that:

  • The SEC should take steps to clarify that persons receiving transaction-based compensation solely for providing names of or introductions to prospective investors are not subject to broker-dealer registration.
  • The SEC should exempt intermediaries involved in discussions, negotiations and structuring, and solicitation of prospective investors, for private financings provided they are registered as a broker under state law.

Section 3(a)(4)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 defines a “broker” as “any person engaged in the business of effecting transactions in securities for the account of others.” This definition applies to a very broad range of intermediary activities. If the following factors exist, registration as a broker may be required under federal and state securities laws:

  • Whether the intermediary participates in important parts of a securities transaction, including, for example, identifying or screening potential investors, structuring the securities transaction, or participating in negotiations between the issuer and investors;
  • Whether compensation for participation in the transaction depends upon, or is related to, the outcome or size of the transaction or deal; or
  • Whether the intermediary handles the securities or funds of others in connection with securities transactions.

One key factor is whether the intermediary receives transaction-based compensation. With a stake in the deal, transaction-based compensation can lead to the intermediary using high pressure sales tactics that are inconsistent with investor protection. Broker registration and supervision is designed to mitigate these problems.

The SEC has historically recognized an exception from broker regulation for intermediaries that simply act as a “finder” and in essence rent their contact list to put potential investors in contact with the issuer for a fee. Recently, however, the SEC Staff has abandoned that position in requests for no-action letters, in its enforcement strategy, and in public speeches, in favor of a single factor test based solely on the receipt of transaction-based compensation.

Congress, on the other hand, is moving in a different direction. In the JOBS Act, a new exemption from broker-dealer registration exists for online platforms that market securities in Rule 506 offerings under Regulation D (which is separate from the JOBS Act exemption for crowd funding portals). The new online platform exemption permits a person, in a Rule 506 offering to: (i) maintain a platform that permits the offer, sale, purchase, negotiation, general solicitations, general advertisements, or similar activities by issuers, whether online, in person, or through other means, (ii) co-invest in the offering, or (iii) provide ancillary services such as due diligence, if certain condition are met. Online platforms relying on the exemption (i) may not receive transaction-based compensation but may charge other types of fees, (ii) cannot handle funds or securities, and (iii) may not be compensated for investment advice to issuers or investors. Although the exemption is narrow, it is designed to help issuers locate angel investors by allowing online investment intermediaries to provide services. The SEC has stated that employees or other persons who receive a salary or other compensation to promote the issuer’s securities cannot rely on the exemption.

The Advisory Committee’s recommendations would help to resolve the ambiguities arising from the broker vs. finder distinction, and would also assist start-up and early stage companies to raise capital. It remains an open question as to whether the SEC will take up this issue and issue rules that reflect the Advisory Committee’s recommendations.

In the meantime, issuers and intermediaries should remain cautious. The consequences of raising capital using unregistered brokers include rescission rights of investors under Section 29(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (in addition to civil and possible criminal penalties from the SEC and state securities regulators). Under Section 29(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, an investor who was located through an unregistered broker and acquired securities under a contract is permitted to rescind the contract until the later of (i) three years from the date the securities were issued or (ii) one year after discovering the violation. This gives an investor a potentially long period to determine whether the investment is successful before electing “put” the security back to the issuer and to require it to return his or her money. For an early stage company, this presents a potentially crippling risk, and makes future capital raises awkward in view of the company’s obligation to disclose potential liquidity problems that exist during the time period for prior investors to exercise rescission rights and other contingencies arising from failing to comply with legal requirements.

In light of the above risks, we suggest that issuers and intermediaries continue to exercise caution until the SEC takes a formal position on the Advisory Committee’s recommendations.

In particular, we recommend that any arrangement involving compensation to an intermediary (other than a fixed fee payable without regard to the outcome of the offering) be carefully reviewed. Issuers should also review the experience of persons they engage as finders. Naturally issuers will want to work with intermediaries having a successful track record of raising funds, however such a long track record of capital raising also suggests that the intermediary is “in the business” of effecting transactions in securities and thus most likely to be subject to broker regulation. Finally, an issuer may find value in utilizing the online platform exemption in connection with its offering since such online platform has a specific codified exemption from broker-dealer registration.


1 See Paul Anka, SEC No-Action Letter (July 24, 1991), in which the SEC granted no-action relief where Mr. Anka provided names of investors in exchange for a transaction-based fee, but played no other role in the transaction.
2 See, e.g., John W. Loofbourrow Associates, Inc., SEC Denial of No-Action Request (June 29, 2006); Brumberg, Mackey & Wall, P.L.C., SEC Denial of No-Action Request (May 17, 2010); Comments by Kristina Fausti, Special Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, SEC Division of Trading and Markets, at the Private Placement Broker and M&A Broker Panel at SEC Forum on Small Business Capital Formation (Nov. 20, 2008); Comments by David W. Blass, Chief Counsel of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, in a speech to an American Bar Association subcommittee (April 15, 2013).

EB-5 History: Regional Center Program Turns 23 Today – Time to Make it Permanent!

IIUSA wishes the EB-5 Regional Center industry a happy birthday!


23 years ago the EB-5 Regional Center Program was created by Congress in Section 610 of Public Law 102-395.
It is time for permanent authorization!

On October 6, 1992, Congress enhanced the economic impact of the EB-5 program by permitting the designation of Regional Centers to pool EB-5 capital from multiple foreign investors for investment in USCIS-approved economic development projects within a defined geographic region. A Regional Center is defined as “any economic entity, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment.” Today, over 95 percent of all EB-5 capital is raised and invested through Regional Centers (and over 95% of that capital is invested through IIUSA member Regional Centers)!

Regional Centers maximize the program’s job creation benefits by facilitating the investment of significant amounts of capital in large-scale projects – often in coordination with regional economic development agencies – which use the EB-5 funds to leverage additional capital. Regional Centers use economic analysis models, including those developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, to demonstrate that job creation targets required by law have been achieved. For investments made through Regional Centers, at least 10 direct, indirect or induced jobs must be created.

Existing federally-designated Regional Centers include entities that are publicly owned and operated by state economic development agencies as well as public-private partnerships and private sector investment companies. A Regional Center obtains its designation by submitting a detailed application to USCIS. The application must state the kinds of businesses that will receive capital from investors, the jobs that will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the investment of capital, and the other positive economic impacts that will result from the investment of capital.

All securities offerings made by EB-5 Regional Centers are subject to U.S. securities laws, enforced by state securities regulators and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Proper oversight, transparency, compliance with – and enforcement of – all applicable securities, anti-fraud and immigration laws and regulations are essential to maintain the confidence of all industry stakeholders and ensure that the EB-5 Program continues to bring capital and job creation to American communities.

Nationwide, we know #EB5isWorking. The numbers speak for themselves. In Q3 of fiscal year (FY) 2015 alone, EB-5 contributed $1.4 billion of FDI to the U.S. economy (the first time eclipsing $1 billion in a single quarter) and by the end of the FY the total contribution will be over $4.3 billion. From 2008 to 2015, over $13 billion in EB-5 capital has been put to work in the U.S. to create American jobs – an increase in over 1,200%. Peer-reviewed economic impact studies for 2010-2013 also show that EB-5 contributed over $9.62 billion to U.S. gross domestic product and over $2 billion in federal/state/local tax revenue while supporting an average of 29,300 American jobs per year (over 41,000 in 2012 and 2013 alone, respectively). With over 95% of all EB-5 capital investment flowing through IIUSA Regional Center members, we are proud to represent an industry that creating American jobs with the opportunities that come with globalization.

Between now and December 11, Congress should – alongside reforms that enhance program integrity by deterring fraud and protecting national security – permanently authorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program. It is quit simple “an idea whose time has come.”

CLICK HERE to show your support for the EB-5 Regional Center Program by joining almost 900 signatories from from across the United States and spanning the public, non-profit, and private sectors!


Sign Up for Wednesday’s Webinar: USCIS EB-5 Adjudication Trends: I-526/I-829 Petitions & I-924A Applications (3:00pm est/12:00pm pst)

USCIS EB-5 Adjudication Trends: I-526/I-829
Petitions & I-924A Applications
Wednesday October 7, 2015
3:00 PM EST/ 12:00 PM PST


Sponsored by
Wednesday October 7, 2015


3:00 PM EST/ 12:00 PM PST*


Members $50
Nonmembers $100

*Note: Registration will be cut-off the day of the webinar at 12:30pm est.



*IIUSA Members: To view the 50% off Member discount code, click here or email us at



    Robert C. Divine

       Shareholder, Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

        LEARN MORE

Kristal Ozmun

Associate, Miller Mayer LLP

   Michael Kester

    Lead EB-5 Economist. Impact DataSource, LLC



TOPIC: With investor demand reaching heights not seen before in the history of the EB-5 Program, IIUSA has observed multi-year trends that shed light on new realities facing EB-5 stakeholders and how investor petitions are adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In fiscal year 2015, the volume of I-526 petitions (used by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States) and I-829 petitions (the removal of conditions) reached an all-time high. This webinar will highlight these growth trends as well as the analysis of petition Request for Evidence (RFE) and Denials that inform us to what issues are coming up in the adjudication of these petitions.

Additionally, this webinar will assess recent processing trends and issues pertaining to the backlog of petitions. All of these issues will be looked at from the perspective of EB-5 Regional Centers and project developers, investors, and other EB-5 industry stakeholders.