During the 2013 Fiscal Year, USCIS notified more than 50 EB-5 regional centers on its intent to terminate their designation for one of the two following reasons: (i) not filing the required Form I-924A, or (ii) failing to promote economic growth as required under the EB-5 regulations. Specifically, USCIS issued about 24 Notices of Intent to Terminate (NOITT) based on its determination that the regional center no longer served the purpose of promoting economic growth and development under the EB-5 regulations. And in the 29 cases where regional centers failed to file Form I-924A, USCIS also issued similar NOITTs. Some of the regional centers that failed to respond to the NOITT were terminated.
Because this appears to be an upcoming enforcement trend by USCIS, during the September USCIS EB-5 stakeholders conference call, USCIS reminded stakeholders that regional center reports for 2014 Fiscal Year were due on October 1, 2014, and must be filed by no later than December 29, 2014. USCIS recommended that regional centers complete all fields on Form I-924A. The key information required on the form is as follows:
- Total amount of EB-5 capital invested by immigrant investors
- Total number of direct and indirect jobs created through investment
- Total number of jobs maintained by EB-5 investment (for troubled business)
- NAICS codes and information on the industries in which jobs have been created (should include industries approved in the regional center’s USCIS designation letter and any industries form which an amendment has been requested in a Form I-526 filing and which is being used for estimated job creation impacts in an economic study)
- Information regarding each new commercial enterprise and/or job creating enterprise located within the geographical scope of the regional center.
- Number of Form I-526 petitions that have been approved, denied, or revoked through the regional center
- Number of Form I-829 petitions that have been approved, denied, or revoked through the regional center
USCIS also recommended that regional centers include a letter describing the regional center’s activities and marketing efforts to help explain the regional center’s operations. Of note, was a recommendation by EB-5 Program Director Nicholas Colucci. Director Colucci recommended that if a regional center has been inactive during the past year, the regional center should prepare a statement to address this fact, and include information regarding how the regional center has promoted economic growth and development in the past.
Consequently, regional centers are advised to timely comply with the USCIS annual reporting obligations required by Form I-924A or potentially risk having their regional center designation terminated. Because the ramifications of losing the regional center designation is significant, regional centers should seek the advice of immigration counsel to ensure that the regional center is timely and properly filing their Form I-924A with the required supporting evidence.
For more information, please contact Maria del Carmen Ramos at 813.227.2252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.