Monday, December 10, 2012

Explosive Growth of EB-5 Investor Immigrant Visa Applicants & Potential Cut-Off Date for EB-5 Visa Numbers in the Second Half of FY-2013

  • Report indicates that the number of EB-5 immigrant visa approvals have exploded, and from 2010 to 2011 the number of EB-5 visas almost doubled, 1,885 to 3,463 respectively, and the same growth seems to be occurring in 2012. Through June 20th there have already been 4,302 EB-5 visas issued, with 86% of them having been issued to Chinese nationals. The State Department predicts that the total number of EB-5 visas to be issued in 2012 will likely be approximately 6,200. (See also USCIS EB-5 statistics). The Department of State, aware of the high Chinese for EB-5 visas, has issued a statement claiming that a cut-off date may need to be implemented in the second half of 2013 in order to prevent Chinese investors from exceeding the “per country” EB-5 visa cap each country has. While the total number of visas issued in a year has never reached the 10,000 visa cap, experts predict that, given the growth over the past 2 years, 2013 may be the first time it happens.
  • It appears that nowadays, the USCIS is more or less occupied with the EB-5 investor immigration program in the employment-based immigration and DACA program for undocumented DREAMers in non-employment immigrant program. The National Customer Service's 800 phone lines are so crowded that reportedly the waiting time to talk to a live customer service agent on USCIS 800 number is an hour in the worst incidents. It is not certain whether the current delays in processing times for other programs are directly or indirectly related to the situation, but it is hoped that the situation improves sooner or later.

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