Last week, the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Ombudsman) submitted its 2017 Annual Report to Congress. The Ombudsman’s role is to assist individuals and employers with problems with USCIS and make recommendations to improve the delivery of immigration services. The Ombudsman is an independent Department of Homeland Security component.
The Report highlights some of the ongoing concerns surrounding the EB-5 Regional Center Program including ongoing short-term legislative reauthorizations, proposed regulatory reforms and growing visa backlogs. The Ombudsman will continue to examine the EB-5 program, engaging USCIS and stakeholders as the agency implements any statutory changes, considers regulatory changes, and expands its compliance activities.
EB-5 Highlights from the Report
- 90 USCIS Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) currently has 90 unfilled positions. The IPO is authorized to employ up to 247 full-time employees (including adjudicators, compliance officers, economists, and fraud and national security officers, as well as administrative support)
- 58,043 Petitions pending USCIS adjudication
- 30,000 Number of petitioners currently waiting for immigrant visa issuance.
- 88,000+ EB-5 Investors with an approved or pending I-526 petitions.
- 10 Years Investors and their dependents from China who are at the end of the Form I-526 adjudication queue may have to wait 10 years or longer for immigrant visas under the EB-5 program.