A report from the Citizenship and Immigration (CIS) Services Ombudsman provides a series of recommendations for USCIS to stabilize and strengthen the Employment Creation EB-5 immigrant visa program. This program, which allocates 10,000 immigrant visas under the EB-5 category each year, currently only issues 1,000 or less of these visas per year. This underutilization of the program, the Ombudsman comments, is caused by multiple determinants. The published recommendations could potentially strengthen the program.
The following recommendations were made by the CIS Ombudsman:
(1) Finalize regulations to implement the special 2002 EB-5 legislation, which would give certain subgroups of EB-5 investors a clear pathway to fix deficiencies in their previously submitted applications.
(2) Publish Standard Operating Procedures for Form I-526, the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Form I-829, the Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, that would specifically direct EB-5 adjudicators to not reconsider or re-adjudicate the indirect job creation process in cases at Regional Centers where there is no clear error or the evidence of fraud.
(3) Categorize more EB-5 Administrative Appeals Office decisions as “precedent/adopted” decisions in order to give relevant individuals a more clear understanding of how existing USCIS regulations relate to “given factual circumstances.”
(4) Increase the amount of formal rulemaking that would create rules that would promote stakeholder and investor confidence in the EB-5 adjudication process and in the consistency of that process.
(5) Create an inter-governmental advisory group that would consult on domestic business, economic and labor concerns related to EB-5 cases.
(6) Implement a special handling package option (with a fee) that would give EB-5 investors an option to request a more speedy adjudication of their EB-5 applications.
(7) Make the review and processing of all Regional Center EB-5 petitions/applications a priority to support the immediate creation and preservation of jobs in the U.S. (8) Create a program that would promote the EB-5 program internationally.
The CIS Ombudsman was established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and provides an independent analysis of problems faced by individuals and employers with U.S. immigration issues. The Ombudsman analyzes these issues and proposes potential changes that might alleviate these issues. The goal of this report is to make suggestions that can be immediately implemented to strengthen the overall U.S. economy.