Today, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) provided new guidance pertaining to 1.) the sustainment period and 2.) the treatment of investors tied to terminated regional centers.
The relevant text of the guidance regarding sustainment states,
[w]e interpret the start date as the date the requisite amount of qualifying investment is made and believe this interpretation is consistent with the statutory language. In other words, we will use the date the investment was contributed to the new commercial enterprise and placed at risk in accordance with applicable requirements, including being made available to the job-creating entity.”
The text of the guidance regarding the treatment of investors tied to terminated regional centers states:
- We interpret INA 203(b)(5)(M) to apply to pre-RIA investors associated with a terminated regional center (or debarred new commercial enterprise or job-creating entity). However, rather than strictly applying the notification timeframes at INA 203(b)(5)(M)(ii) and (iii)(I), we will extend the deadline for pre-RIA investors to respond to a regional center termination notification until the agency adjudicates their Form I-526 petition. If needed, we may issue a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny for the investor to establish continued eligibility.
- We may use the procedural flexibilities provided under INA 203(b)(5)(M) to extend the response deadline of 180 days for notices of continued eligibility. The extension will decrease the likelihood of operational burdens and expand the intent of the statute to permit good faith investors of terminated regional centers to retain their eligibility.
- When a regional center is terminated for purely administrative noncompliance, we may determine that the termination would generally not adversely affect a pre-RIA investor’s basic eligibility under INA 203(b)(5) (including the ability to continue to claim indirect jobs), because their investment and resulting job creation would likely remain undisturbed.
- We may choose not to extend applicable response deadlines when a regional center is terminated for substantive reasons that may affect continued eligibility of their associated investors.
- These are major and productive updates, for the Program, and IIUSA is working on a full analysis.
IIUSA is evaluating this guidance and will provide further information as its staff and members have an opportunity to fully review and contextualize the new information.