U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced yesterday that it will create a new office to oversee adjudication of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program. The EB-5 program allows foreign nationals to become eligible for permanent residency by making a capital investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States. The new office is needed due to the recent exponential growth of the EB-5 program, which is caused by economic growth from capital invested in the U.S. economy from foreign investors to project developers. More than 3,100 EB-5 petitions were approved by the USCIS in Fiscal Year 2012, which is three times the number of petitions approved in fiscal year 2009.
The size of the USCIS’ EB-5 adjudication team has been quadrupled since 2009. Eight new expert economists have been brought on board to ensure expeditious handling of EB-5 cases. The USCIS plans to hire two new full-time attorneys who will bring transactional experience to the EB-5 team. At the end of July, every pending application for which a denial has been recommended will be reviewed by a special review board consisting of two Supervisory Immigration Services Officers and one economist, and applicants will be given the opportunity to discuss their cases in person before the USCIS renders any final adverse decision. Today, the USCIS is posting an advertisement for a new position titled Chief of Immigrant Investor Programs, who will lead the new office.
Director Mayorkas said that the USCIS understands that it needs to do more work to further improve its EB-5 program administration, and the USCIS is committed to this work.