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USCIS Comments on Issues During October EB-5 Stakeholders Meeting

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held an EB-5 stakeholders meeting in Washington, DC, on October 16, 2012. Among other things, USCIS confirmed that it is reviewing some regional center activities with respect to various compliance issues in collaboration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory agencies. USCIS noted that some projects may require registration under federal or state securities laws. Some projects may need registered broker-dealers or must register under the Investment Company Act of 1940. USCIS said it is working with the SEC at a programmatic level and on a case-by-case basis.

As with the previous call, USCIS again did not discuss the tenant-occupancy methodology issue in detail on the call. USCIS said it plans to release separate guidance on that issue. The agency also noted that its staff continue to work on the anticipated draft EB-5 memorandum to incorporate suggestions and make it as comprehensive as possible, and that a "conversation" with Director Alejandro Mayorkas would happen soon and a new version of the draft memo would be released afterwards for comments.

With respect to bridge loans, USCIS said there is no bright-line rule and noted that the statute requires a nexus of investment and job creation. The agency wants to see contemplation of EB-5 money to retire the domestic money as part of original loan documents; just refinancing domestic money won't work.

Noting a surge in EB-5 filings and an ensuing backlog, USCIS said receipts have quintupled over the last few years and that the agency is stepping up resources to deal with the increase.

USCIS had not yet posted its latest EB-5 statistics as of press time.
USCIS approved 243 EB-5 regional centers as of the fourth quarter.

Full List of Regional Centers by State

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