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EB-5 Is Booming

According to the Regional Center Business Journal, EB-5 is stronger than ever. Since 2008, the program has surged in popularity. In an article written by IIUSA Policy Analyst Lee Li, he describes how six data points demonstrate how successful EB-5 has become.

  • Foreign Direct Investment: In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the EB-5 program generated about $4.4 billion ($4,378,000,000) in foreign direct investment (FDI), or about $12 million every day. To put that in perspective, that is more money than the GDP of Barbados. Since FY 2008, FDI has gone from $3.2 million to $4.4 billion in FY 2015. That is a growth rate of over 1,260%.
  • I-526 Stats: The number of I-526 petitions filed increased by 31% from FY 2014 to FY 2015 to a historic high of 14,373 petitions. However, it increased by over a 1000% since FY 2008 when the number of petitions that year was fewer than 2,000. In addition, USCIS has completed more than 9,800 petitions in FY 2015. That is a 54% increase since the year before. This isn’t to say that the I-526 process is without problems; the high volume has caused a massive backlog of petitions waiting to be processed. USCIS will need to reform the I-526 to better streamline the increased number of applicants.
  • I-829 Stats: The approval rate of I-829 petitions in FY 2015 was 99%. That is the best rate the EB-5 program has ever had, and well above the FY 2008-2015 average of 92%.
  • Reaching the 10,000 Visa Cap: For the second year in a row the EB-5 visas have hit the 10,000-cap limit. For comparison, the government issued only 291 EB-5 visas in FY 2000 and fewer than 2,000 in FY 2010.
  • Processing Times: Due to the high volume of petitions, processing times for I-526’s, I-829’s, and I-924’s have unfortunately increased. For example, I-829 petitions used to take about 9 months to be process. Now they take over 15 months. I-526 petitions take 14 months and I-924 petitions take nearly 12 months. Although this is not welcoming news to applicants of these petitions, it is indicative of the success that the EB-5 program is having.
  • The Rise of Regional Centers: In FY 2008 there were only 28 regional centers in the United States. By FY 2015 that number increased to 740.

With investment equaling that of a small nation, the EB-5 program has proven its worth. It is without question that the government reform the process in order to speed up the processing times. USCIS has recently said that they will be hiring more staff to help achieve that goal. In broader view, however, Congress ought to expand the visa cap in order to allow more immigrants and more investment into this country.

For more details on these data points see the article at:

https://iisusa.org/blog/research-analysis/9721/

For more data immigration overall, please go to:

www.uscis.gov/tools/reports-studies/immigration-forms-data

If you have questions about the EB-5 process, then give us a call. If you are considering an EB-5 visa it is highly recommended that you speak to an immigration attorney. An EB-5 immigration attorney will increase the likelihood of you receiving a visa.

Lee & Lee P.S. has helped hundreds of foreign investors navigate the complex EB-5 process successfully.  Let us help you, too!

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