EB5 Investment Applications Continue to Grow While the Immigration Department has not Provided any Specific Guidance in Latest Memo

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The Immigration Department representatives that spoke at the September stakeholder’s meeting provided those with interest in the EB5 program with little regulation guidance. Instead, The Immigration Department has continued to provide investors, practitioners and Investment Regional Centers with mere memos and letters

On the other end of the Visa scale are the EB5 investment visas

Stephen Colbert's testimony to Congress on September 25, 2010 dramatized with a sarcastic style a fundamental point about reform and codification of visas available to foreign farm workers. The points made are far reaching and certainly are relevant to even the large investment areas of I immigration. As with the agricultural visa, The EB-5 investment visas have little defined and codified regulations.

On the other end of the Visa scale are the EB5 investment visas.

The EB-5 visa, as a brief history, the Federal Government created the EB-5 Visa in 1991 so as to encourage foreigners to invest in the U.S. The program required an investor to invest $1million or $500,000 in certain locations into a business in the USA that would create 10 full time jobs paying at least the minimum wage. Once done, the investor and his or her family would be entitled permanent residence in the USA, "Green Card." In 1993, the predecessor to the USCIS provided to potential immigrants a second option within the EB5 program, entitled the Regional Center Pilot Program. In this new configuration of EB-5, the investor would invest into a pre-existing fund, or Management Company or Business as approved by the U.S. government. These Regional Centers are typically diversified funds or private Business development projects that allow for an investor to infuse a set investment and in return acquire a small ownership interest. The Regional Centers must utilize this foreign infused investment to create 10 U.S direct or indirect jobs.

In 2004, the program was reorganized to allow for many levels of protection for the investors. The program was classified as a "pilot" program and has been extend by Congress continuously every 3 years.

The numbers of approved Immigrant Petitions under the EB-5 Visa program have been consistent over the last year, ranging from 400 to 600 applications annually. However, 2009 saw a dramatic increase in EB-5 petitions. Specifically, in 2007, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 473 petitions for foreign investors. That figure rose to 640 in 2008, and jumped to 1,256 in 2009.

Since October 2006, U.S. companies have raised more than $1 billion and have created over 20,000 jobs (directly and indirectly) through EB-5. The number of Certified Regional Centers has risen steadily from 27 in 2008 to 80 in 2009 and it is predicted that the number will well surpass 100 by the December 2010.

As with the Agricultural visas and farm workers issues that have been discussed by comedian Stephen Colbert, the EB-5 program can benefit greatly from specific guidance from Congress. Issues abound such as where an investor's business vehicle or Regional Center produces a material change, job creation methodology shifts, Target employment locations are no longer targeted and many others.

Mr. Darren Silver, a prominent Immigration Lawyer in the field, whose Firm Darren Silver and Associates specializes in EB-5/Regional Center Immigration believes that Congress will need to intervene before these issues can be properly addressed.

Mr. Silver can be contacted directly through his website Darren Silver & Associates which is one of the Nations' preeminent Immigration Law Firms with a focus on Investment Immigration law.
Darren Silver & Associates
3699 Wilshire Blvd. 6th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90010
213-384-1900 (tel)
213-384-8285 (fax)
info(at)darrensilver(dot)com (E-mail)

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