We’ve got USCIS EB-5 questions — September 9th, do they have answers?

  • Posted on August 22, 2019 | Updated on August 22, 2019 | 5 min read

EB5 expert Suzanne Lazicki has drafted an article regarding the upcoming USCIS EB-5 listening session, September 9. Making astute observations about processing, regulations and more, she asks some excellent questions. For example, is the significant drop in efficiency in FY 2019 due to a loss in resources or different adjudication standards? Will we return to 2018’s processing rates?

Lazicki’s EB-5 visa program-related observations & questions

IPO had reported major increases in processing in the fall of 2018, with IPO Chief Sarah Kendall attributing the positive change to increased investment in resources.

Processing efficiency FY 2017 vs. FY 2018

I-526: +21.9%     I-829 +2.6%         I-924 +72.5%

Processing efficiency FY 2018 vs. FY 2019 (year to date)

I-526: – 47%%     I-829 – 50%          I-924 – 76%

Lazicki wants to know if such a steep decline in productivity is because of a loss of resources or because of a different adjudication process. If resources are the reason, can this be fixed? If changes in the process are the reason, what are the new changes? Perhaps most importantly, she asks, does IPO anticipate a return to the high processing volume of FY 2018?

Kendall announced in late 2018 that “we are fully staffed now,” with “close to 200 plus personnel.” So, what is the current staffing situation in terms of how many people are handling each type of adjudication? And will staffing change any time soon?

USCIS declares online that “we generally process cases in the order we receive them.” Yet Lazicki points out that the huge spread in estimated processing times shows us that some cases are processed two or more years more quickly than others. What is causing this? She asks if the number of investors in a project or the investors’ nationality are factors.

With investment-amount and TEA-designation changes to the EB-5 green card program coming November 21, 2019, Lazicki also wonders what IPO is doing to prepare. She asks if IPO will give further clarification on required TEA evidence and priority date retention as she cites “ambiguities” regarding both policy changes.

Another interesting point Lazicki raises concerns regional center compliance. Noting that IPO terminated 83 regional centers in 2017, 133 in 2018, and only 11 well thus far in 2019, she questions if such a notable drop in terminations is due to different standards for regional centers or an increase in their compliance. With stricter TEA regulations coming soon and an increased political focus on the program, we have to expect more lax standards would not be the reason here.

Read about these issues and more in Suzanne Lazicki’s Questions for USCIS Engagment

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