May
    05

    RCBJ Retrospective: Informing the Future: Overview of Key Concepts from the 2015 EB-5 Reform Effort

    IMG_3785By Nicole Merlene
    IIUSA Advocacy Coordinator

    Since the last long-term reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”) in 2012, the EB-5 Regional Center industry, as well as those who have become beneficiaries of the Program and thus have an inherent stake in the industry, has changed substantially. The Program has grown by over 1,200% since the financial crisis of 2008 and EB-5 has now proven itself as an increasingly mainstream source of financing for economic development projects across the U.S. This exponential growth, coupled with an annual cap on visa numbers, high-profile cases of fraud and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions, and increased media scrutiny, made 2015 fertile ground for reform to the Program. Although Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill on September 30, 2016 that included a clean extension of the Program without any changes through the next fiscal year, the work that was done by Congressional leadership leading up to that reauthorization is important to understanding what comes next in the legislative process for EB-5.

    In the weeks leading up to the reauthorization deadline in December of 2015 there were numerous EB-5 reform drafts circulated. Key industry groups alongside Senate and House Judiciary Committees and Leadership staff sat at the negotiating table for months in an attempt to come to consensus. A detailed timeline of how this process played out can be found on IIUSA’s Member Portal and how drafts were revised over time. The final “December Draft” was from December 15th and would have been cited as the “American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act of 2015”. This article summarizes some of the key issues from the December Draft.

    Investment Amounts

    Staying competitive in the international immigrant investor marketplace is essential for EB-5 to maintain its position as the most popular program in the world. Different immigrant investor programs offer different benefits depending on what the immigrant is interested in. For example, an investor that wants residency in the European Union for a benefit such as a good education and healthcare or travel flexibility, Portugal has the option of investing €500,000 in Portuguese property. If an immigrant were looking for tax benefits, they might want to invest $400,000 on a property in St. Kitts & Nevis to obtain citizenship. Neither of these programs have the uncertainty of needing to meet an “at risk” requirement that is needed when applying to the EB-5 program. If America wants to continue to see the economic benefit that EB-5 has given our country, the goal of any reform policy needs to ensure that the U.S. minimum amounts continue to be competitive globally in order for any difference in targeted employment area (TEA) vs. non-TEA minimum levels to be fair.

    The “December Draft” kept the minimum investment level for non-TEA investments at $1 million and raised TEA level from $500,000 to $800,000, and those amounts would be automatically be adjusted every five fiscal years based on Consumer Price Index (CPI).

    Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs)

    TEAs have been an area of passionate debate in every corner of the EB-5 industry yielding many thoughtful ideas on how to update policy to 21st economic development priorities. There have been various proposals in Congress related to census-tract aggregation limitations, measuring commuting patterns to projects, or borrowing from other federal economic development programs on how geographic incentives are calculated. In the “December Draft”, for a project to be considered in a TEA meant that it met one of the following qualifications:

    1. Priority Urban Investment Area
    2. Rural Area
    3. Rural Poverty Area
    4. Special Investment Zone
    5. Closed Military Base, Infrastructure, or Manufacturing project

    Priority Urban Investment Area

    An area consisting of a census tract or tracts in a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) that has (1) average of 150% of the national unemployment, which may include one bordering census tract; (2) a poverty rate of at least 20%; or (3) a median family income of not more than 80% of the state or MSA median family income. The first provision is unique to EB-5, but the latter two are taken directly from New Market Tax Credits (NMTC). Both TEA and NMTC maps are readily available through online service providers.

    Rural Area

    A city or town that has a population of less than 20,000 people and (1) is outside of a MSA; (2) is within an outlying county of a MSA; or (3) is within any census tract that is greater than 100 square miles with a population density of fewer than 100 people per square mile. It is important to note that the prerequisite population requirement was defined as a city or town population rather than a county definition.

    Special Investment Zone

    A project in a city or county with 150% of the national unemployment or an area of up to 12 contiguous census tracts that do not include census tracts with no residential population unless that area is for commercial use and the 12 census tracts are 150% of the national unemployment. This final draft did away with the controversial “doughnut approach” that required the contiguous tracts to be bordering the project tract.

    Closed Military Base, Infrastructure, Manufacturing

    A project would qualify as in a TEA if it were located in the area of a military base that closed in a 20-year period preceding a business plan application, or if it were an infrastructure or manufacturing project. An infrastructure project would need to be administered by a governmental entity and a manufacturing project would have the purpose to improve, construct, or operate a plant, factory, or mill.

    Visa Set Asides

    The “December Draft” also pondered an entirely new way of incentivizing investments by way of visa set asides for Priority Urban Investment Areas, Rural Areas, and non-TEA investments – with the remaining allocated based on demand. The “set aside” terms refers to the concept that if all of the visas set aside for certain investments were not used in a year, the visas would be set aside for a period of time for investors (and family) in these qualifying projects. The amount of time that visas would be required to stay set aside for these categories changed many times during reform negotiations. With almost 22,000 I-526 petitions pending in addition to all approved investors and their family dependents that are or would be seeking visas, a visa set aside could be a powerful way to encourage the financing of projects in these areas. However with so many in line already, going forward, any discussion of visa allocation needs to be part of a robust discussion to increase EB-5 visa capacity.

    In response to concerns that the “set aside” concept out exacerbate existing capacity issues, the “December Draft” included a mechanism for those already in line for a visa to re-classify into one of the investment categories that had a set aside. IIUSA studied how the mechanism would work by running an analysis of projects in its proprietary database. IIUSA receives project information from member input, publicly available information, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. You can find this information on IIUSA’s member portal.

    2,000 for Rural Areas

    IIUSA found 29 projects in our database would have qualified as rural, representing 4,192 investors or a minimum of about $2 billion. In calculating visa allocations to this area we made an assumption of 2.5 visas per investor to represent the investor and their dependent family members. With this assumption, we would suggest that about 10,480 visas currently in line would have been able to re-classify for the set-aside.

    2,000 for Priority Urban Investment Areas

    IIUSA found 26 projects would have qualified for this set aside, representing 3,171 investors or a minimum of about $1.6 billion. Still using an assumption of 2.5 visas per investor, 7,928 visas currently in line would have been able to re-classify for the set-aside.

    2,000 for the Non-TEA Level

    As things stand currently, over 95% of all EB-5 investments are used to finance projects in TEAs. This non-TEA set aside has the policy intent of creating another incentive (visa availability) to support a market for the higher investment amount. There would have been very few in line for visas currently eligible for this re-classification.

    Conclusion

    These three issues are far from the only aspects of reform that we must examine. Others include job creation methodologies, investor and Regional Center fees, effective dates, national security/anti-fraud/compliance provisions, and more. With opportunity for legislative reform and long-term re-authorization significantly diminished in a presidential election year, these issues have formed a basis for discussion for stakeholders to find new ways to compromise and come together to build consensus on these issues so that reform and long-term reauthorization is possible when the opportunity comes.

    IIUSA is actively engaged in finding solutions and consensus amongst our membership through various outlets. Over half of IIUSA membership has responded to a survey on policy issues. More opportunities are on the horizon at the Annual EB-5 Regional Economic Development Advocacy Conference this April, the findings will be presented at the Annual Membership Meeting as part of an interactive review of results and then made available online. IIUSA’s Public Policy Committee has developed comments to S. 2415 (“EB-5 Integrity Act of 2015”) for Board consideration while IIUSA’s Executive Director will testify at an upcoming Senate hearing on EB-5 and TEAs.

    Through these various policy development tools and important advocacy efforts, IIUSA continues its commitment to an always-improving inclusive process that has been the hallmark of IIUSA’s representation of the EB-5 industry since its founding. Please get involved in these processes within IIUSA as well as directly connect with your Congressional representatives. Together we will ensure EB-5 continues to be a transformative regional economic development tool for the 21st century.

    May
    03

    Mourning the Loss of Our Colleague, Julie C. Ferguson

    Miami immigration lawyer and long-time IIUSA Member Julie Christine Ferguson passed away in Washington, D.C. April 21. She was 49

    By David Adams

    (Reprinted with permission from Miami New Times)

    Julie Ferguson was admired among her legal colleagues for her free spirit, kindness, and work ethic. She often took on tough, financially unrewarding cases, and was actively involved in humanitarian causes.

    Tall, elegant, and athletic, she made friends everywhere she went — from courthouses and her chiropractor’s office to walks with her dog. Passionate about the outdoors, she liked to paddleboard on Biscayne Bay as well as play tennis twice a week at the Grove Isle Tennis Club.

    Sorority sister Elizabeth Butler Pruett says that “her smile transformed a room, and her beaming presence was a magnet to all.”

    Ferguson’s passionate humanitarianism led to her involvement in numerous charities, including the group Flying High for Haiti, which supports a community school on the poor island of Île-à-Vache. She also volunteered in Cuba with Alternatives to Violence, which works in prisons around the world teaching inmates how to manage conflict in creative and peaceful ways.

    Ferguson found her soul mate five years ago when she was hired to represent Oriano Galloni, a talented Italian marble sculptor from Carrara. They were married in a small, intimate ceremony on a catamaran off Miami on a sunny afternoon in September 2013.

    The handful of close friends who attended were kept in the dark until the last minute, when a notary declared them husband and wife as they stood smiling at the back of the boat dressed casually in white.
    The couple spent their summers together at Galloni’s studio in Carrara, where Ferguson somehow found time to work on her case file while also creating her own art pieces.

    Navigating clients through the U.S. immigration legal maze often seemed to be a labor of love for Ferguson, clients recalled on Facebook after learning of her passing.

    “Julie was a highly skilled, determined, and compassionate immigration lawyer. She cared deeply about her clients and fought for them relentlessly,” says Roger Bernstein, a fellow immigration attorney. “She was a tenacious litigator and had the special ability to effortlessly take over the courtroom. She excelled in the area of asylum law, successfully advocating for those who had suffered persecution. While some shrunk away from complex litigation, Julie thrived and rose to the challenge.”

    Ferguson was a specialist in difficult cases that required waivers of inadmissibility, resulting in her authoring a handbook on the subject that synthesized her many years of experience with strategies, checklists, and practical tips on a variety of waiver applications. The handbook was widely used as a resource by thousands of immigration practitioners.

    Most recently, she concentrated on counseling foreign investors who participated in the EB-5 investor visa program, resulting in the creation of hundreds of new jobs. She lectured frequently, was a mentor to many young lawyers, and was widely admired and respected by her colleagues.

    Ferguson often worked pro bono, devoting as much energy to clients less fortunate as she did to those who were wealthy. She did not let the discretionary whims of immigration judges get her down. One of her clients — a young Honduran man named Kenny Rivera who fled to Miami in 2002 to escape a violent street gang — was facing deportation after his case was assigned to an elderly judge known to have little sympathy for undocumented Hispanics. Ferguson argued he deserved consideration for political asylum as he claimed to have been forcibly recruited by the gang, tattooed, and threatened with death if he failed to do their bidding. With the help of friends and contacts in Honduras, Ferguson was able to prove his story and win the case.

    A native of Michigan, Ferguson graduated from Greenville High School in 1985; DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana; and the University of Geneva, Switzerland in 1989 with a BA in philosophy and economics. She went on to earn her law degree, as well as a master’s in international affairs, from American University. She was admitted to the bar in Florida, New York, and Maryland.

    Ferguson died after an accident while attending a conference of IIUSA (Invest in the USA), an advocacy event for the EB-5 investor visa program.

    “She will be so very missed, and will be remembered for her kindness, intellect, and leadership,” IIUSA executive director Peter D. Joseph says.

    Julie was born in Lake Forest, Illinois, March 15, 1967. She is survived by her Galloni and his parents, Asunta and Eramis Galloni, and brother Claudio. She is also survived by her parents, Roy and Marilyn Ferguson, and brother and sister-in-law Roy and Courtney, as well as their four children, Roy, Saylor, Nautica, and Piper. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Kathryn Genus Gates and Ellsworth Sanders.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to Flying High for Haiti via flyinghighforhaiti.com or Americans for Immigrant Justice at aljustice.org.

    A funeral will be held Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Greenville, Michigan. A celebration of her life will also be held in Miami in early June.

    May
    03

    EB-5 Investor Market Report Details Industry Trends, Emerging Markets

    investor markets

    We at IIUSA are proud to announce the publication of the first ever Investor Markets Report. The report comes at a critically important time for the EB-5 industry and we hope that it provides insightful quantitative and qualitative analysis of established and emerging EB-5 investor markets.

    With the new reality that investors from Mainland China will have to wait a minimum of six years, before a visa number will be available for them to use an approved I-526 petition to immigrate to the United States it becomes advantageous to analysis emerging and established EB-5 Markets elsewhere in the world.

    A successful and strong EB-5 Program of the future will not only feature more visas but an increasingly diversified investor market place. To this end, IIUSA has taken steps to formulate and promote relationships with thought leaders from investor markets with the highest potential and industry leaders with expertise on these markets to facilitate the flow of information on emerging EB-5 Investor Markets.

    Over the last few years IIUSA has realized the intrinsic need for an infrastructure through which the EB-5 industry can gain unique market insights about markets with the most growth potential. IIUSA continued efforts are evident by the formation of the Investor Markets Committee in July of 2014, the regular investor market articles in the Regional Center Business Journal as well as in newsletters to the membership and industry.

    The first volume of the Investor Markets Report, includes both on-the-ground insights and comprehensive quantitate analysis of EB-5 investor trends and is the first report of its kind for the EB-5 industry. By crunching the numbers on comprehensive data-sets of both USCIS petition data as well as Department of State visa statistics, we can now visualize the influx of investment from around the world and extrapolate where growth may yet come. The annual report will help EB-5 stakeholders draw important conclusion that can lead to actionable steps by project sponsors to bring new investors through the Program.

    The following report is the culmination of months of hard work and is a primer for what is to come in the years ahead. As the EB-5 industry continues to evolve IIUSA will continue to be an educational leader in EB-5 investor markets and the untapped potential that they may hold.

    Read the Report 

    View the EB-5 Investor Origins Map

     

    EB-5 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) FOREIGN DIRECT & I-526 Approvals by Region (FY1992-FY2014)

    EB-5 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) & I-526 Approvals by Region (FY1992-FY2014)

    top15

    Apr
    28

    Introducing IIUSA’s Newly-elected Officers and Directors & Newly-appointed Committee Chairs

    On Wednesday April 20th, IIUSA hosted its 11th Annual General Membership Meeting (“AGM”) in Washington, D.C., kicking off the 9th Annual EB-5 Advocacy Conference, the longest running EB-5 conference attended by international investment and economic development professionals around the world.

    The IIUSA membership elected one new officer and three new directors to the board. Stephen Strnisha, CEO of Cleveland International Fund, was chosen as the new Secretary-Treasurer, while Daniel J. Healy, CEO, Civitas Capital Group, Charles Foster, Chairman, Foster Global LLP and Kyle Walker, Managing Partner, Green Card Fund, LLC were elected to the board of directors.

    In addition, Robert G. Honts, CEO, Texas Lone Star Enterprises, accepted the honorary position of Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus and William P. Gresser, President, EB-5 New York State Regional Center, accepted the honorary position of Director Emeritus.

    In addition, IIUSA recently appointed new committee chairs for three of its 10 standing committees. The 2016-2017 chairs are:  William P. Gresser (Public Policy Committee), President, EB-5 New York State Regional Center, Kristen Laughlin (Membership Committee) CMO, Cleveland International Fund and Daniel B. Lundy, Partner, Klasko Immigration Law Partners & Mark Roberts, VP, Alliance Bank of Arizona (Co-Chairs, Banking Committee).

    Re-Elected (Officers): 

    President: K. David Andersson, CEO, WORC Regional Centers (2010-Present)
    K. David Andersson
    • Member Since: 2006
    • Director (2007-2010)
    • President (2010-current)
    • President’s Advisory Council (2011-current)
    • Company Webpage: www.eb5worc.com 
    Vice President: Robert C. Divine, Chair of Global Immigration Practice, Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. (2010-Present)
    Robert C. Divine
    • Member Since: 2010
    • Vice President (2010- current)
    • President’s Advisory Council (2011-current)
    • Public Policy Regulations Task Force (2014- current)
    • Company Webpage: www.bakerdonelson.com
     

    Newly Elected (Officer): 

     
    Secretary-Treasurer: Stephen Strnisha, CEO, Cleveland International Fund  
    Stephen Strnisha
     

    Newly Elected (Directors): 

    Charles Foster, Chairman, Foster LLP 
     
    Daniel J. Healy, CEO, Civitas Capital Group
    Daniel J. Healy
    • Member since: 2011
    • Best Practices Committee Chair (2013-2015)
    • Nominations Committee Chair (2013)
    • Presidents Advisory Council (2014-Current)
    • Company Webpage: www.civitascapital.com
     
    Kyle Walker, Managing Partner, Green Card Fund LLC 
    Kyle Walker
    • Member Since: 2010
    • Chair Membership Committee (2013-2016)
    • Presidents Advisory Council (2013-Present)
    • Company Webpage: greencardfund.com
     

    New Emeritus Officers & Directors:

    Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus: Robert G. Honts, CEO, Lone Star Enterprises
    Robert G. Honts
    • Member Since: 2009
    • Secretary-Treasurer (2010-2016)
    • President’s Advisory Council
      (2011-current)
    • Chair, Budget & Finance Committee (2010-current)
    • Chair, Bylaws Committee (2011-present)
    • Association Building Committee (2014-current)
    • Chair, Membership, Dues, Bylaws Committee (2010-2011)
    • Editorial Committee (2014-present)
    • Company Webpage: texaslonestarenterpriseseb5.com
     

    Newly-Appointed Committee Chairs 

    In addition to changes listed above, IIUSA would like to announce the appointment of new committee chairs three of its 10 standing committees.

    Public Policy: William P. Gresser, President, EB-5 New York State Regional Center
    William P. Gresser
     
    Membership: Kristen Laughlin, Chief Marketing Officer, Cleveland International Fund 
    Kristen Laughlin
     
    Banking: Daniel B. Lundy, Klasko Immigration Law Partners & Mark Roberts, VP, Specialty Banking Manager, Alliance Bank of Arizona
    Daniel B. Lundy
    Mark Roberts
    A full listing of each IIUSA committee, along with their respective charter, can be found here. IIUSA committees convene on a monthly basis and report to the membership at the annual membership meeting in Washington, DC each spring.

    If you are interested in serving on an IIUSA Committee, please carefully review the Committee Participation and Policy Agreement and fill out the Committee Interest Form.
     
    Submissions will be taken through the end of April. If you have any questions, email info@iiusa.org.
    Apr
    27

    Visit the USCIS Idea Community to Provide Feedback on Potential EB-5 Regulatory and Policy Changes

    On April 27th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent a message to EB-5 Stakeholders encouraging the use of its “Idea Community” online crowdsourcing tool for comment on potential EB-5 regulatory and policy changes. Visit the Idea Community. Below is the message in full.

    Dear Stakeholder,

    As mentioned at the EB-5 listening session on April 25, USCIS is considering potential EB-5 regulatory and policy changes and 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 crowdsourcing 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.

    You can visit the USCIS Idea Community to submit your ideas on the four topics listed above until May 11, 2016.

     See you in the USCIS Idea Community!

    Apr
    27

    Join IIUSA at the Investment Migration Forum in Geneva, Switzerland this June!

    IMC

    IIUSA is proud to be a sponsor of the 2016 Investment Migration for hosted in Geneva, Switzerland June 6-8.  The Forum is a program packed with exciting sessions lead by global indsutry leaders, politicians and academics. For a limited time only you can book your tickets at a 2 for 1 offer. For more information on the forum please see below or visit the forum webpage. 

    Register Here 

    About the Forum

    The Investment Migration Forum is the world’s premier independent forum on the subject of citizenship-by-investment and investor immigration. Renowned academics, government officials, representatives of international organizations, as well as the world’s leading professionals dealing with investor immigration and citizenship will be gathering in Geneva. The two day event (plus one academic day) will cover a variety of related subjects which are of interest to the academic, professional and government community. A limited number of partnership opportunities are available for highly respected firms to participate in the success of the forum and to improve their visibility.

    Who Should Attend 

    Senior level representatives of the global immigration industry, academics, migration agents, immigration law firms, wealth managers, UHNWI’s, government representatives, international organizations involved in immigration and citizenship-by-investment

    Why Attend? 

    This leading event will allow your company to have significant presence in the most important global forum in the field. Insights to the latest developments in citizenship and residence programmes, networking opportunities with the leading industry professionals and senior government officials and updates directly from leading academics and influential thought leaders in the field.

    IIUSA & IMC Announce Collaborate Partnership Agreement

    Cooperation between trade associations to promote global standards of best practices for investment migration professionals

    iiusaimc

    On April 21st, Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the U.S.-based not-for-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”) and the Investment Migration Council (IMC), the worldwide association for Investor Immigration and Citizenship-by-Investment, announced a strategic partnership arrangement that will enhance collaboration on initiatives for industry best practices, education and development.

    “As the leading EB-5 industry trade association, IIUSA is proud to commence a long-term partnership with the IMC to enhance public understanding of issues facing investment migration professionals in the U.S. and around the globe, “ said IIUSA Executive Director Peter D. Joseph. “This partnership will enable IIUSA’s existing members and partners to access a range of exciting new resources and connections to increase awareness worldwide of the EB-5 visa category.”

    The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two organizations will lead to streamlined cooperation in the following five areas: membership exchange, conference collaboration, industry & professional development, organizational promotion and industry best practices.

    Bruno L’ecuyer, CEO of the Investment Migration Council commented, “The collaboration between the IMC and IIUSA is a natural step forward for both organizations but also benefitting the investor immigration industry globally, after opening our regional office in New York a few months ago, our commitment to serving American practitioners who work in the industry is cemented through this exciting new partnership,’’ L’ecuyer said. ‘’I am personally looking forward to sitting down with many EB-5 professionals and understanding how the IMC can provide support in a global context’’.

    The agreement was officially announced at IIUSA’s 9th Annual EB-5 Advocacy Conference, the EB-5 industry’s premier conference for grassroots advocacy, industry education, networking. The conference boasted over 350 people in attendance and a full schedule of speakers, Capitol Hill visits, networking and meetings. Attendees were treated to seven Guests of Honor from the federal government, 30+ additional speakers on seven industry panels, and two nights of receptions.

    The Investment Migration Forum, to be held June 6-8 in Geneva, Switzerland, will serve as another global platform to highlight the cooperation between IIUSA and the IMC. The Forum is the world’s premier independent forum on the subject of citizenship-by-investment and investor immigration, and will discuss many issues directly relevant to IIUSA members.

    ##

    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 290 Regional Centers and 230 associated 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.

    The Investment Migration Council (IMC) is the worldwide association for investor immigration and citizenship-by-investment formed by the leading experts within the immigration and citizenship-by-investment industry to bring together the foremost stakeholders within the field and to give the industry a voice. The IMC helps to improve public understanding of the issues faced by clients and government in this area, promote education and foster the highest professional standards and ethics among its members.

    Apr
    26

    Press Release: IIUSA Hosts Successful 2016 Membership Meeting in Washington, DC

    IIUSA Hosts Successful 2016 Membership Meeting in Washington, DC

    Highlights included election of new officers & directors, committee reports, and a first-of-its-kind interactive session on EB-5 policy

    On Wednesday April 20th, Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the national not-for-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center IIUSA Seal 2015 (png)Program (the “Program”), held its 11th Annual General Membership Meeting (“AGM”) in Washington, D.C. The membership meeting kicked off the 9th Annual EB-5 Advocacy Conference, the longest running EB-5 conference attended by international investment and economic development professionals around the world.

    “IIUSA is proud to once again host the EB-5 industry in Washington, D.C. for grassroots advocacy, advanced education and business development opportunities,” said IIUSA President K. David Andersson. “This Annual General Meeting provides our members with opportunities to engage in policy development, select new leaders and to develop and refine organization’s priorities. I look forward to working with the newly elected leaders of IIUSA in the year ahead.”

    The IIUSA membership elected one new officer and three new directors to the board. Stephen Strnisha, CEO of Cleveland International Fund, was chosen as the new Secretary-Treasurer, while Daniel J. Healy, CEO, Civitas Capital Group, Charles Foster, Chairman, Foster Global LLP and Kyle Walker, Managing Partner, Green Card Fund, LLC were elected to the board of directors. In addition, Robert G. Honts, CEO, Texas Lone Star Enterprises, accepted the honorary position of Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.

    The membership meeting also featured an interactive policy review & ratification session, committee report adoption and annual budget ratification. Members also had the opportunity to participate in focus groups and IIUSA committee meetings.

    After the AGM, IIUSA hosted its 9th Annual EB-5 Advocacy Conference at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC – a hotel completed in 2014 with the help of EB-5 investment. The EB-5 Program emerged as a much-needed foreign direct investment into the U.S. since the financial crisis in 2008, growing by over 1,200% from a few hundred million dollars then to over a billion dollars per quarter in 2015.

    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 270 Regional Centers and 190 associated members. 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.

    Apr
    25

    Dial-in for Today’s USCIS EB-5 Stakeholder Engagement (1pm EST/10am PST)

    USCIS EB-5 Stakeholder Engagement Dial-in Information

    Monday April 25, 2016 1:00 p.m. (Eastern)


    EB-5 Stakeholder Listening Session

    When: Monday April 25, 2016

    Time: 1:00 pm EST/10am PST

    Toll-free call-in number: 1-800-619-3257

    Toll number if you are calling from outside the U.S.: 1-210-234-0095

    Passcode: 74684

    Details:  On Monday April 25th at 1:00 pm EST/10am PST, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will hold a stakeholder to discuss the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Please see below the four topics that USCIS would like your input on during the listening session. Please note, suggestions and ideas will not be collected prior to the listening session.

    • 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.

    For more information, you can contact a USCIS represntative at USCIS-IGAOutreach@uscis.dhs.gov.

    Apr
    20

    Tweet along with IIUSA at the EB-5 Advocacy Conference Today Through Friday! #EB5isWorking

    Tweet

    The 9th Annual IIUSA EB-5 Advocacy Conference begins today and continues through Friday April 22nd. To follow the action, tweet the conference slogan: #EB5isworking. To visit IIUSA’s twitter page, click here and follow us!

    Next week, we will highlight the best tweets on the blog.

    For a full list of speakers, and to experience the mobile app from your computer, click here.

    Apr
    19

    U.S. Department of State Issues May Visa Bulletin Cutoff Date for Mainland China Applicants Advances

    The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs released its Visa Bulletin for the month of May 2016 (View PDF). The bulletin revealed a cutoff date February 8, 2014 for Mainland-China born visa applicants, moving up a week from February 1, 2014 in the April bulletin.

    As of March 1, Chinese investors who filed their I-526 petitions before January 22, 2014 will be eligible to schedule interviews with Department of State Consular offices and be issued conditional immigration visas to enter the U.S. or apply for adjustment of status if they are already in the U.S.

    Action dates for other countries remain current, allowing qualified applicants from other parts of the world to move forward with obtaining their EB-5 visa.

    United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs May 2016 Visa Bulletin

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