With the unprecedented overseas wealth, economic opportunity in the U.S., and hard work of the Regional Center industry, the EB-5 Program is experiencing exponential growth and building a record of delivering benefits. Over 7,600 in FY2012, up from 3,500+ in FY2011. With this growth and success come new realities for the EB-5 industry, however. The U.S. immigration and visa allocation system has a limited number of total visas available per program, and per country within each program (known as “per country caps”). These limits are predicted to become relevant for Chinese EB-5 applicants during the current fiscal year (FY).
Those who attended the IIUSA EB-5 Advocacy Conference in DC in October 2012, were first alerted to this issue by Conference Guest of Honor Charles Oppenheim, Chief of Visa Controls, U.S. Department of State, who stated that a “cut-off date” may be established during the second half of FY2013 for Chinese EB-5 visa applicants due trends of high and growing demand. The approximately 10,000 allocated annually are on pace to be utilized in full during FY2013. The Department of State has now formally issued the alert in its December 2012 Visa Bulletin, stating:
*The following advisory is based strictly on the current demand situation. Since demand patterns can (& sometimes do) change over time, this should be considered a worst case scenario at this point.
It appears likely that a cut-off date will need to be established for the China Employment Fifth preference category at some point during second half of fiscal year 2013. Such action would be delayed as long as possible, since while number use may be excessive over a 1 to 5 month period, it could average out to an acceptable level over a longer (e.g., 4 to 9 month) period. This would be the first time a cut-off date has been established in this category, which is why readers are being provided with maximum amount of advance notice on the possibility.
The above projections for the Family and Employment categories are for what could happen during each of the next few months based on current applicant demand patterns. The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables which can change at any time. Those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future, with the possible exception of the China Employment Fifth preference category mentioned above.
In order to plan accordingly, the Regional Center industry will need to develop an understanding of this issue from multiple perspectives.
What needs to be added to EB-5 investment offering documents to address this? How long will investors with approved I-526 petitions have to wait before applying for their visa? What impact will this have on the source of EB-5 investment capital? Is this a permanent issue for the Program?
Join IIUSA for a panel of industry experts to find out the answers to these questions and MUCH MORE on FRIDAY 12/7/2012 at 2PM EST!
Email Peter D. Joseph, IIUSA Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in sponsorship.