Mr. Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, shared advance information with IIUSA regarding important updates on the EB-5 cut-off dates in the upcoming December Visa Bulletin. Additionally, IIUSA obtained the latest data on the number of EB-5 visa applicants waiting at the National Visa Center (NVC) by country of birth, an important gauge of the current EB-5 visa backlog.
Upcoming December Visa Bulletin
Mr. Oppenheim indicated that there is going be some “very interesting news” for “certain EB-5 visa applicants” in the upcoming December Visa Bulletin, which is scheduled to be published on the Department of State’s website on Monday (November 15, 2021).
While Mr. Oppenheim is not able to disclose the new cut-off dates for EB-5, he hinted that the upcoming Visa Bulletin “will definitely make a certain group (of EB-5 applicants) very happy.” In addition, he also encourages EB-5 stakeholders to pay close attention to Item F in the December Visa Bulletin. IIUSA anticipates some positive movement on the EB-5 dates in December and will publish further analysis as soon as the new Visa Bulletin is available.
2021 NVC Wait List
In addition, Mr. Oppenheim also shared the latest data on the EB-5 visa applicant waitlist at NVC. As of November 1, 2021, there were more than 49,000 EB-5 visa applicants (including principal investors and qualified family derivatives) waiting at NVC, with nearly 42,200, or 86%, of applicants from Mainland China.
The table below summarizes the latest EB-5 waitlist at NVC by applicant’s country of origin:
The latest data illustrates that India and Taiwan saw the largest year-over-year increase in the number of EB-5 visa applicants waiting at NVC, showing an annual growth of 134% and 146% respectively. In contrast, the backlog of EB-5 visa applicants from Mainland China and Vietnam experienced a year-over-year reduction, declining by 6% and by 23% respectively between 2020 and 2021.
According to Mr. Oppenheim, a total of 280,000 immigrant visas are available to the Employment-Based categories in FY2022, another record-high number thanks to the unused Family-Based visas left over from FY2021. With 7.1% of the Employment-Based immigrant visas reserved for the EB-5 category, approximately 19,880 visas are available to EB-5 applicants in FY2022. The surge of EB-5 visa availability in FY2022 could help reduce the current backlog significantly as soon as the Regional Center Program is reauthorized by Congress.
Last but not least, IIUSA would like to send our special thank you to Mr. Oppenheim for his long-standing engagement with the EB-5 industry. His special insights and first-hand statistics are critical to promote transparency and further the success of the EB-5 Program. With his upcoming retirement from the Department of State in December 2021, IIUSA would like to congratulate him for a distinguished and successful career and we wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.