Jul
    31

    IIUSA Statement on Introduction of EB-Jobs Act (H.R. 3370), Legislation to Make EB-5 Program Permanent

    As the September 30th sunset date for the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”) approaches, IIUSA welcomes the introduction of EB-Jobs Act (H.R. 3370) which, among other provisions, would make the Program permanent and increase the number of EB-5 visas available each year under certain conditions. We commend Reps. Lofgren and Gutierrez for putting forward a thoughtful package of reforms to continue – and potentially expand – the Program’s track record of job creation while strengthening oversight and accountability.

    With a reauthorization bill – S.1501 — also introduced in the Senate (along with H.R. 616 in House), there is growing Congressional support for timely reauthorization. It is now critical that both chambers work together to ensure that the EB-5 Program continues to be a secure and effective engine for economic growth and job creation in the U.S. for years to come. ​
    Jul
    30

    IIUSA Translates into Chinese Updated Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions

    As a reminder, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued an  update to Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. with an edition date of May 7, 2015. Beginning on Aug. 15, 2015, USCIS will only accept this edition.

    For the courtesy of its members, IIUSA has also translated the updated I-829 form into Chinese. *

    Below are updates to the the new form I-829, courtesy of Matthew Galati of EB-5 Insights Blog. The updated I-829 form consists of 13 pages of instructions and an 11-page form to be completed. There are a few important highlights of the new edition for attorneys, investors, and regional centers to note:

    • More biographic information. Investors will need to disclose their height/weight, hair/eye color, and race/ethnicity, similar to what is presently done in Naturalization Applications.
    • More information relating to the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE). The new form asks for additional information relating to the type of enterprise, similar to the I-526. Investors are also asked for the NCE’s North American Industry Classification Code (NAICS) and dates and amounts of all subsequent investments. The number of EB-5 investors in the NCE and their total capital must also be included. It is interesting to note this request, as it duplicates the information that regional centers are required to provide to the USCIS at the end of each respective fiscal year on the Form I-924A.
    • Detailed information of direct job creation. In the new form, Investors must detail the number of full-time direct jobs at the time of initial investment and at the time of filing. Investors are also asked for estimates of direct jobs to be created within a reasonable amount of time if there is any delay in job creation.
    • For Regional Center cases, detailed information of indirect job creation. Investors need to include a total number of indirect jobs created at the time of filing, as well as those to be created within a reasonable amount of time from filing. All RC-based filings must also include the RC Identification Number and the receipt number for the associated approved I-924.
    • New procedures at the biometric appointment. At the time of the ASC appointment, the Form and instructions require the Petitioner to sign, under penalty of perjury, a declaration indicating that he/she has reviewed the I-829 filing and understand its contents, attesting that all materials filed are “complete, true, and correct.” The instructions to the new form recommend the petitioner review the filing prior to the appointment. If the petitioner cannot “make that attestation in good faith at that time,” USCIS will require the investor to return for another appointment.
    *Disclaimer: The translations for the Form I-829 and Instructions are provided as a courtesy to members for members’ convenience. The Form I-829 translation is provided courtesy of Miller Mayer, LLP. Members are advised to check the translations for accuracy before using. Neither IIUSA nor Miller Mayer, LLP bears any responsibility for any translation error. Accurate translation was intended, but there may be inaccuracies. Neither IIUSA nor Miller Mayer, LLP claims responsibility for any translation error and provides no guarantee of provision or reliability. Neither IIUSA nor Miller Mayer, LLP assumes any liability for any loss or damage resulting from the translations provided.
    Jul
    29

    Missed last webinar on EB-5 market diversification? Take advantage of IIUSA’s comprehensive presentation library with the All Access Pass!

    Purchase your All Access Pass For Access to All Webinars, Video Recordings and More!
    All-Access Pass includes:
    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 2014. 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. A full list of our video library will be available within the next few weeks!
    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 (such as the much anticipated 2012 Economics Impact Report, due out in the first quarter of 2014). Additionally, pass holder can view articles from previous IIUSA publications including conference handbooks, quarterly magazines and more.
    Going Global: The Importance of Diversifying the EB-5 Marketplace (Available for $100/members & $198/nonmembers)

    If you would like to purchase webinar recordings à la carte, you can do so from the IIUSA Marketplace. To view the 50% off Member discount code, click here, you will need your IIUSA login to view the webpage. Email info@iiusa.org if you need assistance with your password.

    Purchase Here 

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    Topic:   While Chinese investors have driven the overall growth of the EB-5 Program over the past several years, the reality of visa retrogression (or a quota backlog for mainland EB-5 investors) means that EB-5 projects will need to look to other parts of the world for investment.

    When analyzing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudication data, and Department of State visa usage by country, there are several growth markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America that becoming more important for the EB-5 industry. This panel, which includes several members of IIUSA’s Investor Markets Committee, will examine several macro-trends affecting global EB-5 investment while also taking a more nuanced look into what motivates potential investment by immigration participants more broadly from other areas of the world.

    Other webinars available for purchase

    • May 28 – Loan Proceeds as Qualifying Capital for an EB-5 Investment (Purchase here)

    Description: In the April 22, 2015 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) public engagement with the EB-5 stakeholder community, the Immigrant Investor Program Office (“IPO”) articulated a new adjudications standard that precludes the EB-5 investor’s use of loan proceeds as a source of investment capital unless the investor shows that the promise to repay the loan has been secured by assets the investor owns.

    When using loan proceeds as EB-5 capital, a petitioner must demonstrate first that they are personally and primarily liable for the indebtedness. That is, they must demonstrate that they bear primary responsibility under the loan documents for repaying the debt that is being used to satisfy the petitioner’s minimum required investment amount.

    In addition, the petitioner must demonstrate that the indebtedness is secured by assets the petitioner owns and that the value of such collateral is sufficient to secure the amount of indebtedness that is being used to satisfy the petitioner’s minimum required investment amount. Put another way, indebtedness secured by assets owned by the petitioner qualifies as “capital” only up to the value of such collateralized assets.

    Join our expert panel for a discussion of the issue of “Indebtedness” as “capital” and what this might mean for cases pending before USCIS.

    • April 30 – EB-5 Visa Retrogression: What Does It Mean for Your Business? (Purchase here)

    Description: With applications for EB-5 visas reaching an all-time high, procedural changes to the issuance of visas this fiscal year will have widespread implications for investors, investment entities and for the USCIS policies that govern how the EB-5 Program functions.

    On August 23, 2014, the Department of State announced that for the first time ever, the maximum number of EB-5 visas which may be made available for use by individuals born in mainland China had been reached for fiscal year 2014. While the visa unavailability was quite short and affected very few investors, it is anticipated that a much longer quota backlog, most likely beginning in the 3rd quarter of Fiscal Year 2015, could lead to investors waiting in line for years to receive their conditional green card – a term in immigration law known as “retrogression” .

    Join our expert panel for a webinar to explore what the onset of EB-5 visa retrogression means for your business.

    • March 4 – Securities Laws & EB-5: Broker Dealer Business Model (Purchase here)

    Find out how the growing, and always evolving, role of broker/dealers in the EB-5 industry can benefit your business!

    In the past several years, the EB-5 industry has seen increased participation from broker/dealers. Licensed and regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) under U.S. securities laws, broker/dealers have successfully been part of marketing, consulting and more on EB-5 offerings.

    Our panel of experts discuss what this trend means for Regional Centers and other EB-5 stakeholders, and how industry participants can benefit.

    • February 5 – Review of IIUSA EB-5 Regional Center Industry Best Practices (Purchase here)

    Through its Best Practices Committee, IIUSA continuously explores and publishes industry best practices to further the professional and business goals of the Regional Center industry. By raising the bar at which the EB-5 Regional Center Program business is conducted, IIUSA advocates professional integrity by Regional Centers and the industry that serves them. The Program’s success is predicated on prudent and ethical business practices – developed by industry leaders and professionals who have spent years building the credibility of the Program through mutual respect and delivery of results.

    In June 2014, IIUSA adopted a new Code of Ethics (“Code”) and Standards of Professional Conduct (“Standards”), a streamlined procedure that promotes self-regulation within the EB-5 industry. In previous years, IIUSA provided recommended best practices for EB-5 Regional Centers on issues such as oversight/project selection, conflicts, securities issues, escrow, economic reporting, and more. IIUSA has also provided suggested best practices when dealing with agents/recruiters as well as recommended best practices for IIUSA member regarding “Know Your Customer (KYC)”.

    Review IIUSA’s EB-5 Regional Center Best Practices today!

    2014 Webinar Series

    • November 21 – Finance – EB-5 Escrow, Fund Administration & Bridge Loans (Purchase here)
    • November 6 – Form I-924A – Strategies for Fulfilling the Annual EB-5 Regional Center Reporting Requirement (Purchase here)
    • September 25 – EB-5 Economics: Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) & Economic Methodologies (Purchase here)
    • August 28 – USCIS EB-5 Adjudication Trends: I-526/I-829 Petitions & I-924 Applications (Purchase here)
    • July 31 – Securities Laws & EB-5: Enforcement Actions & Registration Guidance (Purchase here)
    • June 26 – Finance: Combining EB-5 Capital with Other Economic Development Tools (Purchase Here)
    • April 3 – Tools for EB 5 Due Diligence (Chapter 2) (Purchase here)
    • May 29 – EB-5 Economics: Overview of Available Input/Output Models (Purchase here)
    • February 27-  Securities Laws EB 5 Broker Dealer Business Model (Purchase here)
    Jul
    28

    Add “EB-5 Is Working” Logo to Your E-mail Signature & Help Reauthorize the Program!

    We are a little more than two months away from the EB-5 Regional Center Program’s “sunset date” on September 30th. With a swirl of political and policy discussions around the Program in Washington, DC, it is a critical time for industry participants to elevate our grassroots advocacy efforts into high gear!

    We invite you to copy/paste the special “EB-5 is working” logo (below) and drop it into your e-mail signature to encourage colleagues, partners and other stakeholders from the public and/or private sector to join us in supporting the EB-5 reauthorization effort. We need your help to expand the 630+ signatures on IIUSA’s “EB-5 is Working” Letter to over 800 by August 15th.

    Instructions on adding logo to e-mail signature *:

    1). Copy (or Control + C) the logo above
    2). On the right-hand dropdown menu, Go to “Settings”
    3). Scroll down to signature midway down your screen
    4). Paste under your name/title (Note: Please ensure the logo is linked to this URL)
    5). Encourage other stakeholders to sign-onto the form!

    *These instructions are for Gmail users. If you’d like to view instructions for Microsoft Outlook, please click this link

    “EB-5 is Working” Support Letter – What is it?

    The EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”) is due to “sunset” on September 30, 2015 absent Congressional action with American jobs on the line. Stand with IIUSA and the EB-5 Regional Center industry by signing onto a letter of support for permanent authorization of the Program so it can continue creating American jobs at no cost to the taxpayer! IIUSA led a diverse coalition of 375+ organizations in 2012 supporting the EB-5 Regional Center Program. With the growth of the Program’s economic contribution since 2012 – now representing billions of dollars in capital investment and GDP, support of tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, and the generation of over a billion dollars in federal/state/local taxes annually – the support has only grown.

    See the growing list of supporters from across sectors and all around the United States that are seeing the benefits of this activity first-hand, speaking with a loud voice: “EB-5 is Working.”​ The list is organized by latest new signatory by default with several additional filtering options provided. To view the actual letter to Members Of Congress, please click here.

    Jul
    27

    IIUSA Press Release: New USCIS Data Shows Remarkable Growth for EB-5 Program

    IIUSA analysis points to staggering increase in qualified funds raised and projected job creation

    Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the national not-for-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “program”), released its analysis of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data demonstrating significant growth of the EB-5 program in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2015.

    Under EB-5, a program created by Congress with broad bipartisan support, foreign nationals who invest between $500,000 and $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.

    According to IIUSA’s analysis, the amount of investment in the first two quarters of FY2015 represented a $400 million increase compared to the first two quarters of FY2014 and a $1.1 billion increase compared to the first two quarters of FY2013.

    Specific data points of interest include:

    • Foreign direct investment (FDI) through EB-5 totaled $826 million in the first quarter of FY2015 and $989 million in the second quarter of FY2015.
    • There are over 13,000 EB-5 eligibility petitions pending approval with USCIS, which represent over $6.5 billion in potential FDI.
    • Considering the amount invested so far, as well the number of petitions pending approval, EB-5 FDI in FY2015 is on track to nearly double the FDI from FY2013.

    “Nearly $1 billion in FDI per quarter is an amazing feat for our industry. It shows what an integral part of development finance capital markets EB-5 has become,” said IIUSA Executive Director Peter D. Joseph. “Although these investment amounts are staggering, there are still billions of more dollars in EB-5 investments waiting to be injected into the economy that are currently being held up by a growing backlog at USCIS.”

    With the program’s September 30th “sunset” date quickly approaching, a growing number of supporters are joining advocacy efforts supporting reauthorization. Both theU.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties recently adopted resolutions affirming their support for the Program, and over 600 individuals and organizations have signed IIUSA’s “EB-5 is Working” letter urging Members of Congress to pass reauthorization legislation. Reauthorization is critical to ensure that billions of investment dollars are available to create U.S. jobs and revitalize communities across the country.

    Jul
    24

    IIUSA Executive Director Interviewed on China Central Television (CCTV) News Report on EB-5 Program

    Last week, Chinese Central Television (CCTV) aired a report on the EB-5 program focusing on the current legislation surrounding the Program. Of particular focus was Congress’ recent legislative proposal that would raise the minimum investment to $800K. The broadcast also stressed the importance of using approved agents and developers and highlighted the importance of due diligence on the part of investors.

    IIUSA had the pleasure of welcoming CCTV to our Washington, DC offices to conduct an interview with Executive Director, Peter Joseph where Mr. Joseph commented on investor security and due diligence stating:

    “This program has grown as quickly as it has had, as we discussed earlier, 700 percent growth in about a 6 year time period…. Investors are also protected by US laws when they invest in the United States and the federal government has shown that they are willing to fight for investors when they step in, and if people are trying to take advantage of investors they will have to face the long arm of justice here in the US.”

    To view the video, click the link below.
     

     

    Jul
    23

    Register For Next Week’s Webinar – Banking & EB-5: Understanding the Roles of a Bank in EB-5 Transactions (7/30, 3:00pm EST/12:00pm PST)

    Panelists (Click Photos For Bios):
    Moderator:
    Bonnie Novella
    Chair, IIUSA Banking Committee; VP Business Development at NES Financial
    Michael Hines
    Director of Specialized Escrow Products, Banc of California
    Bob Kraft
    Director, IIUSA; Chairman, President, and CEO of FirstPathway Partners
    Daniel B. Lundy
    Partner, Klasko Immigration Law Partners
    Dan Shields
    President, AscendAmerica, LLC
    Steve Shpilsky
    Managing Principal,
    California Real Estate Regional Center, LLC

    Banking & EB-5: Understanding the Roles of a Bank in EB-5 Transactions

    When: Thursday  July 30, 2015

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

     
     
    *Note: Registration will be cut-off  the day of the webinar at 1:00pm est. 

    Topic: Banking institutions and financial services providers play a pivotal role throughout the EB-5 process in managing risk for the investors and project.

    On this webinar, our expert panel consisting of IIUSA Banking Committee members will discuss the important role a bank plays in an EB-5 transaction in today’s regulatory environment, including compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (“KYC”) regulations.

    Furthermore, our panelists will explain what steps project issuers and Regional Centers can take to avoid disruption, stay efficient and ensure EB-5 banking success.

    Join us on Thursday July 30th for this important webinar!

    Members use discount code for 50% off!

     

    Jul
    22

    National Association of Counties (NACo) Adopts Resolution in Support of EB-5 at its Annual Conference

    The proposed EB-5 policy resolution can be found in the Proposed Policy Resolutions and Platform Changes on page 6. Click Above.

    On July 10-11, IIUSA Advocacy Coordinator Ashley Sanislo Casey and IIUSA Advocacy Assistant Nicole Merlene traveled to Charlotte, NC to attend the the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 80th Annual Meeting. The advocacy team went to support a policy resolution they cultivated with the help of NACo members which being considered for adoption by the organization.

    Casey and Merlene attended two meetings of the Economic & Workforce Development Steering Committee on Friday and Saturday where they networked with county representatives, educated meeting attendees about EB-5, and answered questions of committee members about the Program. On Saturday afternoon, the steering committee unanimously voted in support of the EB-5 resolution, sending it to the NACo Board of Directors for formal adoption at their meeting on Monday, July 13.

    This is the third consecutive year that NACo has considered and adopted a policy resolution in support of the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The integral development that EB-5 provides to counties across the country is evident and reflected in the public pronouncement of support by NACo and its members. The proposed EB-5 policy resolution can be found in the Proposed Policy Resolutions and Platform Changes on page 6. The proposed policy recommendation states:

    NACo promotes EB-5 as an important tool for economic development, public private 37 partnerships, job creation and infrastructure development. NACo also supports EB-5 education 38 at NACo events, coordinated with IIUSA, to educate counties on how the Program can benefit 39 them.
    Jul
    21

    USCIS Announces EB-5 Investor Program Stakeholder Engagement for Thursday, August 13

    Last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its next EB-5 stakeholder engagement will be held on Thursday, Aug. 13, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) / 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Pacific). This engagement, held in Los Angeles, CA, is part of USCIS’ effort to enhance the dialogue between the agency and EB-5 stakeholders.

    The last USCIS Stakeholder Engagement was held April 22, 2015. Topics included bridge financing, indebtedness and visa retrogression among others. To view IIUSA’s notes on the April 22 engagement please click here and to listen to an audio recording of the event click here.

    During the first part of the upcoming engagement, USCIS officials will provide EB-5 program updates. The second part will be a question-and-answer session. USCIS invites you to ask non-case specific questions or provide feedback on the EB-5 program. The engagement can be attended either in person at the USCIS District Office, in Los Angeles, CA, or by teleconference.

    To register for this event please follow the steps below: 

    • Visit the registration page to confirm your participation
    • Enter your email address and select “Submit”
    • Select “Subscriber Preferences”
    • Select the “Event Registration” tab
    • Complete the questions and select “Submit”
    If you plan on attending in person you must indicate so by clicking on subscriber preferences and selecting your method of attendance.

    To submit non-case specific questions, please: 

    If you have any questions regarding the registration process, or if you have not received a confirmation email within two business days after you register, please email Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov 
    Jul
    20

    White House Releases Report on Modernizing & Streamlining the Immigration System – EB-5 Included in Recommendations

    In November 2014, President Obama announced he would take executive action to fix the immigration system and in conjunction with this action, issued a Presidential Memorandum, “Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century.”  In this Memorandum, the President directed the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to lead an interagency effort to develop recommendations, in consultation with stakeholders and experts, to:

    • reduce government costs, improve services for applicants, reduce burdens on employers, and combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the system;
    • ensure that policies, practices, and systems use all of the visa numbers that Congress provides for and intends to be used, consistent with demand; and
    • modernize the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system with the goal to reduce redundant systems, improve the experience of applicants, and enable better oversight.
    The report, released on July 16th, addresses several areas of the immigration system and EB-5 specifically on pages 30-31. From their research and communication, the following recommendations were made for improvements to the EB-5 Program:

    1. Update standards for the EB-5 Program. By enhancing program integrity and updating eligibility requirements, this program can better serve our nation. DHS intends to pursue rulemaking to achieve those goals, including by requiring conflict-of-interest disclosures by Regional Center principals, enhancing background checks and public disclosure requirements, and increasing the minimum qualifying level of investment. DHS will also take steps to improve the adjudication and approval of Regional Center applications
    2. Clarify options for potential EB-5 investors to obtain visitor visas. State will amend its guidance in the Foreign Affairs Manual to clarify that potential EB-5 investors can 31 obtain visitor visas to examine or monitor potential qualifying investments if they otherwise qualify for the visitor visa.

    The report recognizes the significant strides made in the recent past to improve the Program, including the creation of the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) and move of operations from California to Washington, DC as well as the hiring of qualified economic and business experts to undertake the adjudication process. Additionally, the increase of interagency collaboration between USCIS and other relevant agencies contributed to the recent Program improvements.

    These recommendations from the White House are an important reminder of the influence DHS can have on reforms of the Program as legislation is considered and policy changes seem imminent.

    IIUSA continues to monitor the political climate pertaining to the Program and is actively engaging with key offices to ensure the Program is reauthorized ahead of the sunset date and, in line with the White House’s recommendations, is improved to enhance integrity and impact without stifling the economic viability.

    To read the full report, click here. EB-5 is addressed on pages 27, 30-31, and 46.