May
    23

    IIUSA Board to Consider Several Committee Recommendations at Meeting on Wednesday (5/25)

    SealOn Wednesday April 25th the IIUSA Board of Directors will be considering recommendations from four IIUSA Committees. The recommendations are as follow:

    Public Policy Committee recommendation: 

    Best Practices Committee recommendations:

    Compliance Committee recommendation:

    Membership Committee recommendation:

    All IIUSA members are welcome to provide comments on any of the above recommendations. Please submit any feedback, by close of business Monday May 23, to info@iiusa.org.

     

    May
    20

    RCBJ Retrospective: THE COMING INTEGRITY ACT: WHAT DILIGENCE IS DUE?

    homeirerThe Coming Integrity Act: What Due Diligence is Due? 

    by Michael G. Homeier, Esq., Founding Shareholder, Homeier & Law, P.C.

    Senate Bill 2415, the “EB-5 Integrity Act of 2015” (the “Act”), was introduced on December 17, 2015 to revise the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”), followed two months later by introduction in the House of Representatives of the very similar companion bill H.R. 4530. The Act remains a work in progress, pending passage by both houses of Congress and eventual signing by the President. With the anticipated circus of the upcoming electoral season, only the most optimistic observers believe passage might occur before a new Congress, and new President, take up a re-introduced Act in early 2017 (after the Program is again extended beyond Sept. 30, 2016).

    Nevertheless, the Act as currently introduced remains highly significant to EB-5 participants. Improvements and corrections proposed by industry stakeholders and successfully negotiated into the prior legislation before it was shelved in mid-December 2015 remain in the Act. The Act addresses primarily the securities and corporate aspects of that prior legislation. Stakeholders can look to the Act to see what additional requirements Congress seems bent on adding to the Program. Depending upon how successful are presently-ongoing efforts to improve the Act, clarify its terms and application, and avoid unintended adverse consequences that could cripple or kill the EB-5 Program, it seems safe to assume the process will end up with Program changes more or less along the lines proposed in the Act presently.

    The crosshairs of the Act’s focus are squarely set on regional centers (“RCs”). This no doubt reflects the popular misconception of the Program as uniquely fraught with fraud, criminal activity, and terrorist drug-running investors laundering millions of ill-gotten dollars through EB-5 investment, with the thinking evidently being that if only RCs could be enlisted (or compelled) to become more actively involved in policing the EB-5 process, all those ill effects could be eliminated. So it is entirely unsurprising that among the primary changes contained in the current Act is the imposition of a certification requirement on RCs, that they attest that they, the projects they sponsor, and the people with whom they work are all in compliance with the securities laws (federal and state). This is not a one-time certification requirement, instead it is imposed on every RC at numerous stages of the EB-5 process, including as part of the application for regional center designation, the application for project pre-approval, and the filing of regional center annual statements as to bona fides of involved persons, as to securities law compliance, as to third-party promoters, and as to “associated new commercial enterprises” (as defined in the Act).

    The securities laws impose compliance obligations on “issuers,” the companies that actually “issue” (sell) the investment opportunities that are acknowledged to be securities. Usually in the EB-5 industry, the issuer is an entity legally separate and distinct from the RC entity, even if they may share common ownership or control. The determining factor is not what an entity calls itself, instead it is what the entity does. If an RC sells its own ownership interests, it is an issuer in addition to being an RC, and bears the issuer compliance obligations; but if the RC does not sell its own interests, the issuer obligations are not imposed by the securities laws.
    This is where the Act breaks new ground: to involve RCs more actively in oversight of the EB-5 industry, the Act adds its compliance certification requirement to impose “issuer-like” obligations on what are technically non-issuers—the RC that is not a securities seller. This is a “sea-change” in the risks attaching to participation in the Program: where previously only actual issuers bore securities-level risk, for engaging in the sale of their securities, now non-issuers (RCs) will carry such risk, even though not actually engaged in selling securities—and not under the securities laws, but under the Act. Although the RCs’ risk may still be less than that borne by an actual issuer, it is far more than the current minimal risk of performing only the RC function. To avoid this, many RCs may simply get out of the industry altogether.

    Returning to the new certification obligations themselves, they require that the certifier speaking on behalf of a regional center is to make his certification “to the best of the certifier’s knowledge, after a due diligence investigation.” To understand what this certification requirement means, it must be broken into its constituent parts.

    “Certify” is a term of art in the legal profession. It is commonly defined to mean “to authenticate or vouch for a thing in writing; to attest as being true or as represented.” Similarly, “certification” is defined as “the formal assertion in writing of some fact; the act of certifying or state of being certified.” To maximize its authoritative nature, many times the assertion is required to be given under oath: “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing [statements are] true and correct,” as but one example. The Act itself is silent as to whether its certifications must be given under oath sometimes, always, or never. (Note that the administrative agencies involved (including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security) have broad rulemaking authority, and could add an oath even if the Act itself as finally adopted was to remain silent on the point.)

    The term “certifier” is defined in the Act. As to all Act provisions imposing the certification requirement on RCs, the certifier is someone speaking for (on behalf of) the RC.

    As to the concept of “best knowledge,” that concept is nowhere explained in the Act. So again, to understand what might reasonably be meant by an undefined term, we look elsewhere for guidance by implication. In the legal profession broadly, allowing a person’s statement to be limited to only what the person knows about is called a “knowledge qualifier.” Formally, a knowledge qualifier “qualifies” or limits a statement so that it only applies to what the speaker knows, and the speaker would only be liable for a false statement if he had actual contrary knowledge about the fact. In the case of the Act’s proposed requirement, if the speaker didn’t know when he gave his certification that what he said was untrue, he would not have acted wrongly if he turns out to be wrong.

    There is a vigorous debate in the legal world disputing the proverbial number of angels dancing on the head of the pin, in this case whether or not the phrase “to the best of one’s knowledge” differs at all from “to one’s knowledge.” Some lawyers assert it is repetitiously redundant and adds nothing, because logically “to the best of X’s knowledge” means exactly the same thing as “to X’s knowledge.” Others argue that adding “the best of” is a significant (and dangerous) modification, because it could support an assumption that it implies some sort of heightened level of knowledge, perhaps involving a duty to investigate. The language of the Act renders this dispute moot for our purposes: the certification is explicitly to be based on “a due diligence investigation.” The knowledge that the certifier will be held to have and upon which he must make his statements, and perhaps give his oath, is that which would be produced by such an investigation.

    How much diligence is due under the Act? The Act doesn’t say. No provision specifies what is required as the necessary “due diligence investigation” upon which the certifier’s certification may properly be based. Once again, to understand what the Act requires, in the absence of added explanation or court interpretation, we must look outside the Act for guidance.

    “Due diligence” as a legal concept is commonly understood as referring to an investigation into the facts of something. In practice, what diligence is due differs according to the transaction or situation. The type and extent of diligence due in the case of a purchase or sale of an existing business involves different considerations and an investigation appropriate for that kind of situation. The same investigation would not be appropriate to a case involving the offer of securities financing a real estate development. In legislation focused on the latter kind of transaction, determining what kind of inquiry is typical in a securities law context should illuminate what Congress intends to require by the Act.

    As introduced earlier, in an offering situation, the securities issuer and its principals must comply with the existing legal duty under the securities laws to exercise reasonable care to ensure that all material information about the issuer’s investment opportunity is disclosed accurately and completely to prospective investors, so that their investment decision can be an informed one. Securities law due diligence is the process of undertaking a reasonable investigation to confirm that the offering statements, documents, financial statements, and all other information provided to potential investors are complete and omit no material information.

    Due diligence of an EB-5 securities transaction typically involves the issuer engaging qualified professionals from the various areas involved in such transactions, including immigration lawyers, economists, accountants, engineers, and financial, marketing, and other consultants. It may also involve engaging qualified outside or third-party experts (including U.S. registered broker-dealers, contributing one of their “value-adds” when brought into a project) to double-check information, detect red flags, or objectively evaluate the reasonableness of claims made in the offering documents.

    Due diligence is an active, not passive, activity. It must be customized and tailored to the facts and circumstances of each particular offering: it is “impossible to lay down a rigid rule suitable for every case defining the extent to which such verification must go. It is a question of degree, a matter of judgment in each case.” Since the adequacy of due diligence is determined on a case-by-case basis, each due diligence investigation stands or falls on the thoroughness of the investigation, and its appropriateness to that offering. It is an ongoing and dynamic process, and even after the conclusion of an investigation, it might need to be resumed anew if conditions change.

    Specifically, a securities due diligence investigation typically involves establishment of a due diligence team of lawyers, accountants, and other experts to engage in, among other information-gathering and –confirming actions: interviews of management employees about the business; interviews of suppliers, distributors, customers, accountants, and counsel; physical inspection of plants, factories, laboratories, and project sites; review of company documentation and financial statements; examination of primary contracts; analysis of ongoing, pending, and threatened litigation; analysis of the business plan and economist reports for consistency and absence of obvious calculation errors; even the examination of trade journals and similar publications about conditions in the issuer’s industry. Pre-formed checklists may be useful in crafting a list of questions and identifying issues, but no list will satisfy the duty of due diligence in every situation, and rigidly following a checklist does not automatically establish the adequacy of due diligence.

    It might seem self-evident, but bears reminding: all documents, statements, and other information resulting from the investigation must actually be read. Due diligence cannot adequately be performed by simply taking statements and information at face value and relying on their veracity, and then merely reporting that date accurately. The reviewing team must be wary of red flags or any information which would or should otherwise strip those reviewers of their confidence in the accuracy of the offering documents.

    This due diligence requirement imposed on issuers under the securities laws is obviously complicated, involves many moving pieces, and is definitely expensive to conduct properly. Many issuers involved in the Program conduct limited diligence, because of time and cost, while others completely ignore the requirement altogether. They do so at their peril: ignoring the due diligence obligation carries a significant liability risk, one that is imposed on the principals owning and managing the issuer personally, rather than on the entity itself.

    In adding “issuer-like” securities compliance obligations on RCs, the Act seeks to impose an additional due diligence obligation on RCs, separate and apart from that already existing under the securities laws imposed on issuers. This revives the question of, how much diligence will be due from an RC under the Act? Which in turn raises a prior question: about what, exactly, is the RC to certify?

    As stated above, the various certifications to be required of RCs under the Act apply either to certifying compliance with securities laws broadly, or compliance with requirements under the Act specifically (such as the bona fides promoters, and agent requirements).

    As to the former, it seems logical to guess that the due diligence standard applicable to offerings would also be applicable to RC certifications confirming broad securities law compliance. In turn, this raises the next question: must the RC conduct its own independent full-blown securities law-level due diligence investigation, or may it instead satisfy its due diligence obligation by reliance on the due diligence conducted by the issuer, at least in part? Practically, the RC may lack the capacity or be too far removed to conduct as thorough an investigation of a complex offering as required of the issuer, and may lack the resources or knowledge to do so effectively. Thus, it would seem sensible to allow RCs to be able to reasonably rely to a significant degree on due diligence conducted by the issuer, so long as the issuer’s diligence was itself reasonable. However, if RCs are permitted to do so, it is likely that such reliance can be neither absolute nor passive, there must still be some active review of both the offering itself and the issuer’s own due diligence efforts conducted by the RC to qualify reliance as reasonable.

    Similarly, as to certifying the narrower issues of compliance with other requirements of the Act, such as bona fides (no “bad actors” involved), promoters (brokers and other non-issuer sellers), and agents (prohibition of foreign government involvement), if the RC’s inquiry is reasonably crafted and conducted to investigate the issue thoroughly, that should suffice. There will likely still be interviews or written Q&A, inspections of contracts and records, background checks, and licensing confirmations, but more narrowly drawn to the specific point targeted. Given the more limited scope, cost and capability should be much less problematic.

    Presently, alas, all of these potential resolutions, no matter how sensible, remain mere conjecture. As negotiations continue over the provisions of the Act, stakeholders (especially those hailing from the securities and corporate law areas) should pursue clarification of exactly what is Congress’ intent as to the due diligence requirements, and the addition of language requiring that reasonable diligence will be all, and everything, that is due under the Act to help confirm the credibility, safeguard the benefits, and ensure the integrity of the Program.

    May
    19

    Visit the IIUSA Marketplace to Access Webinar and Conference Presentation Recordings OnDemand!

    EB-5 Advocacy Conference Video Recordings Now Available OnDemand! DC-2016-IIUSA-Logo (png)

    Video recordings on the 2016 EB-5 Advocacy Conference are now available for unlimited streaming at the IIUSA Marketplace. Recordings are available for $99 dollars/video for members and $198/video for non-members (to view the member discount code please see here).

    • EB-5 Regulations & Policy Guidance- Historical Review & What Comes Next 

      Recording

    • Interactive Roundtable Discussion- The EB-5 Crystal Ball 

      Recording 

    • Potential Solutions to EB-5 Visa Backlog- More Visas & Investor Market Diversification 

      Recording 

    • What Can the EB-5 Industry Learn from Alternative Finance Capital Markets 

      Recording 

    2016 Webinar Series

    webinar

    • April 7-EB-5 Regional Center Compliance: A Systemic Approach to Long Term Success (Purchase Here)

    On this webinar, panelists review current compliance requirements and practices of EB-5 Regional Centers. Our expert panel provides examples of how EB-5 Regional Centers and other EB-5 stakeholders can best ensure long term regional center compliance. The discussion also includes EB-5 compliance legislation and its potential implications, a review of key areas of securities law compliance when marketing an EB-5 offering, and the “back office” steps that a Regional center should undertake to effectively and efficiently maintaining proper documentation.

    • January 28-Securities & EB-5: Regional Center Project Case Studies & SEC Enforcement Actions (Purchase Here)

    Over the past calendar year, the EB-5 industry saw more legal actions from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) than in any period in the Program’s history. On this webinar our panelists review SEC enforcement actions against EB-5 stakeholders to date and discuss the ways in which increased federal oversight of the Program may have serious ramifications on how EB-5 projects are marketed to investors.

    • January 7- EB-5 & Data Security – Risk Management and Insurance Considerations (Purchase Here)

    On this webinar, panelists review the domestic and international legal framework which establishes liability for Regional Centers relating to the transfer and storage of sensitive information. Our expert panel provides recommendations to Regional Centers and other EB-5 stakeholders on how to mitigate risk in an EB-5 transaction. Moreover,  the latest trends for data breaches and what Regional Centers can do from a technological standpoint to minimize risk are discussed. Lastly, descriptions of what insurance products will work when it comes to transferring the costs associated with a data breach to an insurance carrier and what major legal/technological protocols are of importance to an insurance carrier are presented.

    Purchase Your 2016 All-Access PassAAP

    Members: Take Advantage of the All Access Pass (read more here) and pay one flat fee for our entire library of webinars and conference panel recordings!

    Webinars: Automatic registration for all 2015 webinars on topics such as government affairs, securities laws, due diligence, economic modeling, targeted employment areas (TEAs), leveraging other economic development tools, adjudication trends and more. Leading up to each webinar, pass holders will automatically receive details on how to attend.

    Multimedia: Access IIUSA’s extensive library containing dozens of hours of audio and video including presentations from IIUSA annual meetings, advocacy conferences and international forums from 2010 through 2015. Gain insight into the past, present and future of the EB-5 Program as foremost industry experts impart their wisdom on wide-ranging topics that are inform the EB-5 industry of today.

    Research/Analysis: Examine thousands of pages of well-organized data compiled by IIUSA through government disclosures via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This raw data is the basis of IIUSA’s EB-5 industry reports, such as the Economic Impacts Report of the EB-5 Regional Center Program and I-526/I-829 adjudication trends. In addition to the raw data, Pass holders will automatically receive copies of industry reports that are usually on sale. Additionally, pass holder can view articles from previous IIUSA publications including conference handbooks, quarterly magazines and more.

    May
    18

    Drive the Conversation, Join an EB-5 Focus Group on May 24th

    fg

    Dear IIUSA Member,

    With the EB-5 Program “sunset date” of September 30th on the horizon, IIUSA’s is committed to making sure that our membership has the opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions about legislation and the current state of the EB-5 industry. The results of this deliberative process will inform policy deliberations at the committee and board levels in the weeks and months to come.

    I would like to encourage you to participate in a professionally-moderated virtual focus group conversation next Tuesday May 24th on the topic of EB-5 policy reforms.  There is no cost to participate. RSVP here.

    What you need to know:
      There will be 3 focus group sessions with 6-8 people per session.  All sessions will be held on Tuesday May 24th via teleconference at the following times:
        1. 10:00 am – 11:30 am
        2. 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
        3. 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

    At IIUSA’s EB-5 Advocacy Conference this April in Washington, DC, IIUSA hosted four sets of focus groups. The results from these those focus groups as a well as findings from our online policy poll and interactive policy poll during the meeting can be found in our comprehensive Member Engagement Report.

    IIUSA stands in a position of influence because of its members. The leadership and staff do not forget this important fact.  Your participation in our annual events, committee work, surveys, and other outreach efforts endues life and passion into our organization.

    Thank you in advance to your continued engagement and we look forward to taking action on the insight provided by your feedback.

    Sincerely,
    Allen Wolff
    Associate Director, Marketing & Communications
     
    On behalf of IIUSA Membership Committee:
    Kristen Laughlin (Chair), Jillian Fortuna (Secretary), Seth Chandler, David Enterline, Laura Kelly, Kelvin Ma, Bernard Wolfsdorf, Kevin Wright, Richard Biegel, Craig Kammholz, Yale Kim, Michael Schoenfeld, Rachel Snethan, Abteen Vaziri
    May
    17

    New IIUSA Report on Membership Engagement Now Available!

     

    Last month’s EB-5 Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. featured a familiar mix of grassroots advocacy, advanced education, industry networking and the opportunity to hear from the federal government on the future of the EB-5 Program. However, what made this year’s conference truly unique were the robust member engagement initiatives that placed an emphasis on consensus building around the statutory, regulatory and policy direction of the EB-5 Regional Center industry.

    IIUSA has compiled a comprehensive report (Members-Only) of our findings, which include results from our online policy poll, interactive policy poll hosted at the Annual General Meeting in April 20th and focus group deliberations.

    View Report Here

     

    Conference

    On April 20th, IIUSA hosted its 11th Annual General Membership Meeting (AGM) emphasizing consensus building around the statutory, regulatory and policy direction of the EB-5 Regional Center industry.

     

    Join Free Member-only Advocacy Webinar “Review of EB-5 Policy Poll and Focus Groups Results” this Thursday (5/19, 3pm est)

    Sign Up Here! 

    Join us on Thursday afternoon for the first IIUSA advocacy webinar of 2016. On this webinar, we will discuss IIUSA’s polling and focus group results (see report above), review IIUSA deliberative processes for membership engagement and policy making and take questions from members.

    In addition, IIUSA’s government affairs team will review state of play and the outlook on Program reauthorization prior to the September 30, 2016 “sunset date”.

    There is no cost to attend but we ask you to sign up here.

    Join a Virtual EB-5 Focus Group on May 24th

    IIUSA encourages its members to participate in a 90-minute virtual focus group conversations on Tuesday May 24th. These focus groups allow members to provide their opinions on EB-5 reform policy priorities.

    Focus groups will be held on May 24th at the following times (all EST):

    • 10am-11:30am
    • 12:00pm-1:30pm
    • 2:00pm-3:30pm

    Sign Up for a Focus Group Here

     

    May
    16

    Bill Gresser Appointed IIUSA Director Emeritus

    GresserIIUSA is proud to announce that William P. Gresser, President of EB-5 New York State Regional Center, has been tabbed as IIUSA’s newest Director Emeritus. Mr. Gresser served the IIUSA Board with class and honor between 2010 and 2016 and will serve as Public Policy Committee chair this year.

    President K. David Andersson, had this to say of his appointment of Mr. Gresser, “IIUSA reserves the status of Director Emeritus to those who have made significant contributions to the organization and without those continued contributions, IIUSA would lose valuable institutional memory and expertise. Bill Gresser has served as IIUSA Director since 2010 and his expertise and guidance have been invaluable for the growth of IIUSA as well as the success of the EB-5 Industry. Bill’s continued leadership and voice will assuredly continue to be essential as IIUSA and the EB-5 Program continues to grow and evolve.”

     

     

    May
    13

    IIUSA Publishes First Ever Annual EB-5 Investor Market Report

    EB-5 Investor Markets ReportEB-5 Regional Center Industry Trade Group Report Details Industry Trends, Emerging Markets

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (PRWEB) MAY 12, 2016

    Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the national not-for-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”), recently published the first-of-its kind EB-5 Investor Markets Report, a quantitative and qualitative analysis of established and emerging EB-5 investor markets. The report will be updated annually going forward.

    “As the EB-5 Program has come of age in the last decade, it has established a track record of success for foreign investors that have participated. As investor confidence in the program has grown, so have the opportunities to develop new markets to bring even more job-creating capital to the U.S.,” said IIUSA Executive Director Peter D. Joseph. “We are excited about the publication of this report and believe it will help further the emerging discourse around emerging investor markets by providing a comprehensive analysis of markets since the beginning of EB-5.”

    The EB-5 Investor Markets Report is the first comprehensive analysis of investor market demand, bringing into focus the countries and regions poised for growth in the years ahead. IIUSA has accumulated a complete historical dataset for 1992-2014. Every country in the world with market data is assigned a “growth score”, allowing objective trend comparisons of various countries and regions against the average growth of the industry over various time spans.

    “This new annual report will help EB-5 stakeholders draw important conclusion that can lead to actionable steps to bring new investors into the Program,” said IIUSA Investor Markets Committee Chair Lili Wang. “With the current backlog of numbers for Mainland Chinese EB-5 visa applicants, it is more important than ever to cultivate investor markets in other parts of the world.”

    Since 2008, EB-5 has contributed over $13 billion in foreign direct investment to the U.S. that supports tens of thousands of jobs and transforming communities across the country through successful regional economic development projects. The newly published Investor Markets Report will further the industry’s understanding of the factors driving international market growth and highlights the markets that will continue to drive U.S. economic development all at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.

    The EB-5 Investor Markets Report is available for download for free at IIUSA.org. To download the report, click here.

    ###

    Founded in 2005, IIUSA is the national not-for-profit trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center industry with a mission of advocacy, education, industry development, and research. The organization represents more than 275 Regional Centers and 200 Associate members, collectively representing big and small projects, urban and rural economic development, and industry sectors ranging from real estate and manufacturing to energy and infrastructure. IIUSA’s members are engines of economic growth and job creation, accounting for over 95 percent of capital flowing through the Program. Learn more at IIUSA.org.

    May
    12

    Congressional Research Service Publishes Report on the EB-5 Program

    Capitol-Hill Featured ImageOn April 2, 2016 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa. In the report the CRS highlights the EB-5 Program history, requirements, the petition process, admissibility, economic impact, policy issues and legislation from the 114th Congress. The report also includes appendixes visualizing historical EB-5 visa data.

    From the Report:

     

    “The upcoming expiration date of the Regional Center Program has renewed congressional focus on the EB-5 visa category. Questions include whether the Regional Center Program should be extended or made permanent, and if so should it be modified, or should it be allowed to expire.”

     

    The Congressional Research Service works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century.

    Read the Full Report

    May
    11

    USCIS Extends Deadline on Idea Community Campaign for Feedback on Potential Regulatory and Policy Changes

    On May 11th U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent email to EB-5 Stakeholders announcing an extended deadline for the “Idea Community” feedback campaign on potential EB-5 regulatory and policy changes.Stakeholders have until Thursday May 12th to provide comments.

    Visit the Idea Community. Below is the message in full.

    Dear Stakeholder,

    We’ve extended the idea community campaign to seek individual stakeholder feedback on potential EB-5 regulatory and policy changes. You can visit the USCIS Idea Community to submit your ideas on the four topics listed below until Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 5 p.m. (Eastern).

    As mentioned at the EB-5 listening session on April 25, USCIS is considering potential EB-5 regulatory and policy changes and we want to hear from you, our stakeholders. That’s why we hosted the listening session to begin receiving your individual feedback. We want to continue to hear your thoughts and ideas. Specifically, we would like to hear your individual thoughts on the following four topics:

    • Minimum investment amounts;
    • The TEA designation process;
    • The regional center designation process, including, but not limited to, the exemplar process and the designation of the geographic scope of a regional center; and
    • Indirect job creation methodologies.

      As you may know, minimum investment amounts have remained constant since 1991. We would like your feedback on whether these amounts ($1 million or $500,000) should increase and, if so, the methodology and process by which you believe an increase would be most effective.We’d also like your thoughts on targeted employment areas (or “TEAs”) and the TEA designation process. We are specifically seeking your feedback on how the process currently works for you and, if improvements can be made, your input for improving it.

      Another topic on which we are seeking feedback is the regional center designation process, including, but not limited to, the exemplar process and the designation of the geographic scope of a regional center. We are seeking stakeholder feedback on how the process currently works for you and, if improvements can be made, your input for improving it.

      Finally, we’d like to hear from you on indirect job creation methodologies.

      We are using the USCIS Idea Community, an online crowd sourcing tool, as one method for you to submit your individual feedback and input on these four topics. Please note that we are only seeking individual input. We are not seeking group or consensus advice. Participating in the USCIS Idea Community is easy. All you need is an active email address. You can create a profile and submit ideas.

      See you in the USCIS Idea Community!

    May
    11

    USCIS Posts Updated Editions of Forms I-924 and I-924A

    On May 9, 2016 United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted updated versions of Form I-924, Application For Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, and Form I-924A, supplement to Form I-924.

    On February 16, the IIUSA Public Policy committee submitted comments and recommendations to USCIS on for I-924A. To view the comments please click here.

    Form I-924 (Learn More)

    Form I-924 is used to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request designation of an entity to be a Regional Center under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program. 2. Request approval of an amendment to a previously designated Regional Center. An amended regional center designation request may include requests for determinations relating to any or all of the reasons for filing an amendment request noted below. A. An amendment request may be filed to seek approval of changes to the Regional Centers: 1. Geographic area; 2. Organizational structure or administration; 3. Affiliated commercial enterprise investment opportunities, to include changes in the economic analysis and underlying business plan used to estimate job creation for previously approved investment opportunities and industrial clusters; 4. Affiliated commercial enterprise’s organizational structure and/or capital investment instruments or offering memoranda. B. An amendment may also be filed to seek a preliminary determination of EB-5 compliance for documentation provided as an exemplar Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, prior to the filing of Form I-526 petitions by individual alien entrepreneurs;

    Form I-924A (Learn More)

    Form I-924A is used by Regional Centers to demonstrate continued eligibility for regional center designation. Regional centers that remain designated for participation in the program as of September 30 of a given year must submit Form I-924A with the required supporting documentation on or before December 29 of that same year.