The USCIS reached an agreement with EB-5 Regional Centers to settle two lawsuits. The Regional Centers filed these suits with claims that the USCIS misinterpreted new regulations covering EB-5 Regional Centers.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program allows applicants to invest $800,000 in projects in the United States to obtain green cards for themselves, their spouse, and their children under 21 years of age when they apply.
However, on April 11, 2022, the USCIS stated that the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act would deauthorize the currently designated EB-5 Regional Centers. Because of this deauthorization, the centers would need to be re-designated to keep operating in the program.
Also, because of this decision, two lawsuits were filed by the previously authorized Regional Centers. The USCIS settled the lawsuits, agreeing to rescind the de-authorization. Due to the new settlement, the EB-5 Regional Centers now have until December 29, 2022, to pay the $18,000 filing fee. They must also file the forms necessary for complying with the new licensing regulations to obtain new investors and sponsor new projects. The centers do not need to wait for the adjudication of documents. They need only to receive proof of filing.
The Regional Centers must still file a pre-approval for new projects they will sponsor before they can accept any new EB-5 investors. Then, once filed, the center must wait 10 days before bringing in the new investors.
However, the settlement is still good news for EB-5 investors because it means they can now file for a green card. Additionally, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act makes investing in the program a safer option.
The reforms intend to lower the risk of fraud in these investments. The reforms also increase the security of investors by making the Regional Centers, lawyers, accountants, and other participants in the EB-5s accountable to the USCIS. In addition, this change could make it easier for Regional Centers to attract new investors.
An additional advantage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act is that it allows eligible applicants who have submitted their I-526E to do a concurrent filing for an adjustment of status. This advantage applies even while waiting to process green cards. In the past, applicants needed to wait on approved I-526s before filing Adjustment of Statuses. This process meant a longer wait before entering the United States.
The settlement between the USCIS and the EB-5 Regional Centers will be a welcome relief for investors in these centers. Now, the investors can obtain the green cards they were expecting to receive when they invested in the program.
Interested in automating your employment eligibility verification? Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.