On Monday, December 6, 2012, I was one of the select few individuals to personally attend the National EB-5 Stakeholder Engagement in Washington D.C. with Director Mayorkas. The following are my thoughts and comments on the event, the discussion, and the announcements.
First, the discussion in the beginning concentrated on the new EB-5 office which is now going to be located in Washington DC. The processing of I-526 petitions, I-924 applications, and I-829 petitions will all be adjudicated in the Washington DC EB-5 office. Therefore, there will no longer EB-5 processing in California. The I-485 applications will be processed at another USCIS location.
Director Mayorkas stated that the goals of the EB-5 unit, through the new office will be to adjudicate petitions and applications between 90 to 120 days. In addition, there will be new staff and professionals hired that would be trained in the various aspects of EB-5 legal process, rules, regulations and new policies. For instance, there will be additional professionals in the areas of SEC compliance, new Economists, business analysts, and other relevant professional staff that may be needed for a new fraud division.
My main comment was stated in a question to Director Mayorkas, in the meeting, which called for an answer. I stated that the new EB-5 office goals sound wonderful, exciting and ambitious, especially desiring predictability and the reduction of time delays for the Adjudications. However, I commented that this goal of predictability and reduced time delays cannot be achieved unless the professionals and adjudicators in the EB-5 unit and have a clear understanding and clarity of the EB-5 rules, regulations, processes, and policies.
Once this clarity is achieved the EB-5 unit can make quick and consistent decisions which are what we ALL DESIRE. “Without the clarity there cannot be predictability and without clarity there cannot be consistency and without clarity there cannot be a reduction in the timelines for adjudication.”
I also commented that U.S. businesses, the regional centers, and EB-5 projects require the consistency and predictability and without a major reduction in timelines for adjudication, the EB-5 regional Center Program cannot be successful or survive.
Second, I also tried to ask a question clarifying whether an I-924 Application is required to be filed in respect to a new economic methodology or new industrial code. However, the question was deferred for later discussion and unfortunately not answered during yesterday’s meeting. I also asked for clarification of the statements that were made by the EB-5 directors during the last stakeholders meeting in Washington DC in October 2012. At the last meeting the EB-5 directors stated that no I-924 application is needed to request the new economic methodology or for a new industrial classification. Unfortunately the definitive clarification I sought was not given at yesterday’s stakeholders meeting.
It is my opinion that this is the very type of clarification that is needed from the EB-5 unit so that we may achieve the goals of the new office of predictability and definitely the reduction in time delays, for the adjudication of petitions and applications. That is, if we know that a I-924 application is not required to request a new economic methodology or new industrial classification then the clients (EB-5 regional centers or EB-5 projects) time is not wasted and the EB-5 new office adjudicators time is not wasted. This is the basis for predictability and the Directors goal of Adjudications within 90 to 120 days.