The USCIS held a stakeholder meeting today discussing updates on the EB5 program and current state of affairs. The EB5 program Director Nicholas Colucci spoke extensively about the new office, staff and visions. Watson Immigration Law would like to thank the USCIS and Mr. Colucci for taking the time for this open discussion and the updates.
Processing venue: EB5 Investor Visa office is now located and fully operational in Washington DC. I-924s and I-526 petitions will be processed in DC. I-829 and related adjustment petitions will continue to be processed at the California Service Center. There are currently 53 staff members including 20 economists and 25 adjudicators. 85% of personnel have advanced degrees and law degrees.
Processing times: As of January 31, 2014, EB processing times are as follows: I-526 applications are taking 11 month, I-924s are taking 12 months and I-829s are taking 11 months. The USCIS will be updated soon to reflect accurate processing times. Mr. Colucci said that in the near future, there will be an increase in processing times because CSC is losing 35 adjudicators from the EB5 program but they will be replaced and trained soon.
Program statistics: for Fiscal year 2013: I-924: start of the fiscal year- 504 pending; end of the fiscal year 300 pending, 207 approved, 32 denied and 236 received RFEs. Approved 6346 I-526 petitions and approved I-829 approved 418. They gave full statistics that will be posted to USCIS’ website soon.
ELIS filing: Recently online filing of I-526 was initiated and the program would like to utilize online filing more. It is hoped online filing will help things be more efficient.
Regional center library: It is hoped that a new document library will be available for regional centers. The Office of Transformation will hold a webinar on that soon.
Filing tips: we were grateful to receive invaluable filing tips which included NOT to send duplicate petitions.
Revising EB5 Regulations: Based on the Inspector General’s recent report and for general fraud prevention and national security reasons, the EB5 regulations will be revised in the near future. In due course regulatory changes will be published for comments.
Personnel at the EB5 office: He hopes to increase staff to 100 soon to deal with backlogs and make the program more efficient. The hope is to hire adjudicators and have them trained in 5 weeks. There will also be biweekly meetings for adjudicators and economists to discuss cases.
In sum: Mr. Colucci hopes to achieve 3 things for his office:
- Develop an efficient office.
- A more predictable program.
- Enhance customer service.
The meeting included questions and answers to various issues from many lawyers and regional centers. Thank you again to USCIS for the invalauble information shared today that will benefit our clients.
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