China's Crackdown on Overseas Use of Bank Cards May Hamper EB-5 Investments

2017-06-11 19:52:36 richard

China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement on its website last week that China’s banks will be asked to report bank card holders’ withdrawals in overseas countries and regions starting September 1, as well as any bank transactions exceeding 1,000 yuan.

“With increasing requirements to fight money laundering, terrorist financing and tax avoidance, measures for cross-border transactions need to be enhanced in terms of trading transparency and quality of statistics,” the SAFE statement said.

In recent years, the amount of overseas withdrawals has been growing and bank cards have become the major overseas payment tools for Chinese people, in excess of $120 billion last year, including many EB-5 investors. This new reporting requirement may force EB-5 investors to turn to alternate forms of cross-border transactions.

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Major Changes to EB-5 Proposed

2017-04-10 18:53:54 richard

The current Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, if implemented, would make the following changes to EB-5:

1. The minimum investment amount for high employment areas would be raised from $1 million to $1.8 million.

2. The minimum investment for Targeted Employment Areas (high unemployment areas) would be raised from $500,000 to $1.3 million.

While we expected change, we believe that this drastic increase is too much, too soon and would effectively end EB-5 as we know it.

We will keep you informed as this situation develops…

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EB-5 Program May End?

2017-01-25 17:49:44 richard

On Tuesday, US Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Diane Feinstein (D-California) introduced a bill to terminate the EB-5 Visa Program, the Regional Center program, and reallocate the associated visas to the EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 and EB-4 employment-based visa categories.  We will let you know how this plays out.

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New EB-5 Regulations Coming Soon

2017-01-09 23:12:43 richard

Last month, the Obama Administration directed the Office of Management & Budget to implement new regulations for the EB-5 program. These regulations are likely to go into effect by the end of the first quarter 2017, so investors are urged to file their EB-5 applications soon in order for the old rules to apply.

The likely changes include:

1. TEA eligibility. Which projects and locations will be eligible for the reduced investment minimum may change dramatically.

2. Investment minimums. The minimum investment amount is likely to increase from $500,000 to $800,000 in TEA locations, and from $1,000,000 to $1,200,000 elsewhere. But the big question is whether this change will take effect immediately or over time.

3. Clarification to Priority Dates. If an immigrant investor is forced to refile their application because of project changes, failures or other circumstances beyond their control, they go to the back of the line (which is getting longer by the day). We expect the new regulations to enable investors to retain their place in line under these circumstances.

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Updated EB-5 Processing Times

2016-12-15 19:43:17 richard

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) has published updated processing times for EB-5 applicants.

As of September 30, 2016, the most recent reporting period:

Time frame for I-526 applicants (this starts the EB-5 immigration and investment process) is 14.7 months, down from 16.6 months as of May 31, 2016 and 16.2 months for the quarter ending March 31, 2016.

Time frame for I-829 applicants (to remove conditions and issue green card) is 23.8 months, up from 20.1 months as of May 31, 2016 and 18.3 months for the quarter ending March 31, 2016.

We look forward to the next update and we will publish the numbers right here.

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New EB-5 Regulations Coming Soon

January 9, 2017 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

Last month, the Obama Administration directed the Office of Management & Budget to implement new regulations for the EB-5 program. These regulations are likely to go into effect by the end of the first quarter 2017, so investors are urged to file their EB-5 applications soon in order for the old rules to apply.

The likely changes include:

1. TEA eligibility. Which projects and locations will be eligible for the reduced investment minimum may change dramatically.

2. Investment minimums. The minimum investment amount is likely to increase from $500,000 to $800,000 in TEA locations, and from $1,000,000 to $1,200,000 elsewhere. But the big question is whether this change will take effect immediately or over time.

3. Clarification to Priority Dates. If an immigrant investor is forced to refile their application because of project changes, failures or other circumstances beyond their control, they go to the back of the line (which is getting longer by the day). We expect the new regulations to enable investors to retain their place in line under these circumstances.

Updated EB-5 Processing Times

December 15, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) has published updated processing times for EB-5 applicants.

As of September 30, 2016, the most recent reporting period:

Time frame for I-526 applicants (this starts the EB-5 immigration and investment process) is 14.7 months, down from 16.6 months as of May 31, 2016 and 16.2 months for the quarter ending March 31, 2016.

Time frame for I-829 applicants (to remove conditions and issue green card) is 23.8 months, up from 20.1 months as of May 31, 2016 and 18.3 months for the quarter ending March 31, 2016.

We look forward to the next update and we will publish the numbers right here.

EB-5 Outlook Under President Trump

November 22, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

Experts predict that the EB-5 program will thrive under President-Elect Trump, who has a thorough understanding of real estate, finance, capital stack requirements and other elements crucial to the development side of EB-5. Critics suggest that Trump’s hard stance on immigration will not bode well for EB-5 but we believe that the President-Elect’s comments have been directed primarily toward illegal immigration, and since EB-5 is a legal immigration program it should continue unhindered in a Trump administration.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting to see whether (and in what form) Congress will reauthorize the Regional Center program.

USCIS Announces New EB-5 Fees

November 11, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced a new fee structure for its services (including EB-5 processing) effective December 23, 2016.

The initial application fee (I-526) is changing from $1,500 to $3,675.

The fee to remove conditions at the end of the EB-5 process (I-829) remains unchanged at $3,750.

The biggest changes are Regional Center (RC) registration fees, which are going up from $6,230 to $17,795, and a new annual certification fee being imposed which will add $3,035 to the Regional Center cost structure. These new fees may restrict new RC applications and may even force some existing RCs out of business.

Is The Regional Center Program Dead?

October 30, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

On September 28, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (“CR”) that funds federal agencies (including USCIS, which administers EB-5) until December 9, during which time lawmakers could negotiate the provisions of a long-term authorization.

However, a recent letter from the Congressional Research Service (“CRS”) suggests that what Congress intended may not have been sufficient to keep the EB-5 Regional Center (“RC”) program alive. RC is subject to so-called “sunset provisions” that force its expiration unless Congress explicitly reauthorizes it. The letter suggests that the CR did not explicitly reauthorize RC, despite acknowledging that this was Congress’ intent.

We will update this website as more details develop.

EB-5 Program Deadlocked Near Expiration Date

September 22, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

The EB-5 Regional Center program is facing expiration on September 30, and, as usual, Congress can’t come to an agreement.

Interested parties will recall that this is the same predicament we faced exactly a year ago. Meanwhile, a bill introduced earlier this month in the House of Representatives would reserve 40% of the available EB-5 visas for low-income and rural areas.

We’ll update this website as the deadline approaches.

Updated EB-5 Processing Times

July 24, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) has published updated processing times for EB-5 applicants.

As of May 31, 2016, the most recent reporting period:

Time frame for I-526 applicants (this starts the EB-5 immigration and investment process) is 16.6 months, up from 16.2 months as of March 31, 2016 and 16 months for the quarter ending December 31, 2015.

Time frame for I-829 applicants (to remove conditions and issue green card) is 20.1 months, up from 18.3 months as of March 31, 2016 and 16.2 months for the quarter ending December 31, 2015.

We look forward to the next update and we will publish the numbers right here.

Chinese EB-5 Visas Grind To A Halt

June 14, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

For the first time since USCIS ran out of available visas for mainland-born Chinese investors under the EB-5 program last summer, the backlog is growing and not keeping up with demand. Right now, USCIS is processing application filed prior to February 15, 2014 and this 28 month wait has not changed since the last report.

In April, USCIS “discovered” almost 2,000 EB-5 applications that were filed in 2012 and 2013 and lost during their move from the California service center to Washington DC. Since all of these applications have priority dates before the cutoff, they jump to the front of the line, which will create a longer waiting time going forward.

USCIS’ recent Visa Bulletin indicated that they expect the backlog to continue to grow, with “best case scenario is March 1 by September,” meaning that in the next three months, the priority date will only move forward two weeks.

Unless Congress changes the visa allocation numbers, we now expect wait times to exceed three years by the end of 2016.

EB-5 Fee Hike Proposal

May 22, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has proposed increases to some of the   fees EB-5 applicants pay. Here are the current and proposed fees:

I-526 (Initial Application): increase from $1,500 to $3,675
I-829 (Removal of Conditions, Green Card Issuance): no change
I-290B (Notice of Appeal): increase from $630 to $675
I-485 (Permanent Resident Status Change): increase from $985 to $1,140

The biggest increase affects new Regional Center applications, whose fees would rise from $6,230 to $17,795. While this would not directly affect EB-5 applicants, it may indirectly affect EB-5 fees charged by newer Regional Centers as a result of this fee increase.

Where Does The Money Go?

May 11, 2016 in EB-5 News, EB-5 Visa, 未分类

Ever wonder where all the Chinese investment funds end up in the United States? We have the answer for 2015, broken down by Congressional district. Take a look! Clipboard01