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April 22 2014

Will the China EB-5 Quota Backlog this Summer?

Last week in Washington, DC, I met with the Department of State official who distributes visa numbers. He predicts the 10,000 EB-5 visas allocated annually for China will be very close to being exhausted this fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2014. He will have a better estimate in June. Thus, the China EB-5 quota (but not other countries) may backlog or close this summer and reopen on October 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2015.

Next year he predicts there will be a shortage of EB-5 visas for China and the visa list will backlog – but only for China.

There are 9,000 I-526 cases on file and counting the dependents there are about 27,000 EB-5 immigrants in line for the 10,000 EB-5 visas. The USCIS will not say how many of the 9,000 petitions are stuck with serious issues about “tenant” job creation, which may well cause denial of many of these applications.

To decrease the pressure on the limited visa numbers, it is critical for people to lobby their representatives to eliminate the need for a visa number for dependents of the EB-5 principal applicants. This would effectively quadruple the EB-5 quota and reduce the chance of future backlogs.

Capitol Hill Worries

The excellent poll-prognosticator Nate Silver predicts a 60% chance the Senate will become majority Republican perhaps by only one vote.

If this happens, Democrat and EB-5 friend Senator Patrick Leahy (Vermont) will no longer be chairman of the Judiciary Committee that controls immigration legislation. He will be replaced by Republican anti-immigrant Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa), who opposes, among other things, the EB-5 program.

In brighter news, during my meetings in Washington, DC last week I was told that the EB-5 regional center statute, which expires September 30, 2015, will be extended.