Imagility News

USCIS Unveils Major Reforms to EB-5 Regional Center Program with Updated Policy Guidance.

USCIS is taking significant steps to reform the EB-5 Regional Center Program, updating its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to align with statutory reforms. This initiative aims to address various aspects of the Regional Center Program, focusing on regional center designation and immigrant investor requirements.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides immigrant visas in the EB-5 category for qualified investors contributing to U.S. economic growth. Historically, EB-5 investors could participate in the Regional Center Program, relying on indirect job creation. However, authorization for the Regional Center Program lapsed on June 30, 2021.

The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, signed into law on March 15, 2022, brought about substantial changes to eligibility requirements and codified the Regional Center Program. USCIS published revised guidance on October 6, 2022, aligning content with the new law.

The latest update, contained in Volume 6 of the Policy Manual and labeled as PA-2023-31, delves into comprehensive reforms related to regional center designation and responsibilities. The guidance outlines immigrant investor petition filing procedures, determinations, amendments, material changes, approvals, denials, and revocations.

Key highlights of the policy include clarification on good faith investor guidance in cases of non-compliance by a regional center, new commercial enterprise, or job-creating entity. The designation eligibility, documentation, adjudication, and amendment procedures for regional centers are also explained. Additionally, the policy addresses recordkeeping, audits, annual statements, and payments into the integrity fund, along with consequences for regional centers failing to meet these requirements.

Further clarification is provided on project applications, covering site visit requirements and potential sanctions for noncompliance by a new commercial enterprise or job-creating entity. The policy also outlines new statutory requirements for direct and third-party promoters, including registration.

In terms of structural changes, the affected section, Volume 6 > Part G, Investors, sees the renaming of Chapter 2 to “Immigrant Petition Eligibility Requirements” and revisions to the last paragraph of Section B (Comprehensive Business Plan). Existing Chapters 3-6 are replaced with new Chapters 3-7, reorganizing and updating content.

USCIS emphasizes that this guidance, outlined in the Policy Manual, is controlling and supersedes any previous directives. USCIS anticipates making additional updates to provide further clarifications as needed, demonstrating a commitment to ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of the EB-5 Regional Center Program.

Source: USCIS