Wright Johnson’s President Aaron Goforth to speak at the BizNow in Washington DC

April 19th, 2014

USCIS Works to Improve the EB-5 Visa Program. Will Congress Follow Suit? by EB5 Investors Magazine CEO Ali Jahangiri

April 19th, 2014

(Congressman Jared Polis and Wright Johnson’s Aaron Goforth)
On February 26, 2014, a wave rolled across the tightly knit EB-5 visa program community as recently appointed program director Nicholas Colucci held a conference call with EB-5 stakeholders, bringing a new level of commitment and energy to a program that has received its share of criticism. For the benefit of the EB-5 program and the nation as a whole, Congress needs to follow suit with a wave of its own.

But First, What Is EB-5?

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with EB-5, the program allows foreign investors the opportunity to obtain a green card in exchange for investing $500,000 to $1 million in a U.S. business venture with the condition that the investment creates at least 10 full-time jobs per investor–jobs created for hardworking Americans. The investors themselves (and their family members who often immigrate with them) do not count towards this number.

What Are EB-5’s Benefits?

The EB-5 program has the potential to provide significant economic benefits to this country, especially to areas that are desperate for economic stimulus. In a case study by economist Dr. Scott Barnhart published in EB5 Investors Magazine, Barnhart examined the total economic impact of a single EB 5 investor, considering the investor’s capital contribution as well as his or her household expenditures. Barnhart used a hypothetical economic model to project that if 6,000 visas were issued through the EB-5 program, 46,124 jobs would be created, $3.8 billion would be contributed to GDP, $532 million would be paid in federal taxes, and $371 million would be paid in state and local taxes. These are projections that are certainly hard to ignore.

So Who Is Nicholas Colucci and What Is He Doing?

Colucci, a no-nonsense type who comes to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from the U.S. Department of Treasury, where he led the financial crimes division, pledged to bring more transparency and resources to the EB-5 program. Colucci is also in the process of hiring more qualified staff to help improve processing times for various EB-5 forms. Currently, the USCIS website reports I-526 petition processing times at nearly 10 months. The I-526 is the investor’s initial application with USCIS that determines whether the investor qualifies for EB-5–it looks at the EB-5 project’s supporting documents and traces the investor’s source of funds to demonstrate that the investment came from a legal source. As of September 2013, there were 7,131 I-526 petitions pending, so the need for increased efficiency is self-evident.

But take note: improving efficiency is not the only goal for processing. Most of the new hires, per Colucci, are economists and securities and immigration attorneys. Not only will USCIS attempt to process forms more efficiently, but it also aims to increase its competency in the due diligence department. After all, it makes no sense and is of little help to anyone in EB-5 to approve a project or investment that is not likely to succeed. Conversely, green-lighting projects that are well planned and likely to succeed will continue to strengthen the program’s image as well as provide much needed benefits to the U.S. economy.

What Can Congress Do?

The answer to this question is simple: Congress can pass legislation that will enable the EB-5 program to grow and become even more transparent, providing support and mechanisms for Colucci’s EB-5 goals to become a reality. The good news is that there are already three pieces of proposed legislation that have numerous overlapping themes and concepts that would help improve how EB-5 operates. The proposals are:

Senator Patrick Leahy (D VT), S 744 “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Mobilization Act”
Rep. Jared Polis (D CO) and co-sponsors Rep. Matt Salmon (R AZ), Rep. Joe Garcia (D FL), and Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R NV), HR 4178, “American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2014″
Rep. Darrell Issa (R CA), HR 2131, “Supplying Knowledge-Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act” (also known as the “Skills Visa Act)

Quotas. In addition to making the EB-5 program permanent, these three pieces of legislation address several key components of the EB-5 program in their own unique ways. First, they address the program’s numerical limits on visas allotted per year. This is extremely important, as the program is on the verge of experiencing a bit of a “log jam.” Presently, the program allows for 10,000 EB-5 visas to be granted each fiscal year. However, that number translates into roughly 3,000 visas granted to the investors themselves–each EB-5 investor is allowed to include his or her spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 on all visa applications given to USCIS, and each additional family member is granted a visa from the 10,000 allotted for the entire EB-5 program. Thus, there are often three or four visas issued per investor. With approximately 7,000 applications pending for investors’ spouses and children, the present quota (10,000 visas) could easily be met for the next two years without any additional applications being submitted. However, if legislation is passed so that the immediate family of an EB-5 immigrant investor is not subject to the numerical cap, the program could see several billion dollars in additional foreign investment capital flowing into the United States and similarly create tens of thousands of new full-time jobs for American workers.

Compliance Standards. Moreover, the proposed pieces of legislation also tighten compliance standards and contain more stringent anti-fraud provisions. Making sure that EB-5 Regional Centers (the entities that serve as conduits for most EB-5 projects) are competently run and operated by reputable people is paramount to the program’s present and future success. Even one or two bad actors can cast a dark cloud over a program that has the potential to provide so many benefits to Americans and the U.S. economy. Additionally, all three pieces of legislation contemplate raising the minimum investment requirement of $1 million, or $500,000 for investments made in a targeted employment area (TEA), which has remained stagnant since 1992. Each proposal includes reform to increase the minimum investment amount in correlation to the Consumer Price Index, resulting in a greater economic impact per each investment made by an EB-5 visa applicant in the future.

During a time when Washington, D.C., is almost completely overcome by gridlock and when comprehensive immigration reform inches from debate to debate with an indefinite timeline, EB-5 is the outlier, garnishing the endangered species known as bipartisan support. And it is not hard to see why the program generally appeals to both parties: EB-5 supports job creation–in fact, 28,000 jobs have been created between 2010 and 2011–and this appeals to any politician who desires re-election. Logically speaking, there is no valid reason why EB-5 legislation should not pass this year. Unfortunately, logic and Congress do not always go hand-n-hand, and the time has come to make our concerns heard in Congress.

What improvements to the EB-5 visa program would you like to see?

EB-5 Regulatory Changes Teleconference – 4/23/14

April 16th, 2014

USCIS Invitation: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Regulatory Changes, 4/23/2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a stakeholder teleconference on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss future regulatory changes for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

USCIS is beginning work on revised EB-5 regulations. Regulatory revision has been identified as an important step for the future of the EB-5 Program and is an agency priority. We invite EB-5 stakeholders to provide feedback on EB-5 regulations as we work toward making regulatory improvements to strengthen the efficiency, predictability, and integrity of the EB-5 program.

During this engagement, USCIS officials will listen to your feedback and input on changes to the EB-5 regulations. Feedback and input can be related to:

Methods to combat fraud and abuse
How to improve upon current regulations
Substantive eligibility requirements
Procedural filing requirements

For those unable to attend, we will hold a follow-up discussion in the USCIS Idea Community. We encourage you to become a part of the discussion starting on April 24, 2014.

To register for this session, please follow the steps below:

Visit our registration page to confirm your participation
Enter your email address and select “Submit”
Select “Subscriber Preferences”
Select the “Event Registration” tab
Be sure to provide your full name and organization
Complete the questions and select “Submit”

Once your registration is processed, you will receive a confirmation email with additional details.

If you have any questions regarding the registration process, or if you have not received a confirmation email within two business days, please email us at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

We look forward to engaging with you!

Jump on the Wagon to China!

April 11th, 2014

The 2014 EB-5 Business & Investment Exploratory Delegation in June adds the City of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province to the list of destination cities which already included Shenzhen and Guangzhou in Southern China. The 3rd annual trade mission will meet with major emigration agents (such as Worldway Group, Shinyway and others), business executives and investors throughout the trip with Artisan Business Group in China’s major financial center and some of the fastest growing cities in the world.

If your company or Regional Center has a project that is looking to raise EB-5 capital, then this is the delegation you need to sign on. The delegation’s core objective is bringing US business executives to meet in person with their potential EB-5 business partners in China. Whether you have a shovel ready project that needs agents now, or you may have a new project that will need the connections in next few months, this exploratory trade mission gives you the effective platform to form productive working relationships needed to conduct business in China.

For more information about participating in the 2014 Exploratory Delegation to China, please contact us at artisanbusiness@gmail.com or log on http://www.ArtisanBusinessTours.com. Very limited space!

Direct Investment EB-5 Seminar in California in April!

March 27th, 2014

Direct Investment Show

Special Promotional discount for WJ clients to the April 24th EB-5 Show in Ft Lauderdale

March 17th, 2014

Online registration: http://miamieb5.eventbrite.com
Promotional Code: artisan

February 26 – Stakeholders Call in Chinese

March 16th, 2014

usual disclaimer that I do not speak mandarin and the translation and transcription was done with outside vendors. I do not represent that either is 100% accurate. The highlighted sections represent sections that were inaudible to the transcriber….

文件名:美国移民局相关人员电话会议(2/26/2014)

[Begin Audio]
[录音开始]

The conference call is now being recorded.
本次电话会议现在开始录音。

Coordinator: This is the coordinator. Please continue to hold. We will begin in approximately five minutes. Please continue to hold for the conference. Thank you for holding. If you will continue to hold the conference will begin in just a couple of minutes. Again, please continue to hold for the conference. This is the coordinator, please continue to hold we will begin in just a few more minutes. Please continue to hold. Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. During the question and answer session please press star and 1 on your touch tone phone. I will turn today’s meeting over to Mr. Carlos Munoz. You may go ahead, sir.

我是本次会议的协调员,请继续保持通话,不要挂断。我们的会议将在5分钟之后开始。请继续保持此通话。感谢大家一直在线。如果大家不挂断电话,会议将会在几分钟之后开始。再次,请继续保持此通话,不要挂断。我是本次会议的协调员,请继续保持通话,我们将会在几分钟之后进行。请继续保持通话。感谢您的配合,欢迎再次回来。现在所有的参会者都是接听模式。在稍后的问题解答环节,请按*号键和1号键。下面将由Carlos Munoz先生讲话,Carlos Munoz先生,请!

Carlos Munoz: Thank you so much Mia and hello everyone. Thank you for joining today’s teleconference on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program. Again, my name is Carlos Munoz from the USCIS Public Engagement division. And joining me today are colleagues from the USCIS Immigrant Investor program office, our field operations director, and other offices in USCIS. I would like to recognize our main speakers for today’s engagement. We have Dan Renaud, the Deputy Associate Director of the USCIS Field Operations Directorate, Nicholas Colucci, the Chief of the Immigrant Investor Program Office, and Robert Cox, the Deputy Chief of the Program Office.

非常谢谢Mia。大家好。感谢大家参加本次就EB-5移民投资项目的电话会议。再次自我介绍一下,我是来自移民局公众参与部门的Carols Munoz。今天和我一起参加会议的有:移民局移民投资项目办公室的同事们,我们现场运营总监,USCIS的其他办公室。我想跟大家介绍一下本次内容的主要发言者。他们是:Dan Renaud – 移民局现场运作部副总监; Nicholas Colucci – 移民投资项目办公室主任;以及Robert Cox – 移民投资项目办公室副主任。

Before we get started we have a few quick admin reminders. We will start today’s engagement with opening remarks followed by a presentation with updates on the EB-5 Program Office. We will then have a questions and answers session. As the operator indicated, all lines are currently in listen-only mode. We will allow ample time for questions and answers at the end of the presentations. Now, we received a large number of questions in advance of today’s engagement. Our speakers make every effort to incorporate responses to the most common questions in their presentation and we will also address a few additional questions at the end of their remarks. We would like to remind all participants that we cannot address case or fact-specific questions on our engagement. If you are a staff of the member of Congress you are welcome to listen to today’s call but we kindly ask that you please contact the USCIS Office of the State of Affairs for any briefing requests and/or case-specific matters. Also, we will remind everyone that the information provided by USCIS during this phone call is not intended for media attribution. If there are members of the media joining us today you are welcome to listen, but we ask that you please call the USCIS press office at (202) 272-1200. Again, (202) 272-1200 if you need additional information or for on-the-record comments. And now I will turn the call over to my colleague, Dan Renaud, from our Field Operations Directorate. We will begin today’s presentation.

在本次会议开始之前,我们有几点简短提醒。今天的会议将以简短的开场致辞开始,接下来是进一步讲述EB-5项目办公室的更新信息,然后我们会有一个解疑问答环节。正如刚才协调员提到的,所有参与者都是处于接听模式。在讲解之后,我们会留出充足的时间为大家解答疑问。在本次会议之前,我们已经收到了大量的提问。我们的主讲嘉宾将会就他们在讲解中最常见的问题进行汇总并答复,同时,我们也将在他们讲解之后将解决更多的问题。我们想提醒所有的参会者,在本次会议中,我们无法解决任何有关具体情况的问题。如果您是国会议员,欢迎您参加今天的电话会议。但是如果有关简述要求或者具体情况的问题,请联系移民局事物状态办公室。同时,我们提醒大家,在本次电话会议中,移民局提供的任何信息不能用于媒体报道。今天如果有媒体的成员加入我们,欢迎您的参加。但是如果您需要其他更多的信息或者做记录所需,请致电移民局新闻办公室,电话是(202)272 – 202。再次强调,如果您需要任何其他的信息或者做记录所需,请致电移民局新闻办公室,电话是(202)272 – 202。接下来将由我的同事:来自现场运作部的Dan Renaud 开始进行讲解。

Dan Renaud: Thank you, Carlos. Good afternoon, my name is Daniel Renaud and I am the Deputy Associate Director for Field Operations with USCIS. Until recently I was the acting chief of the investor program office. Today I am pleased to welcome you to the first in a new series of quarterly engagements with EB-5 stakeholders. Our goal today is to provide updates on the transition of the investor program from California to headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss the May 30, 2013, calls of memorandum, and to invite comment and discussion related to program rules. The agency’s goal is to administer an accessible and secure immigrant investor program that stimulates the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The USCIS has taken steps over the past few years to enhance the EB-5 program to increase transparency and efficiency while ensuring security and integrity. The USCIS has realigned the EB-5 program at the headquarters program office with an SES level leader dedicated exclusively to the EB-5 workload. We have infused experienced professionals in the areas of corporate law, immigration law, business, and economics into the process to more effectively manage the complex caseload. We have published a comprehensive policy memorandum to improve consistency and clarity and we have improved vetting and collaboration with federal partners.

谢谢Carlos。下午好,我是移民局现场运作部副总监Daniel Renaud 。不久之前我是投资项目办公室的代理主任。今天我很高兴欢迎您和EB-5项目的申请者们参加首次新季度会议。今天我们的目标是介绍从加州到华盛顿总部投资项目的最新搬迁情况,讨论2013年5月30号电话会议备忘录,讨论并听取关于本项目规则的意见。本机构的目标是管理一个可运作而且安全的移民投资项目,通过外国投资者创造的就业机会和资本投资,进而刺激美国经济。在过去的几年里了,移民局不断采取措施加强EB5项目,在确保安全性和整体性的同时,提高透明度和工作效率。在项目办公室总部,移民局已与专门致力于EB-5工作的SES级别领导人进行EB-5项目重组。我们有在商法、移民法、商业和经济学等领域的资深专业人士,会更有效地管理复杂的案例。我们已经公布全面的政策备忘录,以提高一致性和清晰度,同时也加强了与联邦合作伙伴的审核效率和合作。

Progress has been made but there is much yet to accomplish. Processing times need to be reduced to make the program more effective and accessible for bonafide projects. Filing options need to be improved to reduce the amount of paper required to support each petition. Regulations need to be updated to align with statutes and clarified to improve initial filings. Customer service needs to be improved to ensure visibility into the process and the confidence in our processing times and our decisions. And lastly, stakeholder input needs to be solicited more frequently to ensure the program continues to meet the objectives of the statute. To that end, this event kicks off a series of quarterly engagements on EB-5 issues related to policy, procedure, and guidance.

EB-5项目已经有很多进步,但是仍需完善。需要进一步缩短处理时间,才能使此项目更加有效,从而获取更多有诚意的项目。递案选项有待改善,这样在每个申请书中需要用来辅证的纸张数量才能减少。规则需要更新、与法律保持一致,或者进一步阐述,改进初始递案。客户服务需要改善,确保全过程的可视性和对我们处理进度和决策的信任度。最后,需要经常听取利益攸关者意见,以保证此项目符合法律要求。至此,今天打开了关于EB-5项目的一系列季度会议的序幕,当中会讨论的相关问题 – 政策、程序和指引等都一一解决。

As I said, progress has been made but there is a substantial amount yet to be accomplished. I am pleased today to introduce the new chief of the USCIS immigrant investor program, Nick Colucci. Nick comes to USCIS from the Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes enforcement network. Nick has extensive experience as a manager and leader with both treasury as well as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives where his work implementing pawnbroker initiative in particular demonstrated his ability to work collaboratively and build coalitions with stakeholder groups and law enforcement agencies. And since then his work has established a new organization to provide bank security acts in-house was highlighted as emblematic of his ability to build coalitions, manage under stress, and manage people through changing priorities and realignment of positions. Nick brings the skills, experience, and the drive to lead the investor program at USCIS. So I would like to turn it over to Nick for his comments.

正如刚刚提到的,虽然该项目已经有了进步,但是仍有大量的工作需要完善。今天我很荣幸向大家介绍移民局投资移民项目的新负责人-Nick Colucci。Nick来移民局工作之前,在美国财政部金融犯罪执法网络任职。 作为一名管理者和领导者,Nick在财务、酒类、烟草、枪支和炸药等方面都有非常丰富的经验,特别是主动完善典当行业,这展示了他良好的协作能力,能够与申请团队和执法机构友好合作。自此,他的工作等于建立了一个新的组织机构,确保了银行室内安全,这更突出了他在建立联盟、克服压力、通过改变优先顺序和职位调整进行管理人员方面的能力。Nick将技能、经验和动力来领导移民局的投资移民项目。所以我想首先让Nick跟大家进行讲解。

Nick Colucci: Thanks Dan, and good afternoon everyone. As Dan mentioned I came to USCIS from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, an agency within the Department of Treasury. At FinCEN, where I served for five years, I led a division of analysts and federal agents who worked closely with our counterparts in law enforcement and the intelligence community to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and fraud. During this time I learned a tremendous amount about the interagency community and I expect it will assist me greatly in my duties as the chief of the immigrant investor program office. Coming to the office I have concentrated my time on taking a fresh look at the program and would like to share several updates.

谢谢Dan。大家下午好。正如刚刚Dan介绍的,我来移民局工作之前,在财政部金融犯罪执法网络任职,也叫做FinCEN,它是财务部下属机构之一。我在FinCEN工作了5年,我所领导的团队主要有分析家和联邦探员组成,他们与执法机关和情报机构的相关人员通力合作,共同致力于反洗钱、反恐怖融资以及反诈骗工作。在过去的5年里,我学到了很多跨部门的团体合作精神,这种经验有助于我作为移民投资项目办公室主任的工作。来到办公室之后,我集中精力从新的角度了解了此项目,并在这里跟大家分享一下。

First, as of February 14, 2014, all form I-924 applications filed by potential regional centers and all I-526 petitions filed by potential immigrant investors will be adjudicated by the immigrant investor program office in Washington, D.C. With the remainder of the fiscal year, all petitions by entrepreneurs to remove conditions form I-829 and EB-5-related adjustment applications – form I-485 – will continue to be adjudicated by a team in a California service center who will report to me. As of today we have 53 staff in the Immigrant Investor Program Office, also known as IPO, including 20 economists and 25 adjudicators. We have been fortunate to hire very talented, experienced, and diverse staff – about 80% of whom have advanced degrees including 7 PhDs and approximately 20 individuals with law degrees. In addition to our media staff we have a team of colleagues from the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate in office of chief counsel who are dedicated full time to the EB-5 program. This arrangement fosters enhanced communication and collaboration within the program and ultimately increased efficiency.

首先,截至到2014年2月14日,潜在的区域中心提交的所有I – 924类申请和潜在的投资移民者提交的所有I – 526类申请将由投资移民项目华盛顿办公室进行裁定。在本年度接下来的时间里, 符合I– 829类移除条件的企业家申请以及以及与EB-5相关的I – 485类调整申请将继续由加州服务中心的团队负责裁定,他们直接向我报告。截止到今天为止,我们投资移民项目办公室(也叫IPO)一共有53人,其中包括20名经济学家和25名裁定员。我们很荣幸能够雇佣到才华横溢、经验丰富的多元化员工—大约80% 的人员都拥有高学历,我们有7个博士和大约20名法学人才。除了我们的媒体工作人员之外,我们还有一支团队来自欺诈监测和国家安全理事,全职服务于EB-5项目。这样的安排可以加强沟通和合作,最终有利于提高工作效率。

Now I would like to discuss processing times. As of January 31, 2014, our average processing times were form I-526, 11 months, form I-924, 12 months, and form I-829, 11 months. Our website will be updated to reflect these times and our plan is to update the website on a monthly basis to reflect accurate processing times. We will strive to post them prior to the end of the following months. February will be posted not later than March 31st. On a related note, we do expect processing times to increase in the near future in light of the loss of the approximately 35 California service center personnel who adjudicated 526s and 924s; however, we do think this will be a temporary problem until we are able to hire and train another round of adjudicators which we are in the process of doing now. Our goal is to achieve better processing times on 526s and 829s towards the end of this fiscal year and even sooner on 924s.

接下来我想说一下处理时间。截至到2014年1月31日,我们的平均处理时间分别是:I– 526 —11个月, I – 924 —12个月, I – 829—11个月。我们将在网站上进行相应的更新,并计划每月更新网站,体现准确的审核进度。我们尽力在接下来的下个月月底进行公示。2月份的公示最晚不迟于3月31日。有一点需要注意的是,考虑到加州服务中心大约35名负责裁定526申请和924申请员工的裁减,未来一段时间内处理时间有可能加长,但是我们认为这只是一个暂时的问题,将来我们会雇佣和培训更多的审核人员,现在正在着手准备这件事情。我们的目标是在本年度底之前,加快526和829申请处理进程,使924申请处理时间更短。

Next, I would like to provide program-related statistics from the last fiscal year, which has background encompassed October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013. We do plan to post these statistics on our website in the near future. I will begin with I-924s. So as of the beginning of last fiscal year, which again is October 1, 2012, we had 504 applications pending. At the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2013, we had 300 pending. We received 207 through the fiscal year, approved 218, denied 32, and sent requests for evidence on 236. With respect to I-526s, at the beginning of the fiscal year we had 5,018 pending. At the end of the fiscal year we had 7,131. We received throughout the year 6,346, we approved 3,699, denied 943, and sent RFEs on 3,733 cases. For the form I-829, pending at the beginning of the fiscal year was 1,013 and at the end 1,345. We received 1,217 throughout the year, approved 844, denied 44, and RFEs were sent for 418. These will be posted to our website.

接下来我会提供从2012年10月1日至2013年9月30期间的与本项目相关的统计数据。我们计划在不久的将来在我们的网站上发布这些数据。首先,我将从I-924开始讲解。上个财政年度开始时,也就是2012年10月1日, 我们有504例未处理。到上个财政年度末,也就是2013年9月30日,我们有300例未处理。在此财政年度内,我们一共收到了207例申请,218例批准,32例被拒,236发出补件要求。关于I-526,在上个财政年度开始,我们有5018例未处理。到上个财政年度末,我们还有7131例未处理。在此财政年度内,我们一共收到了6346例申请,3699例批准, 943例被拒,3733例发出补件要求。对于I-829申请,上个财政年度开始时,我们有1013例。上个财政年度末,一共有1345例。在此财政年度内,我们收到了1217例,844例批准,44例被拒,418例发出补件要求。我们将会在网站上发布这些数据。

As you may know, you can now submit an I-526 petition in USCIS ELIS. We believe the use of USCIS ELIS will not only reduce paperwork but ultimately increase efficiency within the program. We have already received some standalone 526 petitions in USCIS ELIS and we have been in the process of reviewing these filings and issuing RFEs as necessary. We hope to start adjudicating some now so we can test the system and increase confidences in the system across the stakeholder community. In addition, as some of you may know, we recently released in ELIS a document library that allows regional centers to provide existing investors in new commercial enterprises with electronic copies of documents pertaining their investment including organizational, transactional, and offering documents which can be used by I-526 petitioners to electronically submit their petitions. In the coming weeks the office of transformation coordination will host a webinar to describe the document library’s features. We hope to send additional information to this group soon.

大家都知道,我们可以通过移民局ELIS系统(电子移民系统)提交I-526申请。我们认为使用移民局ELIS系统不仅能够减少文书工作,还会提高整个项目的效率。我们已经通过移民局ELIS系统收到了一些独立的I-526申请,现在正在审查这些文件。如果需要,我们会给他们发出补件要求通知。我们希望现在先使用此系统开始部分申请,这样我们可以测试一下此系统,进而增加利益攸关者对此的信心。此外,可能你们有些人已经知道,最近我们在ELIS发布一个文件库,允许区域中心为新商业企业的现有投资者提供关于投资的电子文件,这些文件主要包括组织性、交易性或者招募文件等。I-526类申请人可以通过电子方式提交申请。在未来几周内,转型协调办公室将举办网络研讨会,描述资料库的特点。我们也希望能够尽快发出更多的信息。

Now I would like to share with you some filing tips when submitting your application or petition. These tips will also help us increase the efficiency of our adjudications. First, there is no need to send in a duplicate copy of the supporting evidence. One is enough and in fact an extra copy not only serves to increase shipping costs and waste paper, but because we must keep the file together at all times it becomes a burden when storing and reviewing the file. Second, we are seeing many translation documents do not comply with the regulations. In short, summary translations are not sufficient. To ensure that the case is processed timely when submitting any foreign language documents, please ensure that certification that complies with the regulations. Third, we are also seeing outdated TEA letters that require us to issue a request for evidence. Next, I would like to remind our I-526 petitioners to clearly indicate in a cover letter or a cover sheet a name, receipt, and ID number of the regional center under which a petition is based along with the name of the new commercial enterprise. And finally, for an I-924 application it would be very helpful if you would state the type of approval you are requesting – hypothetical, actual, or exemplar – in your cover letter to ensure more timely processing. We plan to publish these and additional filing tips on our website in the near future.

现在我想与大家分享一些申请时的递案技巧。这些技巧也会帮助我们提高裁决效率。首先,没有必要发送重复的证明材料。一份就已足够,事实上额外提供一份,既增加了运费也浪费纸张,而且,因为我们必须将所有材料汇总保存,这就为存储和审核增加了负担。第二,我们看到很多翻译文件与规定不符。简而言之,简要的翻译是不够的。为了确保提交的任何外语文件能够得到及时审核,请确保提交的证明与规定是一致的。第三,我们还看到过时的目标就业区信函,要求我们发出补件要求。第四,我想提醒一下I-526申请者需要在说明信或者首页上提供姓名、收据以及在区域中心的ID,本申请在此区域中心下的新商业企业的名称。最后是关于I-924,如果您能说出您要求的审批类型-假设、实际或样本,这将有助于确保您的申请得到及时的处理。我们打算在不久的将来在我们的网站上发布更多的申请技巧信息。

Next, as many of you know we are beginning to work on revised EB-5 regulations. This is something we have identified as an important step for the future of the program for some time and it is a priority as a result of the recommendations from the office of inspector general’s audit report, which was released in December. As you may have seen in the office of the inspector general report mostly limited its recommendations to drafting a regulation that would address fraud and national security issues to enhance the integrity of the program. While we agree there is a need to address these issues to the extent permissible under statute to help ensure the program is not used or abused for the wrong purposes, we plan to take a more comprehensive approach and will use the regulatory revision process to strengthen and make more efficient the overall program. Since we are in the very early stages of formulating closed regulatory changes, which of course will be posted for public notice and comment at an appropriate time, we are not in a position to discuss specific changes being considered by USCIS. We would like, however, to use this engagement as an opportunity to obtain valuable feedback from stakeholders on the EB-5 regulations and any proposed changes that you would like USCIS to take into consideration. This is a priority for us given the importance of regulatory changes to the future success of the program, so we welcome your feedback during this call. Specifically we are looking to hear from you not only ideas for USCIS to combat fraud and abuse, but we are also looking to improve upon the regulations and the subject of eligibility and procedural filing requirements contained therein. Our goal is to ensure that the administration of the program and adjudication of EB-5 cases can be more efficient and timely, consistent, and predictable without sacrificing the integrity of the program with the quality of our review. We plan to continue this listing session in a new tool we are using in USCIS called the USCIS Idea Community.

大家知道,我们即将要修改EB-5的相关规章制度。这对此项目的未来趋势将是一个非常重要的步骤,我们需要优先处理此事,这也是办公室检察长在12月的审计报告中建议的。你们也可能从办公室检察长的报告中看到,多数建议趋向于起草一份处理欺诈和国家安全问题的规章制度,以此增加此项目的完整性。我们认同在法律法规允许的范围内有必要解决这些问题,以确保此项目不被非法意图所利用。我们计划采取更为全面的方式修订法规,使整个项目更高效。现在关于规章的制定还处于早期阶段,但是我们会在适当的时间向大家公示,听取意见。我们并没有参加修改过程,移民局会考虑具体修改的细节。但是,我们想要借今天的这次机会,从申请者那里获取对EB-5规章制度方面有价值的反馈信息,或者是您希望移民局考虑的任何修改建议。修改规章制度是我们工作的重中之重,这将关系此项目的成功与否,所以我们欢迎大家在本次会议中提出宝贵的意见。我们不仅希望能够听到您对移民局就打击欺诈和滥用方面的建议,同时,也希望就法规的改进、申领资格以及申请程序文件要求方面的想法。我们的目标是EB-5项目的实行和相关的裁定可以更加高效、及时而一致,不影响整个项目的完整性和审查质量。我们计划继续开展类似的会话,该会话是正在使用的一种新型工具,被称之为移民局创意社区。

The USCIS Idea Community is a crowd sourcing tool that allows stakeholders to post ideas on a particular topic and others can participate in the discussion by voting on the ideas and comments. This will help us identify issues that are most relevant to all of you, our stakeholder community, and help us a great deal as we shape the regulation. Please look for that email in the near term as well as an announcement about a future stakeholder engagement that will be specific to the regulation.

在移民局创意社区里,相关人员可以在这里发表对某一特定主题的想法创意,而其他的人也可以参与到此主题的讨论中,并能够就此创意进行投票或者提出建议。这将有助于确认社区内相关人员存在的问题,并能很大程度的帮助我们制定规章制度。请关注近期电子邮件或者关于日后专门针对规章制度方面举行的会议通知。

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the folks at the California Service Center, led by Rose Kendrick, the associate center director responsible for the EB-5 program at the California Service Center, for all their hard work and dedication to the program. In addition to continuing to work EB-5 cases all the way up until the transition of the 924s and 526s to D.C. a couple of weeks ago, Rose and her team have been instrumental in helping to ensure the transition of the EB-5 program to D.C. is successful. As we continue to transition the program please note that in the near future I-526 petitions upon intake may be data entered into a different system at USCIS and after that change is made will receive notices that will no longer reflect California Service Center as the center where the case is located. In other words, received notices would not reflect a WAC case number. We want to bring this to your attention so you are not surprised by internal changes that are reflected on I-526 receipt notices.

最后,我需要借此机会感谢负责EB-5项目的副主任Rose Kendrick领导下的加州服务中心所有人员,感谢他们的辛勤工作和对此项目的奉献。几周前,924和526申请过渡到D.C.之前,他们一直处理着EB-5相关的申请,Rose和她的团队对EB-5项目成功过渡到D.C.方面有着巨大的帮助。因为整个项目现在还处于过渡阶段,所以需要注意的是I-526类型请的申请一经接收,可能将数据录入移民局的另一个系统中。过渡完成后,I-526申请将会收到通知,内容是即使申请是加州提交,但加州服务中心将不再作为处理中心。换句话说,收到的通知并不会影响到WAC编号的文件。我们再次提醒各位注意此变化,这样当你收到I-526收讫通知时,不至于因为我们内部的变动而感到疑惑。

I would like to close my comments by sharing with you some thoughts about where I hope to concentrate my efforts as we move the program forward. In short, I plan to focus in three areas: One, continuing to build the program’s foundation; two, increase performance and predictability, and three is enhanced customer service and transparency. I will start with building the foundation and what that really means to me is developing the office the right way from the beginning so we are set up for success. My efforts in this area are related to two categories – personnel and programmatic. As a very new office we have significant challenges ahead. In essence what we are trying to do is reduce the backlog while at the same time expanding the office. Therefore, consistency in everything we do becomes particularly important. With respect to personnel, as I mentioned already we have 53 people on board; however, as we build a foundation we need to continue to hire. In the near term we are expecting a new group of recent hires to increase our number to around 75. Our goal is to be at or near 100 staff by the end of the fiscal year and most of those hired will be adjudicators; however, hiring is only the first step. We are also introducing an aggressive onboarding program so that we can get experienced adjudicators up to speed within five weeks of entering on duty. We are also concentrating on creating other training classes that will serve to foster consistency and adjudications and improve our subject matter knowledge.

我希望能尽全力将此项目进一步向前推动,在此我想跟大家分享我对这方面的几点想法。简而言之,我的侧重点在三个方面:第一,继续打好项目的基础;第二,提高执行力和可预测性;第三,增强客户服务和透明度。我将首先从打好此项目的基础开始。这对于我而言,就意味着从一开始就要以正确的方式引领办公室团队,这样我们才能取得成功。我主要从两方面进行努力,那就是人事和纲领。作为新设置的办公室,我们面临着有重大的挑战。从本质上讲,我们正在努力做的就是减少目前积压的工作,同时进一步壮大办公室团队。因此,我们做每一件事情都要保持一致,这点特别重要。关于人事方面,正如我刚刚提到的,我们办公室在职53人,正因为我们首先需要打好基础,所有我们需要继续招聘。短期内,我们预期录入一批新人,届时,员工总数达到75人。我们的目标是在本财政年年底,员工总数达到或接近于100名。大多数新录入人员为审核人员,然而,招聘仅仅是第一步。我们也引入了一个积极的新员工培训计划,这样我们可以让经验丰富的审核人员对其进行为期5周的培训,使其尽快入职。我们也努力开展其他的培训课程,进一步提高一致性和审核水平,并不断提高专业知识。

With respect to the programmatic work we are working with our office of policy and strategy to put together a comprehensive policy manual. We are also developing a quality assessment and quality control strategy. We have also set up an internal community of interests page specific to the immigrant investor program office where we can share important information and program updates. And finally we continue to seek venues such as biweekly office meetings and roundtables so that our adjudicators and economists can discuss their cases and bounce ideas off of one another. Again, all these things, as well as others, are going to help us ensure the consistency of our decisions.

关于纲领性工作方面,我们正与办公室研究政策和战略,希望整合并制定出一个全面的政策手册。我们正在制定一个质量评估和质量控制策略。在投资移民项目办公室内部,我们还建立了一个内部的兴趣分享团。在这里,大家可以分享重要信息和项目的更新状况。最后我们也一直寻求合适的场所,以便能够每两周举行一次办公室会议或圆桌会议,这样我们的审核人员和经济学家可以讨论他们的案例并了解彼此的看法。再次重申一下,我们所做的这一切都是帮助我们以确保决策的一致性。

The second area I plan to focus on is performance and predictability. I discussed earlier where we are with respect to processing times and also noted you will likely see increased processing times in the near future; however, I plan to concentrate a significant amount of my time on driving performance through seeking efficiencies, establishing goals, and rewarding success. I hope that we can share updates on this effort at our next stakeholder meeting. I understand that as important as increased processing times are to all of you that predictability is equally important because of the size and urgency of many of the projects that are being submitted. We would like to be more transparent in our performance and I pledge to seek data that we can share with you in the future to assist you in making critical decisions with more confidence. Finally, I plan to take a look at our customer service strategy in an effort to increase the transparency with which the program operates. At a high level, I would like us to be more accessible, respond more timely, and provide more information rather than less. I believe we can update our website more frequently and include more useful and timely information. I look forward to discussing each area in more detail and with more concrete deliverables at an in-person stakeholder meeting in late spring or early summer.

我侧重的第二个方面就是执行力和可预测性。在谈到处理时间时我们有谈到过,可能在不久的将来你会注意到处理时间变长了。但是,我打算长时间以通过提升效率、建立目标、奖励成功的方式引领执行力。我希望在下次利益相关者会议中能够就这方面的努力跟大家分享一下。我明白同处理时间变长一样,对于正在提交的规模大而又紧急的项目,可预见性也同样重要。我们希望在审核方面更加透明,将来也能与你们分享一些数据,进而帮助大家能够做出更有把握的关键性决定。最后,我想谈一下客户服务策略,以提高整个项目运行的透明度。从某个高度上来讲,我希望我们能够更容易被理解、反应更及时并尽量提供更多的信息,而不是较少的信息。我们会及时地更新网站,里面会涵盖更有用、更及时的信息。我希望在春末夏初的面对面的利益相关者会议中,能够更详细地讨论每个领域更实际的成果。

In closing, I am very honored to have been selected to run this program and work with such a talented staff. I came to the program at an exciting time. Thanks to Dan Renaud, Robert Cox, Rose Kendrick, and many others the program was already heading in the right direction when I arrived. I look forward to working with all of you to determine how we can strengthen the program even more as we move forward. Now I would like to introduce Robert Cox, the acting deputy chief, who will provide a short lead into the policy memo discussion and then move to questions and answers.

最后,管理此项目以及与这么优秀的员工共事是我的荣幸。能够参与此项目让我非常激动。感谢Dan Renaud, Robert Cox, Rose Kendrick以及其他的同事。在我加入之前,此项目已经朝着正确的方向运行。我期待与大家共事,共同决定如何加强此项目,使其不断前进。现在我介绍一下执行副主任Robert Cox。他将简短的介绍政策讨论记录,然后会是问题解答环节。

Robert Cox: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining today’s call and your interest in the EB-5 program. Over the past 14 months USCIS provided additional guidance to our office to enhance the foundational understanding of various EB-5 eligibility criteria and the agency’s official policy interpretation of those criteria. We believe this additional guidance, including the operational memorandum issued on ten occupancies in December 2012 and the EB-5 policy memorandum issued in May 2013 have helped to clarify various eligibility requirements and how the those requirements are to be applied during the course of an EB-5 adjudication. EB-5 is of course a complex program and subject matter and we understand that there are additional issues that require future clarification, whether it is a regulatory change or additional policy guidance; however, we believe the guidance issued in the last 14 months has improved the foundation for administering the EB-5 program in a fair, efficient, and predictable manner. It should also be noted that the guidance, in particular the EB-5 policy memorandum, was posted for stakeholder comment a couple of times and the feedback provided by stakeholders was very useful as USCIS evaluated and developed the EB-5 policy guidance.

下午好。感谢您参加今天的会议以及您对EB-5项目的关注。在过去的14个月里,美国移民局就不同的EB-5合格标准以及对于此标准的官方政策方面提供了一些指导。我们相信这些指导意见——包括2012年12月份第10次做出的运行备忘录和2013年5月份关于EB-5政策备忘录,能够帮助我们理清各种合格要求。在EB-5裁定期间,将会采用这些合格要求。当然,EB-5是一个复杂的程序和主题。我们也理解将来无论是关于政策法规的变化,还是其他的政策性指导,都有许多问题需要进一步澄清。但是,我相信在过去14个月中,移民局提出的指导为EB-5项目奠定了根基,使我们的管理更加公平、高效并且可预测。还应该指出的是,移民局评估和研发的EB-5政策知道,我们也记录在EB-5政策备忘录里面。我们把他们的见解发给了相关团体,他们给出的反馈意见也是非常有用的。

As mentioned, USCIS is now in the process of developing the EB-5 policy manual which is designed to consolidate existing EB-5 policy memoranda and the AFM into one comprehensive EB-5 policy guidance document. As Nick mentioned, in addition to developing the policy manual we are eager to launch into revising the regulation since we firmly believe that it is essential to effectively administering the EB-5 program long term. Ultimately we understand that our policy, in order to be effective in terms of administering the program in a fair and efficient manner, must be applied in a timely adjudication of each application and petition. As Nick mentioned, we are continuing to build our staffing model to ensure that we maintain a high level of quality during the adjudicative review process and are able to work through the existing backlog, reduce processing times, and provide a consistent adjudication process timeline upon which qualifying job-creating projects can be structured and resolved in the positive economic impact and job creation intended by the program.

正如前面提到的,美国移民局参与了EB-5方针手册的制定过程,目的在于巩固现有的EB-5政策备忘录和AFM,将其完善成一份全面的EB-5政策指导文件。正如Nick前面提到的,除了制定政策手册之外,我们也要修改相关规定要求。因为我们坚信这是EB-5项目长期发展的必要步骤。最终我们必须明白,为了更加公平有效的管理此项目,必须将各种申请及时裁定。正如Nick所提到的,我们将继续构建我们的人员配备模式,以确保我们在裁决审核过程中继续保质保量,完成现有积压的工作,减少审核时间并提供一个统一的裁决处理时间。只有这样,才可以对创业项目进行优化调整,带来积极的经济影响,并创造就业机会。

A number of questions were submitted by stakeholders in advance of this engagement. And while we are unable to address each one specifically due to the sheer number of submissions we will summarize some of those questions that we believe have brought us applicability and provide responses before we open the lines for additional comments or questions. It should also be noted that a number of questions pertain to information which have been provided in our opening remarks.

在本次会议之前,很多相关人员都提出了许多问题。因为提交的问题数量之多,我们不一一作答。但是我们将总结一些具有适用性的问题并将会在接听来电之前进行解答。还应该指出的是,有些问题,我们已经在开始的时候提供了相应的信息。

To begin, one of the first questions we will address relates to the types of regional center application. The May 30, 2013, policy memorandum discussed the different types of projects that can be submitted to support an I-924 including hypothetical projects held with an exemplar I-526 form, which can receive deference. The question is if a regional center has an actual project but not enough information to file an exemplar I-526, will USCIS’s approval be the same as it is for a hypothetical project – that is, the regional center’s geographic area and industries need to be approved, but there will be no difference to the project. No, we consider an approval of an I-924 application based on a hypothetical project to be different than an I-924 application based on an actual project would not be the same as an approval based on a hypothetical project. Deference will be provided to determination based on actual projects and our approval notices now expressly describe the extent to which deference will apply. USCIS approved an I-924 application based on an actual project that does not include an I-526 exemplar and a copy of the business has been submitted in support of the I-924 application based on an actual project is deemed compliant with matter of Ho, we will defer to that determination in future petitions involving the same comprehensive business plan absent fraud, willful misrepresentation or an objective mistake of law or fact, the same level of deference also applies to the associated economic analyses submitted in support of an approved I-924 application based on an actual project.

首先,我们要谈到的第一个问题是区域中心申请的类型。2013年5月30日的政策备忘录讨论了I-924申请可以提交不同类型的项目进行例证,包括用于I-526预申请中所有的假想性项目,同样都是被尊重的。问题是如果一个区域中心有一个实际的项目,但是无法提供I-526样本所需的全部信息,同样也是批准的,因为它是一个假想的项目——也就是说,在区域中心所在的地理区域和行业需要得到批准,但对于整个项目没有什么不同。其实并不是这样的。我们在审批一个基于假定项目I-924类申请与一个基于实际项目的I-924类申请是不同的,也区别于基于假定项目的批准模式。对于有实际项目的申请,在审核时,我们的批准通知会明确描述可允许的程度。美国移民局批准一个基于实际项目的I-924类申请,但并不包括I-526样本。对于I-924类申请,如果只提交一份实际项目的业务副本,也被视为合理可接受的。今后,涉及到同样没有欺诈、故意误导或有客观错误的法律或事实的综合商业计划的请愿书、以及基于一个实际项目的并附带行业经济分析作证的I-924类申请,也会同样尊重裁决。

The next question – does a regional center application seeking approval based on hypothetical projects require verifiable details or similar standards for market feasibility analysis or validation of costs and timeline for construction to support assumptions made in the economic analysis or is it enough to present a basically credible, hypothetical business plan? Our response is a reasonably credible sample or hypothetical business plan that provides a general market feasibility analysis, cost estimates, and timeline for construction may provide a basis for establishing eligibility for initial regional center designation. Regional center applications based on hypothetical projects still require an economic analysis with verifiable detail pertaining to how the jobs are going to be created; however, the level of detail and degree to which it needs to be verifiable is not as stringent as it is for I-924 applications based on actual project proposals and a matter of ho compliance comprehensive business plan. Understanding that these are sample projects that are presented only to demonstrate the types of projects that the regional center may pursue to create jobs, the range of assumptions that are acceptable as input into the economic modeling supporting I-924 applications based on sample projects which will not receive deference in later I-526 adjudications are different that those assumptions and inputs that are used to support I-924 applications based on actual projects that may received deference in later I-526 adjudications based on those projects. Existing regulations, however, as noted still require an economic analysis for all regional center applications and those analyses need to provide enough detail for USCIS to verify generally how the jobs will be created.

下一个问题——一个基于假定项目的申请书,在被核准之前,区域中心是否要求提供准确的信息或者市场可行性分析的类似标准、或者此项目的生效成本和创立时间表等用以证明此经济分析的假设情况是否成立;还是只是提供一个可信的、理论的商业计划就足够了吗?我们的回答是如果能够提供一份综合的市场可行性分析、成本预算、构建时间表的假定商业计划,像这样合理可信的情况,初级地区分中心可以作为参考进行审核。基于理论项目的地区分中心的申请书仍然需要一个关于如何开展工作、能够核实信息的经济分析报告。然而,需要哪些具体信息、核查到什么程度,这远远没有基于实际项目、符合综合商业计划的I-924类申请严格。需要理解的是,今天提出的这些项目案例只是为了证明地区分中心可能追求创造就业机会的项目类型。I-924类与I-526类可接受的假定项目范围是不同的。因为基于示例项目的I-924类申请书的假定与投入与后面的I-526是不同的,将受到不同的裁决对待。基于实际项目的的假定与投入I-526裁定可能会被批准,但是I-924类申请书却不一定。但是,正如上述提到的所有区域中心的申请书按照现有规则要求,仍然需要提供一份经济分析报告。而且在分析报告中应该信息充分、移民局足以用来审核工作机会是怎样创造出来的。

Next question – what is an objective mistake of fact or law that eliminates deference? Our response – we consider an objective mistake of law or fact to involve a determination where the officer misapplies the applicable eligibility criteria or failed to take into consideration a fact that would have been determinative in the eligibility decision. For example, an objective mistake of law or fact would be present if an officer approved a petition for the reduced investment amount upon a determination that the unemployment level in the targeted area was 125% of the national average rather than the required 150%. Subjective determinations, however, where an officer uses his or her adjudicative judgment to assess the facts and make a determination while applying the correct eligibility criteria would not be considered an objective mistake of law or fact. For example, an officer’s decision that the business plan is comprehensive and credible under matter of ho would likely be a subjective determination and unless such decision is based upon an objective mistake of fact or law would likely be provided deference.

下一个问题——减少尊重的法律或事实性客观错误是指什么?我们认为,法律或事实性客观错误是指裁定人误用适当的资格标准进行裁定或者在审批决定时未能把决定性事实考虑在内。例如,目标地区的失业率是全国平均水平的125%,而不是要求的150%。裁定人批准了在此减少投资金额的申请,那么这将被视为法律或事实性客观错误。但是,裁定人使用其审核权对事实进行评估进而做出裁决,虽然采用合适的评审标准,但是这将被视为主观性裁决,而非法律或事实性客观错误。例如,一个裁决人认为商业计划是全面而可信的,这其实是主观决定。除非,这个决定是基于法律或事实性的客观错误的,才有可能被尊重。

Next question – this question relates to census track, aggregation, will USCIS accept a TEA, Targeted Employment Area, constructed from an aggregation of census tracks using the prescribed Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology from the individual investor or [inaudible – 00:41:32] designation? Our response – when the investor claims that his or her investment is in a new commercial enterprise located in a geographic or political subdivision of a metropolitan statistical area or of the city or town with a population of 20,000 or more usually by aggregating census tracks, the investor must present a letter from the state government certifying that the geographic or political subdivision is a high unemployment area. As stated in the May 30, 2013, policy memo USCIS defers to state determinations of the appropriate boundaries of a geographic or political subdivision that constitutes the TEA. According to 8CFR204.6J6 to show this new commercial enterprise has created or will create employment in a targeted employment area the petition must be accompanied by in the case of a high unemployment area, evidence that the metropolitan statistical area with specific county within the metropolitan statistical area or the county in which a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more is located in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business has experienced an average unemployment rate of 150% of the national average rate, or a letter from an authorized body of the government of the state in which the new commercial enterprise is located which certifies that the geographic or political subdivision of the metropolitan statistical area or of the city or town with a population of 20,000 or more in which the enterprise is principally doing business has been designated as a high unemployment area. The letter must meet the requirements of a CFR204.6I. As such a TEA constructed from an aggregation of census tracks to claim that a particular geographic or political subdivision is a high unemployment area would not meet the regulatory requirements absent a state approval letter. This type of TEA designation must be in the form of a letter from an authorized state official.

下一个问题是关于人口普查跟踪和统计的。移民局是否接受个人投资者或者申请人根据劳动统计局规定的人口普查方法得出来的统计数据?我们认为——当投资者声称,他或她投资的新商业企业位于市统计区地理范围或行政分区内,或者城市或城镇人口20,000左右的地区通常可以借鉴人口普查汇总记录。 投资者必须出示一封来自州政府的证明文件,证明所在的地理区域或行政分区是一个高失业地区。2013年5月30日政策备忘录中也提到过,移民局尊重目标就业地区地理区域内或行政分区内的州级决定。根据8CFR204.6J6要求,在高失业率区域,新商业企业在目标就业区域已经创造或将要创造就业的申请,必须同时提供证明资料用以证明新商业企业是位于市统计区下的特定县市或城镇区域内的人口20,000左右的县市,且大部分生意运营主要在国家平均失业率为150%的区域内。或者取得州政府授权机构的证明信——证明该商业企业是位于市统计区下的特定县市或城镇区域内的人口20,000左右的县市,主要营业区域是在指定的高失业率区域内的。证明信必须符合CFR204.6I的要求。因为仅根据人口统计数据得出的目标就业区(TEA)——也就是在特定的的地理区域或行政区域内具有高失业率的地区,但是缺少州政府批准,是达不到法规要求的。特定目标就业区(TEA)是必须从各州取得官方证明文件的。

Next question – what is the standard for determining the geographic range of a regional center? Is the standard more flexible in the expansion context than in the initial filing? The standard for determining the geographic range of a regional center is the same regardless of when or how that regional center geographic request is submitted. USCIS will review the proposed geographic boundaries of a new regional center and will deem them acceptable if the applicant can establish by preponderance of the evidence that the proposed economic activity will promote economic growth in the proposed area. The question is a fact-specific one and the law does not require any particular form of evidentiary showing such as a county by county analysis. In USCIS’s experience, the reasonableness of a proposed regional center geographic boundary may be demonstrated through evidence that the proposed area is contributing significantly to the supply chain as well as the labor pool of the proposed projects. We do understand the value of predictability in the context of associated I-526 petitions. An I-924 amendment with an exemplar presenting the project to USCIS for approval and subsequent deference prior to the filing of associated I-526 petitions allows for a level of predictability for regional centers and investors. We also understand that in order to maximize the value for applicants to file an I-924 amendment with an exemplar prior to the filing of I-526s under that project we need to ensure that our processing times substantially improve. We believe we are making substantial progress towards improving I-924 processing times and believe that IPO continues to increase staff and a similar reduction in I-526 processing times will follow. Again, predictability, consistency, and efficiency in processing in addition to quality and integrity are all important goals for IPO as we administer the EB-5 program.

下一个问题——确定地理范围内的区域中心的标准是什么?这个标准在扩大时期是否比最初申请时更灵活?无论何时,地理区域中心如何提交申请,确定地理范围内的区域中心的标准是一样的。移民局将审查新提出的区域中心的地理边界。如果申请方提供的多数证据表明其提议的经济活动能够促进其区域内经济的增长,那么移民局将批准。具体问题得根据实际情况决定。法律不需要提供任何特殊形式的证据,比如说县市分析。就移民局的经验而言,提议的区域中心的地理边界是否合理,他们可能需要看是否有证据能够证明该地区对于提议项目的供应链及劳动力资源有显著的贡献。我们也理解I-526类申请中相关的预测性意义。在I-526申请之前,首先提交I-924修正范例给移民局审批,这样也是给到区域中心和投资者一定程度的预测性。我们也明白,在提交I-526申请之前,首先提交I-924修正范例,这样是为了最大程度确审核处理时间大幅缩短。我们相信在改善I-924处理时间方面取得实质性的进展。同时投资移民办公室(IPO)也会继续招募员工以缩短I-526的处理时间。再一次强调的是,可预测性、一致性和效率是我们IPO在管理EB-5项目的重要目标。

The next question is the May 30 memo states that a regional center may operate out of its area of operations and any ICS is job creation requirements are met. Does this mean a California regional center may submit a project in New York or must a new area of operations be contiguous to the approved region of operation? Our response – with respect to the question of whether a regional center’s geographic area must be contiguous, the new area of operations must be contiguous to the approved regional center geographic area since it would involve an expansion of the geographic area. Consistent with the form I-924 instructions, USCIS requires that a regional center focus on a contiguous geographic area. A regional center designated to operate in California would not be approved to operate a project in New York and their geographic area would not be expanded to include New York.

接下来的问题是5月30日的备忘录中指出的,区域中心可能管理其区域外的投资项目及ICS满足就业需要。这是否意味着加州区域中心可以在纽约提交一个投资项目,或者新的投资项目必须靠近批准的区域内?我们的答案是——一个区域中心的地理区域是否必须是临近的问题,新区的操作必须是临近批准的区域中心的地理区域。因为它将涉及一个地理区域扩张的问题。按照I-924的说明,移民局要求区域中心专注于一个连成片的地理区域。在加州的区域中心不能批准在纽约运营项目,他们的地理区域也不会扩大到包括纽约。

Next question – this question relates to the EB-5 program and public works project. The question notes that information supplied on the USCIS website seems to indicate that a commercial enterprise connected with an EB-5 investor must a “for-profit activity” and does this preclude a public works project? Our response – according to 8CFR204.6E the new commercial enterprise is required to be a for-profit entity. In cases where an investor may claim indirect job creation through an investment into a new commercial enterprise associated with a regional center, the actual job-creating entity may be separate from the new commercial enterprise. While the new commercial enterprise may pool investor funds to belong to a separate not-for-profit job-creating entity such as an entity undertaking a public works project the petitioner will still be required to demonstrate that the new commercial enterprise itself is engaging in for-profit activity and that the invested funds are placed at risk for the purpose of generating a return and that the investment into the new commercial enterprise is likely to resolve in the requisite job creation.

下一个问题,关系到EB-5项目和市政工程项目。问题指出,移民局网站上提供的信息似乎表明与EB-5类投资者的商业企业必须“以营利为目的的活动”。这排除市政工程项目吗?我们的解答是——根据8CFR204.6E要求,新商业企业必须是一个营利性的实体组织。在这种情况下,投资者可以对相关区域中心的新的商业企业进行投资,进而创造间接的就业机会。虽然新的商业企业可能是投资者合伙募资,归属于一个独立的非盈利性,创造就业机会的实体,例如承担市政工程项目的实体,但是实际创造就业机会的实体可能独立于新的商业企业。申请人仍需证明新的商业企业本身是从事营利性活动,并处于风险之中,投资资金也是以生成回报为目的的。对于新的商业企业的投资有可能解决必要的就业机会。

Next question – can investors in a project qualify for a $500,000 minimum investment by investing in a new commercial enterprise that will create jobs in a collection of separate TEAs without creating most of the jobs in one of them? Our response – yes, as long as the job-creating entities are principally doing business in the designated TEAs and if the investment is within a regional center, the job-creating entities are located in the geographic area of the regional center. Most of the jobs do not have to be created in one particular TEA if multiple TEAS are involved and the fact-supporting finding that the job-creating entities are principally doing business in the TEAs.

下一个问题——投资者是否可以投资一个不低于500,000美元的新商业企业,而收集该企业在一系列目标就业区所创造的就业机会而不是仅仅限于其中一个就业区?我们的解答是——是的,只要创造就业机会的实体主要是在指定的目标就业区域内做生意,且如果投资是区域中心内的、创造就业机会的实体也位于区域中心的地理区域范围内。大部分工作机会并不需要在一个特别的目标就业区(TEA)创造,如果涉及多个目标就业区,实际上创造就业机会的商业实体也在这些目标就业区中进行商业运营也是可以的。

Next question – is there any problem if the developer or the general partner has the option to redeem an investment at a fixed amount or provide property in addition to or in lieu of a fixed amount as long as it is not an option of the investor? Our response – the answer will depend on the specific facts involved and the terms of any agreement. As noted in the May 30, 2013, policy memo, if the immigrant investor is guaranteed the return of a portion of their investment or is guaranteed a rate of return on a portion of their investment, then the amount of a guaranteed return is not at risk. Thus, IPO will review the evidence to determine if there is a risk of loss and a chance for gain and to determine whether there is a promise to return or redeem some portion of the minimum required investment amount. Even if the agreement does not represent a promise or guarantee that [inaudible - 00:50:55] contribution of capital below the minimum required amount, depending on the terms of the agreement there may be questions pertaining to whether the investor has the potential for gain.

下一个问题——如果开发人或普通合伙人以固定资产或地产代替额定金额履行投资,是否可以接受?我们的解答是——将取决于所涉及的具体情形和协议条款。2013年5月30日政策备忘录中提出,如果投资移民者保证返还投资的一部分或保证投资回报率,那么保底投资收益金额并无风险。因此,投资移民办公室(IPO)将审查证据,以确定是否有损失风险和收益机会。即使协议中并没有关于出资与最低所需金额的承诺或保证(- 00:50:55),但是根据协议的条款,可能存在有关投资者是否有潜在的收益的问题。

Next question – provide clarification on sale of regional centers. In regards to the May 30, 2013, memo this clarification regarding this topic was missing from the guidance. Previously USCIS had held that sales were permitted but required amendments and in recent adjudications USCIS seems to be shying away from this position. Clear guidance is requested. Our response – a sale of a regional center entity is not prohibited. Note that the instructions for form I-924 provide that regional centers must notify USCIS within 30 days of a change of address, contact information, regional center principles, contracting agents, or similar changes in the operation or administration of the regional center. Accordingly, if a regional center entity is sold the regional center must notify USCIS of the sale within 30 days and USCIS may require the principles of the new regional center entity to file a form I-924A. The regional center may also file an I-924 amendment to reflect the sale.

下一个问题——关于区域中心的商业实体销售解答。2013年5月30日的备忘录没有针对这个问题的做出指导。此前移民局认为可以销售,但需要修正。但是从最近的裁决中可以看出移民局似乎有意避开这个问题。需要给出明确的指导。我们的解答是——区域中心的销售是允许的。需要注意的是,I-924类说明文件中指出区域中心必须30天内通知移民局变更地址、联系信息、区域中心原则、代理联系人或类似操作或管理区域中心的变化等。相应地,如果一个区域中心已经被销售出去了了,那么区域中心也必须在30天内通知移民局。移民局可能需要新的区域中心实体申请I-924A。原来区域中心也会因为实体的销售而需要申请I-924变更。

Next question – does the formation of a new company after November 29, 1990, and the purchase of assets by that company from another company that went out of business quality as a new commercial enterprise. Our response – the determination of whether a new commercial enterprise has been established will ultimately depend on the facts involved and whether the facts support the claim that the new company is a new commercial enterprise or through the purposes of assets of a prior entity performed on or before November 29, 1990, is merely a reorganized or restructured entity that has not shown the degree of restructuring or reorganization required by 8CFR204.6H2 to constitute a new commercial enterprise. The various factual distinctions noted in the question and to summarize some of those distinctions that were raised – is there a difference in terms of when the assets from the prior business were acquired, whether or not that business was in existence or no longer in existence, whether or not the assets were simply stock, and whether or not the foreign national requiring the assets is entering into a different type of business, those various factual distinctions would be relevant along with others in the analysis; however, the mere fact that an entity formed after November 29, 1990, purchased assets of a prior entity does not in and of itself mean that the entity is not a new commercial enterprise. The nature, timing, and extent of the asset purchased will be evaluated to determine if this is simply as asset purchased in the course of operating and growing the new commercial enterprise or if the asset purchased is more likely than not the acquisition and restructuring or reorganization of an existing business formed on or before November 29, 1990. If the facts show that the asset purchased was more likely than not a purchase of an existing business then the facts will be reviewed consistent with matter of Soficci in precedent decision and other applicable law to determine if the business purchased was restructured or reorganized such that a new commercial enterprise resulted.

下一个问题——1990年11月29日之后成立的新公司及其对另一个破产公司购买资产进而做为一个新的商业企业。我们的解答是——决定是否已经建立了一个新的商业企业最终将取决于所涉及的事实和此事实是否能够证明新公司是一个新的商业企业,亦或1990年11月29日之前前一个实体投资的目的仅仅是重组,或重组实体并不是按照8CFR204.6H2要求体现的重组的程度而构成的新的商业企业。这个问题有各种不同的具体情况。总结其中一些不同的情况——何时取得前一个商业企业的资产方面的差异、商业企业是否存在或不再存在、资产是否安置恰当、外国要求的资产是否注入不同类型的业务中,这些在分析中也与其他相关。但是,唯一的事实是:1990年11月29日之后成立的实体,前一个实体购买的资产并不意味着这个实体不是一个新商业企业。购买的资产的性质、时间和范围都会被评估,以便确认这是否在运营和发展新的商业企业过程中购买的资产,采购的资产还有可能是1990年11月29日之前已经建立的商业企业的重组后的资产。如果事实证明,购买的资产可能是购买一个现有的商业企业,那么将会对这些事实进行审核是否与Soficci先前的决定和其他适用的法律一致。这样才能确定购买的商业实体是重组而得的新的商业企业与否。

Next question – what, if any, limits on bridge financing should investors know about? The May 30, 2013, memo does not mention any temporal or other limits on using EB-5 funds to repay bridge financing. Is there any particular EB-5 related event that must have occurred before bridge financing is advanced for EB-5 funds to be allowed to replace such financing? Our response – generally, the replacement of bridge financing with EB-5 investor capital should have been contemplated prior to acquiring the original non-EB-5 financing; however, even if the EB-5 financing was not contemplated prior to acquiring the temporary financing, as long as the financing to be replaced was contemplated as short term, temporary financing, which would be subsequently replaced, the infusion of EB-5 financing could still result in the creation of and credit for new jobs. Consistent with the policy as set forth in the May 30, 2013, memo, the focuses on the nature of the underlying financing in order to determine that the financing to be replaced by the EB-5 funds is truly bridge or temporary financing or if the EB-5 funds are being used to merely refinance the longer-term debt. If the underlying financing was bridge financing, which is a fact-based determination based on the terms of the underlying financing and the circumstances surrounding the use, application, and plan at the time the financing was obtained to replace it with other long-term financing such as EB-5 funds, then jobs credited through the use of the bridge financing could still be credited to the EB-5 investors. If, however, the petitioner fails to establish that it is more likely than not that the EB-5 funds are being used to replace bridge or temporary financing rather than, for example, to refinance longer-term debt that was not contemplated to be used temporarily then jobs created through the use of the prior financing would not be credited to the EB-5 investors.

下一个问题——如果有的话,投资者应该知道什么过渡融资限制?2013年5月30日备忘录中没有提到利用EB-5资金偿付过渡融资的任何暂时性或其他的限制。在过渡融资之前,有无EB-5相关的特别的事情需要提前安排,才能允许使用EB-5资金代替融资?我们的答案是——通常而言,在取得最初的非EB-5资金前,就已经计划好使用EB-5投资资金代替过渡融资。但是,在取得临时融资之前,即使没有使用EB-5投资资金代替过渡融资的计划,只要将要取代的融资只是被作为短期的临时融资,随后将被取代,那么EB-5注入的资金仍会创造的新的就业机会。与2013年5月30日备忘录中规定的政策保持一致,关注潜在融资性质目的在于确定将被EB-5基金取代的融资是真的融资或临时融资,还是EB-5基金将被用于因为长期债务而进行的再融资。如果潜在的融资是过渡融资,而且是基于事实的决定或基于潜在融资条款和使用、申请和计划的环境,在获得融资并用以取代其他长期融资,如EB-5基金时;那么由此创造的就业机会也被视为EB-5投资者创造出的。然而,计划用于过渡融资或临时融资的EB-5基金,更有可能的是被用于长期债务的再融资,那么通过之前融资创造的就业机会也不会视为EB-5投资者,即申请人创造就业机会不成立。

Next question – the next question relates to guest expenditures. What is the legal standard for allowing EB-5 investors in a hotel to obtain credit for guest expenditure jobs that the jobs would not be in the area? For example, that the jobs would not be in the area but for the hotel or that the hotel is the primary reason the guests are in the area? The question notes that these standards are different. The hotel might make it possible for someone to stay in the area by offering rooms when other hotels are full but visitors may be coming for some other reason. And the question asks if there is another standard. Our response – USCIS reviews these analyses and projections to determine if they are economically or statistically valid. As such, it is a fact-based specific determination in a market study and supporting evidence and the manner in which that information or data is used in the economic analysis in job creation projection. Thus, an applicant can establish that a hotel and consequently hotel and associated hotel revenues are creditable for job creation through several means. The first of these is unmet aggregate demand. USCIS examines the occupancy rates of hotels in the area when reviewing new hotel projects. If occupancy rates for hotels are high in a particular area a successful argument could be made that a new hotel will serve unmet demand rather than cannibalize existing hotel visitors to that area. If an applicant demonstrates in their business plan and through data and market studies, for example, that high hotel occupancy rates exist the USCIS considers that as evidence that there is unmet demand and that guest expenditures for hotel revenues including restaurants, meeting facilities, and concessions with the hotel, etc., represent new spending and consequently new jobs for the area. USCIS would also consider guest spending, i.e. hotel revenues, from a proposed new hotel in an area as new spending and consequently new jobs for the area if an applicant can demonstrate that they are providing a differentiated product to serve a special market segment. For example, the construction of a hotel to provide facilities for longer-term guests, usually called resident hotels, in an area where none exist supported my market study estimating current and future demand for this market segment would more than likely demonstrate the serving of new demands, hence new expenditures, rather than displacing current visitors. Similar successful arguments have been made for five-star hotels and for budget hotels in areas where one, there is aggregate unmet demand in an area and two, no comparable facilities exist.

下一个问题是关于客人支出的。EB-5投资者在某一区域的酒店作为客人支出而致使产生的工作机会,此工作机会可能不是在其投资区域内,这种情况的允许的法律标准是什么?例如,可能工作机会不是在该地区内,但是留在该区域的主要原因可能是该酒店或酒店中的该客人。这个问题也指出这些标准是不同的。可能因为其他酒店已满了,此酒店为其提供房间,也有可能是其他的原因。此问题指的是是否还有另一套标准。我们的理解是——移民局审核这些分析推算报告以此来确定这些在经济或统计上是否有效。因此,它是基于具体事实的审批,包括市场研究、支持证据和创造就业机会的经济分析中所用的信息数据。所以,通过各种方式,酒店或后续的酒店及相关酒店收入是能够创造就业机会的,那么申请人的指标也是成立的。第一个方法是未满足总需求。移民局在审核新酒店项目时会核查该地区的酒店入住率。如果在该特定区域内的酒店入住率很高,那么这就成功的说明,新酒店将致力于未满足的需求,而不是对现有酒店旅客的冲击。如果申请人能够在其商业计划或者数据市场分析中证明该地区酒店入住率确实是高的,那么移民局将会认可此证据。他们认为这里有未满足的需求,且因客人入住对酒店收入项目包括餐厅、会议设施、酒店和租住等方式能够产生新的支出,进而创造新的工作机会。如果申请人能够证明他们根据不同市场区域而提供差异化的产品,那么移民局也会认为拟建新酒店的提议中就客人消费,如酒店收益等是新的支出也有利于创造新的就业机会。例如,酒店在建设结构方面也为长期客人提供设施,这通常被称为公寓式酒店,在我的市场调研中也体现估计该市场区域的目前和未来需求可能表明对于服务的新需求和新的支出,并非取代现有客人。类似的成功的案例也是有的。在有着为满足需求的同一个区域内,五星级酒店和经济型酒店共存,但是设施不同;首先,有未满足的需求,其次是没有可以对比的其他类似设施。

USCIS also considers arguments that guest expenditures for hotel revenues represent new spending and consequently new jobs for the area if the new hotel is in response to another facility, for example a sports arena or entertainment venue. The next and last question that we would like to address at this time relates to evidence at the I-829 stage. What evidence does USCIS accept at the 829 stage to support the creation of model derived direct jobs or the justification of the input, i.e. revenue or expenditures, or would it be actual payroll documentation? Our response – direct jobs are identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the investor has directly invested his or her capital. The implication is that the petitioner has some operational control over the employees being counted for purposes of job creation. To show employment creation the principal alien can submit payroll records for the entity, relevant tax documents for the entity, forms I-9 for all employees hired, or any other evidence deemed appropriate by the petitioner. Model-derived jobs describe jobs that are indirect or induced and are established in the creation of a model which usually involves direct jobs as an input. Investors should carefully review the job creation model which they are basing their eligibility and submit evidence appropriate to that model. In other words, the type of evidence need to establish job creation would depend on the model being used. For example, if the model were based on revenue then evidence of revenue would need to be provided. If the model were based on the number of workers per square foot in a particular industry, the evidence should establish that this industry in fact occupies the square footage that the model predicted. USCIS will also accept payroll documentation to support the creation of jobs derived from a model using direct input.

移民局也考虑如果新酒店是因为其他的设施所需,如体育竞技场或娱乐场所,那么客人支出对于酒店的收益可以代表新的支出以及新的就业机会。最后一个问题,我们想讲解关于I-829类的证据。就829类申请,移民局会接受什么证据来证明用模型计算的新实业创造直接就业机会?对于投入的判定是什么,比如收入、支出或者是支付工资的文档吗? 我们的回答是——合格员工在投资者直接投资的商业企业中的直接就业机会是能够识别出来的。言下之意是,申请人对提供就业机会的员工进行业务管理。为了证明创造就业机会,当事申请人可以提供为员工支付的工资记录,相关的税务文件,所有雇佣员工的I-9类表格或申请人认为合适的其他任何证据。模型衍生的工作机会是指基于一个模式的创立而产生的间接行工作岗位,通常直接就业就是当中的投入变量。投资者应仔细审查就业机会的模式,并以其资质以及提交的合适证据判断此模式。换句话说,创造就业机会的证据类型将取决于所使用的模式。例如,如果是基于收入基础上的模式,那么就需要提供收入的证据。如果是基于某一行业中每平方英尺的工人数量的模式,那么就需要提供证据证明此行业实际的建筑面积和预计的模式。若模型是采用直接支出模型的,移民局也会接受工资文档作为证据。

With that, we would like to open the line so you may provide comments and suggestions for future EB-5 regulatory changes as well as to ask questions about the EB-5 programs. In closing, we would like to note – let’s go ahead and open up the lines for questions.

现在,我们要接听来电。所以你们就关于将来EB-5法规变更方面可以提出意见和建议,也可以咨询关于EB-5项目的问题。最后,再次重复——我们即将接听来电。

Carlos: Thanks Robert. Thank you so much Nick and Dan and everyone else for listening to today’s presentation. As Robert mentioned we are now ready for the questions and answers session. As we open up the phone lines we would like to remind you to please limit your questions to one per person and to please stay within the topics that we have discussed here today. If you just need general information about the EB-5 program we encourage you to visit our website at www.USCIS.gov or you may email us at public.engagement@USCIS.DHS.gov. Again, we cannot address any case-specific or fact-specific questions on today’s call. Do keep in mind that this is also a listening session and as Nick said earlier we look forward to your feedback on EB-5 regulations and any proposed changes that you would like USCIS to take into consideration. Again, members of the media joining us today – if you have questions please call the USCIS press office at (202) 272-1200. We will not be able to address questions from the media in this public engagement. And another reminder, Congressional staff we kindly ask that you please contact the USCIS office of legislative affairs for any briefing requests and/or case-specific matters. And now Mia, I think we are ready to take the first question.

谢谢Robert。非常感谢Nick,Dan和所有收听陈述的各位。正如Robert所说,我们已经为问答环节做好准备。因为我们是以电话会议的形式进行此次会议,所以我们提醒各位:每人仅限提问一个问题,问题内容需与今天讨论的主题相关。如果您只是需要了解EB-5项目的基本信息,我们推荐您访问我们的网站www.USCIS.gov ,或发电子邮件至public.engagement@USCIS.DHS.gov。另外,今天的电话会议无法解决与特定案例或特定事实相关的问题。请记住:这还是一个倾听环节,Nick之前提过,我们希望能够收到您关于EB-5规定的反馈,或者是提出您意见或建议,请USCIS酌情考虑。参与本次电话会议的媒体朋友如有问题,请致电USCIS新闻办公室,电话为( 202 ) 272-1200。我们无法在本次公共会议上解决来自媒体的问题。另外,我们还提醒各位议会工作人员,请联系USCIS法律事务办公室索取基本信息或解决特定事宜。Mia, 现在我们可以收听第一个问题了。

Coordinator: Thank you, if you would like to ask a question please press star and one on your touchtone phone. Be sure to unmute your phone and record your name. Press star and two to withdraw your request. Our first question comes from Linda Lau with Global Law Group. Go ahead.

谢谢。如果您希望提问,请按星号键和1号键。请确保您手机不在静音模式,并留下您的姓名。如需收回请求,请按星号键和2号键。第一个问题由来自环球法律集团的Linda Lau提出,请讲!

Linda: Hi, this is Linda Lowe from California and thank you so much for having this public engagement conference call, which is most helpful. I really appreciate everybody on the call from USCIS to make this available. I have a question regarding tenant occupancy. And in many of the RFEs that the stakeholders have been receiving, and there is a request regarding facilitation of employment, and right now the request is that besides having a market analysis of each of the industries needed for let’s say a big gigantic shopping center with 200 retailers, we are being asked to provide market analyses specific to a type of tenant, meaning that it may be a flower shop, may it be a dance studio, may it be any type of retail, and for a big shopping center it takes two to three years to build so it creates undue burden to a lot of the developers not knowing what to do in advance to solicit tenants who commit to a space for three years in advance. I am asking if there is any way we can have a policy consideration to allow market studies to be generic for a retail space and not on specific tenants.

大家好,我是来自加利福尼亚的Linda Lowe,有幸参加此次公共电话会议,使我受益匪浅。非常感谢移民局各位成员组织此次会议。我的问题是关于租户就业方面。很多申请者收到的补件要求(RFE)中,要求提供促进就业证明,现在的要求是我们不仅需要提供每个行业需求的市场分析,还需要提供具体到每个租户类型的市场分析,比如说一个大型购物中心有200家店,这些店可能是花店、舞蹈工作室或其他类型的零售商店,这就意味着我们不仅要做整个行业需求的市场分析,还要做具体到这200家店的市场分析。大型购物中心需要两到三年才能建成,这就给很多开发商造成了不必要的负担,以至于不知道如何提前三年招揽租户。 我想问对于零售市场有没有可能出台一些政策,即只要求做一般的市场分析,而无需具体到租户。

Robert: Sure, and thank you for the question. As it relates to this question, as the memo I think tried to make clear and as I believe our RFEs try to elaborate and explain, we obviously are looking for additional evidence from the applicant to establish that it is more likely than not that these types of tenants will occupy the space in this context that we are talking about, commercial space and future tenants. The evidence that may be submitted of course is not limited. There is a range or a wide variety of evidence that could be relevant to that determination but from our perspective we’re looking for sufficient evidence to be submitted by the applicant to establish that it is more likely than not that the commercial space being developed will be occupied by the types of tenants that is claimed when those tenants are being used as input into the economic model on which the job creation projections are based. And that is, of course, important for the economic analysis to determine that those job creation projections are more likely so than not or reasonable. So of course it will depend on specific facts involved and the specific evidence that may be submitted by the applicant, but again I believe our RFE should articulate some examples of the types of evidence that may be submitted and may be relevant to establish facilitation of tenant occupancy jobs.

当然,谢谢您的提问。既然设计到这个问题,我想一定要解释清楚,因为我相信补件要求(RFE)是试图让您阐述或解释,很明显,我们希望申请人补充额外的证据,证明这些类型的租户有可能租用我们所探讨的商业空间,成为将来的租户。当然,我们并不限制提交证据的种类。很多证据都与该规定相关,但是从我们的角度来看,我们要求申请者提交足够的证据,证明该类型的租户很有可能声称租用开发商开发的商业空间,在这种情况下,那些租户就被用作经济模型输入,而关于创造就业机会的预测则以此模型为基础。当然,这对经济分析很重要,决定了那些创造就业机会的预测是否更有可能性或更合理。所以申请者要根据具体的事实来提交具体的证据,但是我相信补件要求(RFE)应该为可能提交的促进就业证据类型做出清晰的示例。

Linda: Okay, thank you. I appreciate the answer. I am reminded of the May 30 memo – actually, December 2013 memo regarding the allowance of a change of tenant makes. So this will go in line with that policy because during the two years of construction there can be lots of changes in terms of tenant mix. I appreciate that you allow us to provide alternative evidence to show that there is a demand for retail in that situation instead of just limited to specific tenants that I get very few of our clients can commit them to lease a space three years in advance. And thank you for your answer.

好的,谢谢。非常感谢您的回答。我想起了5月30日的备忘录—实际上,2013年12月的备忘录就已经对有关租户问题有松动的改变了。因此,这完全符合该政策,因为在长达两年的建筑期间,承租人群会发生很大的变化。非常感谢您允许我们提交替代证据来证明该情况下零售空间的需求情况,而不是局限于特定的租户,能承诺提前三年将空间租出去的客户少之又少。非常感谢您的回答。

Carlos: Thank you so much, Linda. I think we are ready for the next question, operator.
非常感谢,Linda。请进入下一个问题。

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from Henry Chow with the Law Office of Henry Chow. Go ahead.
谢谢,下一个问题由来自Henry Chow律师事务所的Henry Chow提出,请!

Henry: Thank you. My question is related to 526, to prove a source of income. Is there any particular policy towards an offshore company? The offshore company can provide the financial statement but no tax return so the investor is using the funds as the offshore company as income or evidence. That will be difficult to prove with a tax return. So is there a particular policy toward offshore company income?
谢谢。我的问题与526证明收入来源相关。对离岸公司是否有特定的政策?离岸公司可提供财务报表,但无法提供纳税申报单,所以投资者将资金作为离岸公司收入或证据。所以没有纳税申报单很难证明收入来源。所以对离岸公司收入是否有特定的政策?

Robert: In terms of evidence related to source of income, as you know the requirement is that the petition establish and document the past of the income used for the investment and establish that the income was derived from lawful sources. The types of evidence that may be submitted in each case really becomes fact-specific to those individual cases. And certainly in some instances the availability of certain types of documents may not be the same as they are for other cases. There is obviously a variety of reasons that may impact the types of documents that are available, just in terms of the nature of different countries and their laws pertaining to how taxes are filed and recorded and documented. With that said, the burden of proof is on the petitioner to submit sufficient evidence to establish eligibility and in this case that the funds were lawfully derived. So the petitioner will need to decide what evidence is available and may be provided to USCIS in support of their petition to establish that it is more likely so than not that those funds were lawfully derived. So I would refer you to the regulations in terms of a list of the types of evidence that are typically submitted in support of that issue and as the regulations note, any other relevant evidence may also be submitted to establish eligibility on that issue.

关于收入来源证明,我们的要求是该申请要证明用于投资的收入合法来源并提供相关文档。各种情况下提交的证据类型要根据实际案例来决定。当然,在一些情况下,可能无法提供某些类型的文档。很显然,就不同国家的性质以及关于如何归档、记录和提交税收文件的法律规定而言,影响可用文档类型的原因有很多。之前提到过,举证责任是申请人提交足够的证据证明其资格和资金来源合法。所以申请人需要决定向移民局提供哪些证据支持自己的申请,证明资金为合法收入的可能性很大。所以我想请你参阅有关支持这一问题的证据类型列表的规定,规定指出,可以提交其他相关证据来证明这一问题的合理性。

Carlos: Thank you so much for your question and I think, operator, we are ready for the next question.
非常感谢您的提问,请进入下一个问题。

Coordinator: Your next question comes from David Herson with [inaudible -01:12:40]. Go ahead.
下一个问题由David Herson 提出,请!

David: That was pretty quick. Today and this morning in California for those who don’t understand that. My question relates to bridge financing and taking out the bridge financing. In many cases we could have in a construction-type case almost wholly completed at the time of substituting the bridge financing with the EB-5 money. So the question comes about as to the timing of the creation of the jobs. Clearly most of those jobs will have been created because of the cash that has already been spent, but the I-526 may not have yet been filed. So the question is can we pick up those jobs and apply them to I-526s to be filed resultant from the EB-5 bridge takeout investment?
我想做一个快速的提问,今天早上加利福尼亚有一些人还是不太明白。我的问题是关于过桥融资和抽离过桥融资。在很多情况下,用EB-5资金取代过桥融资时,建筑类型的项目则几乎全部完成。所以我的问题是关于创造就业机会的时间。显然,花钱之时创造了许多就业机会,但是I-526当时还没有递案。我们是否可以整理由过桥融资带来的工作机会并将其应用于I-526s?

Robert: Yeah, and this question goes back to the question that we addressed a few minutes ago as we went through the questions that were submitted in advance of the call. Again, ultimately this is a fact-based determination but as we review the application our focus is on the nature of that underlying financing, what was contemplated at the time that financing was obtained, and whether this was – for example – bridge financing that was obtained and contemplated based on the replacement of EB-5 funds. If, for example, EB-5 funds were not contemplated at the time the bridge financing was obtained as the policy memo notes that may not necessarily be determinative as long as that underlying financing was truly bridge or temporary financing that was contemplated to be replaced. EB-5 funds can be used to subsequently replace other financings that fell through in terms of replacement financing. But in the general scenario where EB-5 funds are being contemplated at the time that the bridge financing is obtained, our focus or our concern is making sure that the jobs are properly credited to the EB-5 investment funds, understanding that temporary or bridge financing is an important tool in order for these legitimate job-creating projects to proceed, especially given some of the challenges in timing related to the release or availability of EB-5 funds, so as long as there is the associated connection between the bridge financing and the EB-5 funds that are replacing the bridge financing. Per our policy, we believe that jobs may be credited to the EB-5 investors even though the initial financing that was used to start the project and start the job creation was temporary or bridge financing.

是的,这个问题又回到了几分钟前解决的那个问题,因为在电话会议之前,我们已经大体浏览了问题列表。这归根结底是一个基于事实的判断,但我们在审查申请时,我们的侧重点是相关融资的性质及获得融资时需要考虑的问题,比如,获得的融资是否为过桥融资以及是基于被EB-5资金取代的考虑。又比如,如果获得过桥融资时,EB-5资金没有被考虑,而政策备忘录也意识到这不是必须条件,只要潜在融资是过桥融资或可被取代的临时融资。EB-5资金可随后用于取代其他无法实现融资置换的融资。但是获得过桥融资时考虑EB-5资金的一般情况下,我们关注的重点是确保工作机会被正确的算到EB-5投资基金上,并且我们能够理解为了那些创造合法的就业机会能够延续,临时融资或过桥融资是非常重要的工具,尤其是涉及到与EB-5资金的释放和获取面临时间上的一些挑战,因此只要过桥融资和取代过桥融资的EB-5资金有相关性,根据我们的政策,我们认为即使用于启动该项目和创造就业机会的初期融资为临时融资或过桥融资,提供的工作机会也可能归功于EB-5投资者。

David: Thank you. I understood that and I appreciate the very practical and valuable approach. I am being challenged by some people out of country who read the regulations and say to us that the jobs must be created within, the effective work, the approval of the I-526 at 30 months later. In the case I just described, the jobs would effectively have been created quite some time before. If I take your answer on its face then, this is not a problem. Am I correct?

谢谢。我能够理解您的解释,非常感谢您非常实际而有价值的方法。一些生活在国外的客户看过这个规定,并且告诉我说,获得I-526批准之后30个月内创造的就业机会才为有效工作机会。我刚才描述的情况中,一段时间之前就已经创造了工作机会。如果我从表面上理解您的回答,那这就不是问题了,是吧?

Robert: Yes, thank you for the clarification. We will look into that further and if additional clarification or guidance is needed we will consider that for posting. Thank you.

是的,谢谢您的说明。我们会进一步研究,如果需要额外说明或知道,我们会考虑公布。谢谢。

Carlos: Thank you Robert. Thank you for your question and I think we are ready now for the next question. Operator, the next question please?
谢谢你, Robert。谢谢您的提问,下面请进入下一个问题。接线员,下一个问题准备好了吗?

Coordinator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Jenny Liu with Global Law Group. And as a reminder, if you can be sure to mute your line when it is active. Thank you.
谢谢。下一个问题由环球法律集团 Jenny Liu提出。在此我提醒一下各位,电话接通后,请确保将电话静音。

Jenny: Hi, this is Jenny Liu. I have a question regarding what do you use the information you collect on the I-924A for? And in the past the information collected from the I-924As were used for research and compiling statistics. Is this still the case?
大家好,我是Jenny Liu。我的问题是:收集关于I-924A的信息的用途是什么?之前收集I-924As信息是为了研究和编制统计资料。现在还是 同样的情况吗?

Robert: That is still the case. It is an annual reporting form for collecting data as well as evaluating continued eligibility for regional center designation.
现在还是同样的情况。这是为了收集数据和为区域中心评估持续资格的年度报告。

Jenny: I understand, thank you so much.
我理解,非常感谢。

Carlos: Thank you so much. Operator, the next question please.

非常感谢。接线员,请进入下一个话题。

Coordinator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Shirelle Fuller with [inaudible - 01:18:21]. Go ahead.

谢谢!下一个问题由Shirelle Fuller 提出,请!

Shirelle: Hi, my name is Shirelle Fuller in Washington, D.C. Thank you for hosting today’s call. I was wondering if one of the questions and answers could be repeated. I didn’t fully understand concerning an investor’s guaranteed rate of return or their guaranteed portion of return. You talked about the promise depending on the terms of agreement. So I was wondering if that question and answer could just be repeated for clarity.
你好,我是来自华盛顿的Shirella Fuller。非常感谢组织今天电话会议的各位。我想其中一个问题是否可以重新解释一下。对于投资者保证返还率这个问题,我没有理解透彻,您提到该承诺取决于协议条款。因此我想您能否重复回答一下这个问题,或加以澄清。

Robert: Absolutely. So again the question, as you know, was related to an option to redeem an investment at a fixed amount. So our response is the answer will depend on the specific facts involved and the terms of any agreement as noted in the policy memo. If the immigrant investor is guaranteed the return of a portion of their investment or is guaranteed a rate of return on a portion of their investment then the amount of the guaranteed return is not at risk. Thus, IPO will review the evidence to determine if there is a risk of loss and a chance for gain and to determine whether there is a promise to return or redeem some portion of the minimum required investment amount. Even if the agreement does not represent a promise or guarantee that erodes the contribution of capital below the minimum required amount, depending on the terms of the agreement there may be questions pertaining to whether the investor has the potential for gain.
当然可以。所以我再回答一下这个问题,该问题与固定金额投资赎回选择相关。因此我们的回答是要根据具体事实和政策备忘录指出的协议条款规定。如果投资者被保证总投资收益率或部分投资收益率,那么确保的收益金额并没有风险。因此,IPO将会审阅有关证据,以确定是否有损失风险或是否有机会收益,同时决定是否有承诺归还或赎回部分最低投资金额。即使该协议并不能代表承诺,或保证投资金额会被侵蚀,以至于低于最低投资额,这取决于协议条款中是否有 投资者是否有收益潜质相关的问题。

Shirelle: Got it, thank you.
明白了,谢谢。

Carlos: Thank you. Next question, operator?
谢谢。下一个问题!

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Marty Cummings with Florida EB-5 Investment. Go ahead.
下一个问题由佛罗里达EB-5投资的Marty Cummings提出,请!

Marty: Thank you. Regarding obsolete TEA letters, USCIS will accept TEA status as determined as of the date the 526 was filed based on the most current data available at that 526 filing date. So we have seen RFEs saying that the TEA letter must be updated as of the date that the RFE was issued, which in the past was issued 12 or 18 months after the 526 was filed. We get confirmation that the TEA status was set as of the date the 526 was filed.

谢谢。关于过时的目标就业区信函,移民局会根据526申请提交日最新数据,根据确定的526提交日期,接受目标就业区状态。我们也碰到过补件要求(RFE)指出目标就业区状态必须在RFE发布之日更新。我们想确认526提交日期目标就业区状态便已设定。

Robert: So two things to note and the first is that per precedent decision as well as the regulation, the determination is based on when the funds are committed to the new commercial enterprise or the filing of the 526 petition, whichever is sooner. If you have examples where you believe a request for evidence was submitted that was not consistent with precedent decision or regulation you can of course send that to the Immigrant Investor mailbox noting your concern. Of course, that doesn’t relieve the petitioner of the obligation to respond to the request for evidence by the time indicated, but certainly you can elevate such concerns through the immigrant investor mailbox.

那么有两件事情需要注意,第一件事是根据以往的判决和规定,判决的基础是资金投入到建设新商业企业的时间或526申请提交的日期,以较为靠前的时间为准。如果您遇到这样的情况,您认为被要求提交补充证据与以往判决和规定不符,您当然可以写邮件至投资移民邮箱,反应该情况,指出您的顾虑。当然,这并不能免除申请者在规定时间前对补件要求做出回应。但可以肯定的是,通过写信给投资移民邮箱可以打消这样的顾虑。

Marty: Well, we were okay because it was still a valid TEA status. But we are concerned that may not always be the case in the future so thank you very much for your answer.

恩,我们ok,因为我们的目标就业区状态依然有效,但是我们担心将来可能并不总是这样判定,非常感谢您的回答。

Carlos: Thank you. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

谢谢。接线员,请接下一个问题。

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Martin Lawler, with Lawler and Lawler. Go ahead, sir.

下一个问题由来自Lawler and Lawler的Martin Lawler提出,先生请!

Martin: Yes, hi, this is Martin Lawler in San Francisco. Thank you very much for your very valuable information that you have answered a number of our questions in writing that we have submitted. I was confused about one, though. You talk about the sale of a regional center and are two 924As required, one by the regional center seller and one by the new buyer? Or is one 924A with information about the sale sufficient?

大家好,我是来自旧金山的Martin Lawler。非常感谢您提供的宝贵信息,我们书面提交的问题,您都一一回答。但是我还有一件事不明白。您提到过区域中心转让,需要提交两份924A申请,一份由区域中心卖家提供,另一份是新买家提供吗?或者说是一份有关销售信息的924A申请是否足够?

Robert: It is my understanding that in that context, and as noted in the regulations, USCIS can request sort of at any time the submission of an I-924A outside of the typical annual filing timeline. In the instance where a sale of a regional center occurred and were properly notified within the appropriate time of that sale, it is my understanding that we would or could request the submission of one I-924A or would request submission of one I-924A to update the record regarding the details of the sale.

我的理解是在那种情况下,根据相关规定,美国移民局可以在每年标准提交时间之外,随时要求申请者提交I-924A申请。在有区域中心销售并在适当的时间内将销售进行适当通知的情况下,我的理解是我们可以要求提交I-924A,或要求提交与I-924A更新有关的销售详情记录。

Martin: All right, thank you very much.

好的,非常感谢。

Coordinator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Richard Strauss with Exemplar Law.

谢谢。下一个问题由来自Exemplar Law的Richard Strauss提出。

Richard: Thank you for holding this discussion. This is Richard Strauss from Boston. My question is specific to today’s meeting and it is of director Colucci. It is in regarding the filing tips. I just wanted to ask what was the last filing tip after you discussed the cover letters?

谢谢大家展开的讨论。我是来自波士顿的Richard Strauss。我的问题可以具体到今天的会议,是关于Colucci主席讲的问题。关于递案文件提示,我想问一下,除了说明信,你对递案提交还有什么建议吗?

Nick: The last two filing tips both had to do with cover letters, one discussed on the I-526, a request to indicate the receipt and identification number of the regional center under which the petition is based along with the name of the new commercial enterprise. And the final one was for an I-924, which is it would be helpful if you state the type of approval you are requesting – hypothetical, actual, or exemplar – again, to help ensure more timely processing.

关于说明信我还有两个最后的建议,一个在I-526提到过,要求提供区域中心收据和标识号,在该区域中心下,申请是基于新商业企业的名称。另一个是关于I-924,如果您能说出您要求的审批类型-假设、实际或样本,这将有助于确保您的申请得到及时的处理。

Richard: Thank you very much.

非常感谢。

Carlos: Thank you. Operator, the next question please.

谢谢。请接下一个问题。

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Kevin Wright with Wright and Johnson. Go ahead.

下一个问题有来自Wright and Johnson的Kevin Wright提出,请!

Kevin: Yes, my question relates to exemplar I-924 filings. In the case where you have a state such as New Mexico, for example, which refused to issue a TEA letter until the regional center is first approved, can you get an exemplar filing provided that you provide all the statistical data to prove that the TEA does exist?

我的问题涉及到I-924预提交。假设有一个州,比如说新墨西哥州,在区域中心第一次批准前拒绝签发目标就业区信函,假设提供所有的分析数据,就可以证明目标就业区确实存在,可以获得I924预审批通过吗?

Robert: Yeah, we believe that is possible, particularly since the actual TEA determination is made at the 526 stage. So in the exemplar context, obviously, the exemplar could be adjudicated and approved as an exemplar but obviously the 526 petitions filed consistent with that project and those exemplar documents would, in support of their petition, need to submit the TEA designation letter from the state if that is the evidence we are relying upon in order to establish that they are eligible for the reduced investment amount.

是的,我们认为这是可能的,特别是因为实际目标就业区裁定是在526阶段进行。所以在这种预申请的情况下,很显然,案例可以被判定或批准为样本,但是提交526申请必须符合该项目或那些预审批文件,以此来支持他们的申请,还需要提交目标就业区指定信函,为了证明他们符合减少投资金额的标准。
Kevin: Perfect, thank you.

太好了,谢谢。

Carlos: Thank you Rob. Thank you for your question. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

谢谢,Rob。感谢您的提问。接线员,请接下一个问题。

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Peter Joseph with Association to Invest in the US. Go ahead.

下一个问题由美国投资协会的Peter Joseph提出。

Peter: Hi there, Peter Joseph here, executive director of the Association to Invest in the USA, the national trade association for the regional centers around the country. And thank you for hosting this welcome teleconference today. I do have a specific question with regards to maintaining the investments for 829 purposes. What is required to maintain that investment for I-829 purposes, particularly if an opportunity to refinance or to liquidate came about for a successful project? And this is particularly pertinent give the erratic 526 processing times that we often see and that could really extend the lifeline of the entire duration of the project and the immigration process that goes with it. Hopefully that makes sense and thanks in advance for your answer.

大家好,我是Peter Joseph,美国投资协会的执行董事,该协会是一家为全国区域中心服务的全国性行业协会。谢谢您能组织召开此次电话会议。我有一个具体的问题,是关于维持829目的投资的问题。需要什么来维持I-829目的投资呢?特别是如果有机会二次融资或通过套现获取一个成功的项目。这对于不稳定的526处理时间来说特别合适,因为我们经常看到,飘忽不定的526申请时间真的会延长整个项目持续的时间和移民申请时间。移民程序需要的时间也就加长了。希望这个提问是有意义的,提前感谢您的回答。

Robert: Sure, thank you for the question. The issue of sustainment as it relates to the 829 stage is something that we’re currently reviewing. As you know and as other stakeholders have indicated obviously there are a number of questions that relate to the sustainment requirement and the interpretation of that part of the regulation. There are a variety of factors that may impact that interpretation, particularly as the program may reach a point that some dates are retrogressed in terms of availability. So the issue of sustainment is something that we’re aware of, reviewing, and hoping to issue additional clarification on in the future.

当然,谢谢您的提问。因为这个持续时间问题与829阶段相关,我们也正在审查这方面的问题。您知道,其他利益攸关人指出,很显然有很多与投资持续期相关的问题和关于这部分规定的解读。很多因素都可能影响该方面的解释,尤其是当EB5计划可能因配额而到达日期退后的某个节点。所以我们注意到了这个持续问题,并且正在审查,而且希望将来能进行更多的解释和澄清。

Carlos: Thank you Rob and thank you for your question. We are ready for the next question, operator.

谢谢,Rob,谢谢您的提问。下面进行下一个问题。

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from Kathy Owens with Virginia Atlantic Regional Center. Go ahead.

谢谢,下一个问题由来自佛吉尼亚大西洋区域中心的Kathy Owens提出,请!

Kathy: Yes, thanks so much. My question is in regards to the regional center operating in a contiguous area. Must the job creation entities be in the contiguous area or is acceptable for the geographic area generated from an economic impact report be continuous or even overlap?

是的,谢谢。我的问题是关于在区域中心在邻近区域运作。创造就业机会的实体必须在临近区域内吗?该邻近区域如果是就业报告涉及的邻近甚至者是重叠的区域就可以接受吗?

Robert: Yeah, so the job-creating enterprise must be principally doing business within the geographic area of the regional center, as noted in the policy memo. They may still receive credit for jobs created outside of that area, for example indirect and induced jobs that kind of spill outside of that area as long as they are supported and reflected in a statistically or economically valid economic model and projection. But yes, the job-creating entity must be principally doing business within the regional center.

是的,政策备忘录中指出,从原则上来讲,创造就业机会的实体必须在区域中心的地理区域范围内开展业务。而对于在该区域之外创造的就业机会,他们仍然可能会计算在内,比如,对于在该区域之外间接产生或导致的就业机会,只要这些就业机会能够在有效经济模型和统计中支持或反映出来,他们就可能算入就业。但是,是的,从原则上来讲,创造就业机会的实体必须在区域中心内开展业务。

Kathy: I’m sorry, and the answer prior to that was the new area – the question was earlier was the regional center operating outside of its area and according to the policy the new area must be contiguous since it will be an amendment. The question is can the job-creating entity – does it have to be in the contiguous area or can its economic geographic area generated from the economic impact be that contiguous area?

抱歉,在此之前,该问题的答案是新的区域-问题是早些时候区域中心在区域外经营,根据政策规定,新区域必须是邻近的,因为该方面会进行修正。现在的问题是:创造就业机会的实体必须在成片区域经营吗?还是说在就业经济模型中算出它们是经济上的临近?

Robert: Yeah, it may be a very fact-specific question and we would like to have an opportunity to kind of think that through a little bit better and make sure we understand the various facts or factors involving your specific question. If you would, we would like for you to send your question to the Immigrant Investor mailbox and we will review and again determine if additional clarification should be issued.

是的,这个问题需要根据具体情况来回答,我们希望以后有机会考虑将其改善的好一点,确保我们理解您具体问题中的不同情况或事实。如果您愿意,我们会将您的问题发送到投资移民邮箱,并且我们会再次考虑并决定是否应进行进一步澄清。

Kathy: Okay, thank you.

好的,谢谢。

Carlos: Thank you Rob. Operator, the next question please.

谢谢,Bob。下面进行下一个问题。

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from James Mays, with Davis-Wright-Tremaine. Go ahead.

谢谢,下一个问题由来自Davis-Wright-Tremaine的James Mays提出。

James: Yeah, thanks for a very informative session. I have a question about the regional center geographic expansion. And basically we have approved the regional center and are going to expand it to a new geographical area. But the new geographic area, already the project is ready – I have the 526 ready to file. The question is whether we should file an I-924 first or can we file an I-924 and I-526 together? Thank you in advance.

该环节提供了很多有用的信息,非常感谢。我的问题是关于区域中心地域扩展。基本上,我们计划将已经批准的区域中心扩展到新的地理区域。但是就在新的地理区域里新项目已经准备好了,我准备递交I-526申请。问题是我们是否应该先提交I-924?或者我们同时提交I-924和I-526?提前感谢您的回答。

Robert: Sure, just to note we are not in a position of course to give specific advice or case-specific advice. I would simply note as you evaluate what you believe to be best for your situation that from our perspective in terms of operational efficiencies, consistency, and predictability a 924 exemplar filed and approved in advance of 526 petitions, for example, allows for a level of processing efficiency and consistency that may not be available through other processes that are of course available based on whatever may or may not be appropriate for your clients or your situation. But again we cannot give specific advice on how you should file an application.

当然,你们需注意我们无法提供具体的意见或有针对性的建议。我想简单的指出,对于您认为最适合您的情况,从我们的角度来看,就要对运营效率、一致性和可预测性进行评估,尤其是516申请递案之前提交924样本的话。比如,考虑到处理效率和一致性维持在一定的水平,对于任何可能适合或不适合您的客户或你的情况的其他处理办法,可能不存在,也可能存在。但是同样,我们无法就怎样提交申请提供具体的意见。

Carlos: Thank you Robert and thank you for your question. Operator we are ready for the next question.

谢谢,Robert。谢谢您的提问,请进行下一个问题。

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from Yasmine Blackburn with Associates. Go ahead.

谢谢。下一个问题由来自Associates的Yasmine Backbum提出,请!

Yasmine: Hello, I [inaudible - 01:33:36] from earlier about obtaining specific TEA designations from the state. We’re in Connecticut and the governor has not designated an actual official to give out TEA designations. There is an individual within the Department of Labor who usually gives them but he is not the official designee. And although we have asked the governor as well as other departments within the Department of Economic Security to designate someone officially, they said that they are just not prepared to do that right now. So the letter that we have from this individual who normally does it, would that be sufficient to begin the process of obtaining the regional center? Or do we need to continue to press for a specific letter from an official designee?

大家好,我是Yasmine。我早期从州里获取过具体指定的目标就业区。我们在康涅狄格州,州政府并没有指派一个实际的官员做目标就业区指定。劳工部有一个人经常指定目标就业区,但是他不是官方指派。虽然我们要求州长和经济安全部相关部门正式指派一个人,但是他们认为他们现在还没有准备好。所以我们从经常指定目标就业区的那个人那里得到的信是否足以开始获取区域中心的进程?或者是我们需要继续努力争取从官方指派人那里获取具体信件吗?

Robert: Sure I would suggest directly to our regulation because it articulates the requirement in that regard. And the regulations do indicate that the designation must come from the governor or their designee.

当然,我会直接向我们的相关法规部门提出建议,因为它清晰阐明了这方面的要求。规定中确实指出必须由州长或其指派人指定目标就业区。

Yasmine: Right, we know that it’s just that they won’t designate someone specifically and understanding that the climate is changing we want to make sure that we do everything properly rather than receive an RFE or have the investors put money into something that is not going to be approved because we can’t get an official designation. The letter is by someone who has been doing it for three or four years, but the governor won’t officially say yes, this is the person. How do you get around that if the state won’t officially designate someone?

是的,我们知道他们不想指派专门负责人,并且能够理解环境在不断改变,我们想确保我们所做的一切正常,不希望收到补件要求,也不希望投资者将资金投入到不会获得批准的项目,仅仅因为我们不能得到官方指定的目标就业区。发函的这个人这样操作已经有三四年了,但是州长不会正式同意,这就是人。如果州里不正式指派一人,您会怎样解决?

Robert: Sure, and obviously again we cannot give specific advice on the types of evidence that someone should submit to comply with the regulatory requirements. I would simply note that the regulations do provide several options in terms of evidence that may be submitted to establish that an area qualifies as a TEA. So certainly take those into consideration as you evaluate the circumstances and what evidence is available to be submitted to establish eligibility on that issue.

很显然,对于应该提交符合监管要求的证据类型,我们无法给出给出具体的意见。我想简单的指出,对于可以作为证明某地区符合目标就业区要求的证据,规定中确实提供了几项选择。因此当您考虑这些情况的时候,应该考虑到什么证据可以提交作为该问题的资格证明。

Carlos: Thank you Rob, and thank you for your question. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

谢谢,Rob,谢谢您的提问。请进入下一个问题。

Coordinator: Thank you, or next question comes from Mona Shaw with Mona Shaw and Associates. Go ahead.

谢谢,下一个问题由来自Mona Shaw and Associates 的Mona Shaw提出。

Mona: Hello, thank you very much for taking my call. I noticed that you didn’t have any indication for direct projects, they are becoming more and more popular. Is that because you don’t want to discuss direct projects in this particular seminar or because we just didn’t think about it?

大家好,非常感谢接听我的电话。我注意到,对于直投项目您没有任何指示,直投项目现在越来越受欢迎。是因为在这样特殊的会议中您不想讨论直投项目吗?还是因为我们没有问到呢?

Robert: If you have a specific question that you would like us to addressed we are of course more than happy to try to address your question. In terms of questions that we did discuss as noted we obviously received a large number of submissions and tried to respond to those questions that appeared to have the broadest interests and applicability based on the questions that were received. But certainly if you have a specific question we are happy to consider that.

如果您有什么需要解决的具体问题,我们当然会非常乐意去帮您解决。对于我们确实讨论过的问题,因为我们注意到我们收到了很多问题递交,我们尝试着去回应那些都有着广泛的代表性并且具有操作性的问题。但是您如果有什么具体的问题,我们很高兴为您解决。

Mona: Thank you. I do have a couple of questions but I will try to keep it very brief. First of all, with the timing you had stated that a 526 petition is currently taking about 11 months. We understand that direct petitions are a little faster and if you could elaborate on that. The second point was relating to the structure – the corporate structure of direct petitions in a loan scenario. And if on these, most of the time when we are setting them up or are generally seeing them they are basically a wholly-owned subsidiary of the original enterprise. We would just like to know if you have any guidance on structures on a direct project and not a regional center project. Thank you.

谢谢。我确实有几个问题,我会简要的阐述一下。第一,您提到526申请现在大概需要11个月的时间。据我们了解,直接申请会快一些,您是否可以详细的解释一下?第二点是关于结构,即贷款方案中直接申请的企业结构。如果是这样,我们设置或大概看到的大多数时候看到它们基本上是原企业的全资子公司。如果您对直接项目的结构有任何指导意见,而不是区域中心项目,我们希望能够了解一下。

Robert: In terms of the second part of your question, I don’t believe we can speak to that at this time. it sounds like it kind of involves a specific scenario and certainly we don’t have all of the facts before us in which to determine the extent to which an answer is appropriate or not or what issues may be involved in that analysis based on those specific facts. So I can’t speak to that part of your question. In terms of processing times, we do make an effort to process 526 petitions in FIFO order. We are aware that some processing times have appeared to be inconsistent and we are taking steps to ensure that cases are processed in FIFO order balancing kind of issues related to operational efficiency and commonality among petitions that are filed for projects and around the same time. but again we make an effort to process cases in FIFO order and the processing times that we provided are average processing times for all 526 petitions. Understanding of course there are as many of you are aware petitions that have been pending longer than those average processing times and we’re making every effort within our power to adjudicate those with a sense of urgency, but again without sacrificing the quality of the adjudicative review process.

对您问题的第二部分,我认为目前我们并不能去评说。这听起来好像涉及到一个具体的方案,当然,在我们判定答案是否合适或考虑对于具体情况的分析会涉及到什么样的问题之前,我们并不能知晓所有的情况。所以我对你的部分问题无法回答。关于处理时间,我们在努力以先进先出的顺序来处理526申请。我们知道,一些处理时间看起来显得不一致,我们正在采取措施确保以先进先出顺序处理所有申请,在所有提交的项目申请中同时平衡有关运营效率和通用性问题。但我们努力以先进先出顺序处理所有情况,我们提供的处理时间是所有526申请的平均处理时间。据了解,确实有许多申请待定的时间比平均处理时间还要长,我们会在我们的权利范围内尽快努力解决那些紧急的情况,但是前提是不能牺牲审案者审查过程的质量。

Mona: We understand. Thank you very much.

我们能够理解,非常感谢!

Carlos: Thank you for your question. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

感谢您的提问,请进入下一个问题。

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Renna Jaserili from Paxton. Go ahead.

下一个问题由来自Paxton的Renna Jaserili提出,请!

Renna: Hi yes, this is Renna Jaserili in Washington, D.C., with Delworth Paxton. I am actually asking a question of essentially elaborating on one that was previously asked or maybe clarified. And it relates to the issue of a regional center’s investment outside of its designated geographic area. And I think the question is what would you consider to be contiguous? Well we obviously understand New York and California would not be contiguous, but does that mean it has to be literally the immediate county outside of where the geography has been approved, or is it a metropolitan issue meaning the next metro – for example, Philadelphia and New York City? Is there way you can give a little bit more guidance on that given that many people would like to actually begin the projects and submit the 526s but need some clarity to know whether or not that would be an approved project for their regional center.

大家好,我是来自华盛顿的Renna Jaserili,在Delworth Paxton工作。我的问题实际上之前已经有人提问,并做了详细解释。我的问题是关于在指定地理区域外的区域中心投资问题。您如何认定区域是成片的?我们很清楚的明白纽约州和加利福尼亚州不会是成片区域,但这是否意味着区域中心必须是已获批准的地理区域之外的相邻县城? 或是意味着未来地铁的大都市问题?比如费城和纽约。鉴于很多人想尽快开始项目,提交526,但是他们需要清楚地知道在他们区域中心,项目是否会获得批准,您能否在这方面给点意见和建议呢?

Robert: Sure, and the determination of course would be based on the specific facts involved in that request and the evidence that is submitted to support that request. If the geographic area that was requested in your example of New York and Pennsylvania constituted one contiguous area, we would evaluate the evidence consistent with the standard as stated in the policy memo to determine what is the economic impact of the project in that area and is there the type of economic activity that spills out, for example, in that area to support the request for that designated geographic area expansion? And again, that is going to be what ultimately we would look at to ensure that it is a contiguous area and that economic activity that is being proposed supports that request.

当然,决定需要以涉及到这一问题的具体情况和提交的支持证据为基础。以您提到的纽约和宾夕法尼亚为例,如果要认定该地理区域是成片区域,我们将根据政策备忘录评估证据是否与标准相符,和根据该项目在这一区域的经济影响和该地区经济活动的类型来确定是否有经济溢出效应,比如,该地区哪些经济活动能够支持指定地理区域扩展的要求?最后,上述就是我们如何判定成片区域,并看其提议的经济活动能否支持该请求。

Renna: Okay thank you very much.

好的,非常感谢。

Robert: Thank you.

谢谢。

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Ollie with the law office of Ollie Ramen. Go ahead.

下一个问题由Ollie Ramen律师事务所的Ollie提出,请!

Ollie: Hello, yes good morning. Thank you very much for this program, it has been very informative. My question or I should say it is just a comment regarding the credibility of the EB-5 program – I represent numerous clients from the Middle East and I have numerous I-526 applications that are pending, I have numerous cases that are pending for more two years and literally these were filed in January of 2012. I have not received anything from USCIS on these cases. I have filed and emailed and emailed and emailed through the website, and just for your information the email responses I am getting are not even proper. I mean, I literally write down the case number and the file number I write down the case was filed, for example, January such 2012. The email response says, ‘We are working on cases filed on or after April 2012.’ And that’s it. And this has become very, very frustrating because the program itself as I can share my experience with you is losing a lot of credibility for many Middle Eastern investors because the word has kind of spread that these processing times are just taking way too long. These families have to schedule their lives around this process. And when we tell them it is going to take a year or 18 months and all of a sudden it is two and a half years or three years until they are done and it makes it very, very difficult. I was wondering if you can share with me anything else I should be doing to try to get some sort of response or resolution on these cases that are pending for such a long time, literally two years.

大家早上好。非常感谢组织这项活动,给我们提供了非常丰富的信息。我的问题是或者说我想要表达的是关于EB5项目公信力的评价-我代表了来自中东的众多客户,我有很多I-526申请一直待定,并且有很多案例待定时间超过两年,基本上这些申请都提交于2012年1月。我从来没有收到过移民局关于这些案例的进展情况。提交之后,我就一直写邮件,一直写邮件,但是收到的邮件答复甚至是不正确的。我的意思是,我提交申请的时候记录了案例编号和档案编号,比如说2012年1月。但回复邮件却说“我们正在处理2012年4月提交的案例,就是这种情况。这令人非常沮丧,因为我可以分享我的经验,但项目本身失去了许多中东投资者的信任,因为会有传言说申请的处理时间超级长。这些家庭不得不围绕该进程规划其生活。当我们告诉他们处理时间为1年或18个月而结果是突然变成两年半或三年的时候,我们的工作就很难进行了。这些案例已经待定了很长时间,已经超过两年,我想您是否能够分享一下我该怎样做才能收到这些案例的反馈情况呢?

Robert: Certainly, and we appreciate your comments and your concerns. Obviously I can’t speak to specific cases but I would like to note a couple of things generally, however. And that is that as Nick mentioned in his comments we are aware of the concerns and frustration that has been expressed about the responses that are provided to case status inquiries. We are looking into those communications to determine what is an appropriate level of detail that we should or may be providing in response to case status inquiries. So that is something that we are exploring and may clarify or provide additional detail on in the future. In terms of processing times and your comments related to the program and how it is perceived, again as our opening remarks I think indicated and made clear, as administrators of this program we are well aware of where we stand in terms of processing times and the impact that long processing times can have on some of these projects. And certainly we’re doing everything within our control and ability to identify ways to improve processing times, improve efficiencies within the program, but again without sacrificing the quality of our review or the integrity of the program. We continue to take steps to staff the program and build it to a level where we can not only keep up with processing cases that are being filed but also really starting to reduce the backlog and thus overall processing times. We are exceptionally happy with the staff that we have put into place. They are an extremely talented group of economists, officers, and supervisors. We are looking to continue to build that. Again, we are in the process of bringing more people on board and we are confident that we are going to be able to build this program and reduce processing times and hit some of the processing target goals that we have identified as a program. As you can imagine, that is not something that can occur overnight but we are committed to making that happen. So we appreciate your comments and your concerns.

当然,我们非常感谢您的意见和投诉。通常我不能评说具体的案例,但是我想从整体上指出几件需要注意的事情。那就是Nick在他的评论中提到的问题,我们知道您对状态查询回复的担忧和无奈。我们正在研究申请者与移民局的交流方式,以决定向申请者提供适当的状态查询详情。所以这是我们正在探索的方面,可能在将来澄清或提供更多细节。关于处理时间和您对该项目的意见,我们在开场白中已经指出并做了清楚的解释,作为该项目的行政人员,对于处理时间和较长的处理时间对一些项目的影响,我们清楚的知道我们所处的位置。我们现在尽全力在我们的控制力和能力范围内制定相关方案,以加快处理时间,提高项目工作效率,但是前提是不要牺牲我们的审查质量和项目的完整性。我们将继续采取措施,为该项目配备职员,使其达到一个新的水平,不仅可以跟踪提交案例的处理情况, 还可以真正开始减少积压案件,从而缩短整体处理时间。我们对已经落实到位的工作人员非常满意。他们当中有经济学家、高级管理人员和总监,是一个非常有才华的团队。我们期待继续构建合理的结构。我们正在为该项目配备更多的人员,我们相信我们有能力构建此项目,缩短处理时间,完成我们确认的项目处理目标。您可以想象,这个问题很难在 短时间内解决,但我们现在致力于将该问题在短时间内解决。非常感谢您的建议和意见。

Ollie: Just to followup, we have even had a very few cases that we did receive RFEs, on a few minor points and which we responded to immediately. And now we are waiting over nine months – I mean, even for processing of RFE cases I think you agree with me that nine months is just unreasonable. You would assume that the examiners have covered all the major points and when they send an RFE with only one or two issues and those issues have been addressed by us it shouldn’t take then nine months to get back to us. It is just very frustrating.

还有一件事,我们有几个案例确实收到了补件要求,有几个小问题需要补充,而且我们也及时的进行了回复。之后我们又等了9个多月—我的意思是,及时处理补件要求案例,您也不得不承认9个月时间太不合理。您会认为审查人已经审阅了所有要点,所以他们发给我们的补件要求中仅有一两个问题,我们对这些问题很快作了解释,但即使处理这样的补件案例也需要9个月,实在是太不应该。我们真的很无奈。

Robert: We understand your concern and again we just can’t comment on specific scenarios.

我们理解您的担忧,但我们不能对特定案例发表评论。

Carlos: Thank you Rob and thank you for your question. And operator we are running a little bit over our time so we will take the next question and then close the conference.

谢谢, Rob。感谢您的提问。我们提问环节已经超过了我们预定的时间,我们回答完下一个问题就结束会议。

Coordinator: Okay, our last question will be from Rebecca Losato with Bank United. Go ahead.

好的,最后一个问题由Bank United的Rebecca Losato提出,请!

Rebecca: Good afternoon. This is regarding bridge financing. I was wondering if a bank can use EB-5 funds as collateral.

大家下午好。我的问题与过渡融资有关。我想知道银行是否可以将EB5资金作为抵押。

Carlos: Just one second, we are consulting on your question. Please hold.

稍等一会儿,我们正在就您的问题进行咨询。请不要挂机。

Rebecca: Thank you.

谢谢。

Robert: Thank you for your question. It appears that the question is kind of outside the scope of the call and not necessarily something that we can speak to or provide advice on. But certainly if you want to followup by submitting your questions to the Immigrant Investor mailbox we can maybe provide additional clarification and we can take that into consideration and see if that is a question that we can provide an answer to.

谢谢您的提问。这个问题看起来有点超出了本次电话会议的范围,不是我们必须解答或提供建议的问题。但是如果您愿意将此问题提交到投资移民邮箱,我们或许可以提供更多的信息,认真考虑后看看我们是否能够提供一个合适的答案。

Rebecca: All right. I have already submitted the question there as well. Thank you.

好的。我已经将问题发到那个邮箱了。谢谢。

Carlos: Thank you Rob. This concludes the engagement for today. We would like to thank our operator Mia and thank everyone for participating in the call today, especially to my colleagues Dan, Nick, and Rob for their guidance today. If you have a question that we did not have time to address today please email it either to the Investor program office or you are also welcome to email it to our public engagement mailbox at public.engagement@USCIS.DHS.gov. and be sure to reference that you were on today’s phone conference. Again, thank you for joining us and have a great day.

Kevin Wright 2014 Shanghai Summit Speaking Schedule

March 15th, 2014

Transcription February 26th of the Stakeholders Call

March 3rd, 2014

There are certain sections where the call was inaudible to the transcriber that are noted with the transcription and it is to be noted that an outside transcription service was used and Wright Johnson makes no claim as to the accuracy of the transcription. Here you go….

The conference call is now being recorded.

Coordinator: This is the coordinator. Please continue to hold. We will begin in approximately five minutes. Please continue to hold for the conference. Thank you for holding. If you will continue to hold the conference will begin in just a couple of minutes. Again, please continue to hold for the conference. This is the coordinator, please continue to hold we will begin in just a few more minutes. Please continue to hold. Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. During the question and answer session please press star and 1 on your touch tone phone. I will turn today’s meeting over to Mr. Carlos Munoz. You may go ahead, sir.

Carlos Munoz: Thank you so much Mia and hello everyone. Thank you for joining today’s teleconference on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program. Again, my name is Carlos Munoz from the USCIS Public Engagement division. And joining me today are colleagues from the USCIS Immigrant Investor program office, our field operations director, and other offices in USCIS. I would like to recognize our main speakers for today’s engagement. We have Dan Renaud, the Deputy Associate Director of the USCIS Field Operations Directorate, Nicholas Colucci, the Chief of the Immigrant Investor Program Office, and Robert Cox, the Deputy Chief of the Program Office.

Before we get started we have a few quick admin reminders. We will start today’s engagement with opening remarks followed by a presentation with updates on the EB-5 Program Office. We will then have a questions and answers session. As the operator indicated, all lines are currently in listen-only mode. We will allow ample time for questions and answers at the end of the presentations. Now, we received a large number of questions in advance of today’s engagement. Our speakers make every effort to incorporate responses to the most common questions in their presentation and we will also address a few additional questions at the end of their remarks. We would like to remind all participants that we cannot address case or fact-specific questions on our engagement. If you are a staff of the member of Congress you are welcome to listen to today’s call but we kindly ask that you please contact the USCIS Office of the State of Affairs for any briefing requests and/or case-specific matters. Also, we will remind everyone that the information provided by USCIS during this phone call is not intended for media attribution. If there are members of the media joining us today you are welcome to listen, but we ask that you please call the USCIS press office at (202) 272-1200. Again, (202) 272-1200 if you need additional information or for on-the-record comments. And now I will turn the call over to my colleague, Dan Renaud, from our Field Operations Directorate. We will begin today’s presentation.

Dan Renaud: Thank you, Carlos. Good afternoon, my name is Daniel Renaud and I am the Deputy Associate Director for Field Operations with USCIS. Until recently I was the acting chief of the investor program office. Today I am pleased to welcome you to the first in a new series of quarterly engagements with EB-5 stakeholders. Our goal today is to provide updates on the transition of the investor program from California to headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss the May 30, 2013, calls of memorandum, and to invite comment and discussion related to program rules. The agency’s goal is to administer an accessible and secure immigrant investor program that stimulates the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The USCIS has taken steps over the past few years to enhance the EB-5 program to increase transparency and efficiency while ensuring security and integrity. The USCIS has realigned the EB-5 program at the headquarters program office with an SES level leader dedicated exclusively to the EB-5 workload. We have infused experienced professionals in the areas of corporate law, immigration law, business, and economics into the process to more effectively manage the complex caseload. We have published a comprehensive policy memorandum to improve consistency and clarity and we have improved vetting and collaboration with federal partners.

Progress has been made but there is much yet to accomplish. Processing times need to be reduced to make the program more effective and accessible for bonafide projects. Filing options need to be improved to reduce the amount of paper required to support each petition. Regulations need to be updated to align with statutes and clarified to improve initial filings. Customer service needs to be improved to ensure visibility into the process and the confidence in our processing times and our decisions. And lastly, stakeholder input needs to be solicited more frequently to ensure the program continues to meet the objectives of the statute. To that end, this event kicks off a series of quarterly engagements on EB-5 issues related to policy, procedure, and guidance.

As I said, progress has been made but there is a substantial amount yet to be accomplished. I am pleased today to introduce the new chief of the USCIS immigrant investor program, Nick Colucci. Nick comes to USCIS from the Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes enforcement network. Nick has extensive experience as a manager and leader with both treasury as well as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives where his work implementing pawnbroker initiative in particular demonstrated his ability to work collaboratively and build coalitions with stakeholder groups and law enforcement agencies. And since then his work has established a new organization to provide bank security acts in-house was highlighted as emblematic of his ability to build coalitions, manage under stress, and manage people through changing priorities and realignment of positions. Nick brings the skills, experience, and the drive to lead the investor program at USCIS. So I would like to turn it over to Nick for his comments.

Nick Colucci: Thanks Dan, and good afternoon everyone. As Dan mentioned I came to USCIS from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, an agency within the Department of Treasury. At FinCEN, where I served for five years, I led a division of analysts and federal agents who worked closely with our counterparts in law enforcement and the intelligence community to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and fraud. During this time I learned a tremendous amount about the interagency community and I expect it will assist me greatly in my duties as the chief of the immigrant investor program office. Coming to the office I have concentrated my time on taking a fresh look at the program and would like to share several updates.

First, as of February 14, 2014, all form I-924 applications filed by potential regional centers and all I-526 petitions filed by potential immigrant investors will be adjudicated by the immigrant investor program office in Washington, D.C. With the remainder of the fiscal year, all petitions by entrepreneurs to remove conditions form I-829 and EB-5-related adjustment applications – form I-485 – will continue to be adjudicated by a team in a California service center who will report to me. As of today we have 53 staff in the Immigrant Investor Program Office, also known as IPO, including 20 economists and 25 adjudicators. We have been fortunate to hire very talented, experienced, and diverse staff – about 80% of whom have advanced degrees including 7 PhDs and approximately 20 individuals with law degrees. In addition to our media staff we have a team of colleagues from the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate in office of chief counsel who are dedicated full time to the EB-5 program. This arrangement fosters enhanced communication and collaboration within the program and ultimately increased efficiency.

Now I would like to discuss processing times. As of January 31, 2014, our average processing times were form I-526, 11 months, form I-924, 12 months, and form I-829, 11 months. Our website will be updated to reflect these times and our plan is to update the website on a monthly basis to reflect accurate processing times. We will strive to post them prior to the end of the following months. February will be posted not later than March 31st. On a related note, we do expect processing times to increase in the near future in light of the loss of the approximately 35 California service center personnel who adjudicated 526s and 924s; however, we do think this will be a temporary problem until we are able to hire and train another round of adjudicators which we are in the process of doing now. Our goal is to achieve better processing times on 526s and 829s towards the end of this fiscal year and even sooner on 924s.

Next, I would like to provide program-related statistics from the last fiscal year, which has background encompassed October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013. We do plan to post these statistics on our website in the near future. I will begin with I-924s. So as of the beginning of last fiscal year, which again is October 1, 2012, we had 504 applications pending. At the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2013, we had 300 pending. We received 207 through the fiscal year, approved 218, denied 32, and sent requests for evidence on 236. With respect to I-526s, at the beginning of the fiscal year we had 5,018 pending. At the end of the fiscal year we had 7,131. We received throughout the year 6,346, we approved 3,699, denied 943, and sent RFEs on 3,733 cases. For the form I-829, pending at the beginning of the fiscal year was 1,013 and at the end 1,345. We received 1,217 throughout the year, approved 844, denied 44, and RFEs were sent for 418. These will be posted to our website.

As you may know, you can now submit an I-526 petition in USCIS ELIS. We believe the use of USCIS ELIS will not only reduce paperwork but ultimately increase efficiency within the program. We have already received some standalone 526 petitions in USCIS ELIS and we have been in the process of reviewing these filings and issuing RFEs as necessary. We hope to start adjudicating some now so we can test the system and increase confidences in the system across the stakeholder community. In addition, as some of you may know, we recently released in ELIS a document library that allows regional centers to provide existing investors in new commercial enterprises with electronic copies of documents pertaining their investment including organizational, transactional, and offering documents which can be used by I-526 petitioners to electronically submit their petitions. In the coming weeks the office of transformation coordination will host a webinar to describe the document library’s features. We hope to send additional information to this group soon.

Now I would like to share with you some filing tips when submitting your application or petition. These tips will also help us increase the efficiency of our adjudications. First, there is no need to send in a duplicate copy of the supporting evidence. One is enough and in fact an extra copy not only serves to increase shipping costs and waste paper, but because we must keep the file together at all times it becomes a burden when storing and reviewing the file. Second, we are seeing many translation documents do not comply with the regulations. In short, summary translations are not sufficient. To ensure that the case is processed timely when submitting any foreign language documents, please ensure that certification that complies with the regulations. Third, we are also seeing outdated TEA letters that require us to issue a request for evidence. Next, I would like to remind our I-526 petitioners to clearly indicate in a cover letter or a cover sheet a name, receipt, and ID number of the regional center under which a petition is based along with the name of the new commercial enterprise. And finally, for an I-924 application it would be very helpful if you would state the type of approval you are requesting – hypothetical, actual, or exemplar – in your cover letter to ensure more timely processing. We plan to publish these and additional filing tips on our website in the near future.

Next, as many of you know we are beginning to work on revised EB-5 regulations. This is something we have identified as an important step for the future of the program for some time and it is a priority as a result of the recommendations from the office of inspector general’s audit report, which was released in December. As you may have seen in the office of the inspector general report mostly limited its recommendations to drafting a regulation that would address fraud and national security issues to enhance the integrity of the program. While we agree there is a need to address these issues to the extent permissible under statute to help ensure the program is not used or abused for the wrong purposes, we plan to take a more comprehensive approach and will use the regulatory revision process to strengthen and make more efficient the overall program. Since we are in the very early stages of formulating closed regulatory changes, which of course will be posted for public notice and comment at an appropriate time, we are not in a position to discuss specific changes being considered by USCIS. We would like, however, to use this engagement as an opportunity to obtain valuable feedback from stakeholders on the EB-5 regulations and any proposed changes that you would like USCIS to take into consideration. This is a priority for us given the importance of regulatory changes to the future success of the program, so we welcome your feedback during this call. Specifically we are looking to hear from you not only ideas for USCIS to combat fraud and abuse, but we are also looking to improve upon the regulations and the subject of eligibility and procedural filing requirements contained therein. Our goal is to ensure that the administration of the program and adjudication of EB-5 cases can be more efficient and timely, consistent, and predictable without sacrificing the integrity of the program with the quality of our review. We plan to continue this listing session in a new tool we are using in USCIS called the USCIS Idea Community.

The USCIS Idea Community is a crowd sourcing tool that allows stakeholders to post ideas on a particular topic and others can participate in the discussion by voting on the ideas and comments. This will help us identify issues that are most relevant to all of you, our stakeholder community, and help us a great deal as we shape the regulation. Please look for that email in the near term as well as an announcement about a future stakeholder engagement that will be specific to the regulation.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the folks at the California Service Center, led by Rose Kendrick, the associate center director responsible for the EB-5 program at the California Service Center, for all their hard work and dedication to the program. In addition to continuing to work EB-5 cases all the way up until the transition of the 924s and 526s to D.C. a couple of weeks ago, Rose and her team have been instrumental in helping to ensure the transition of the EB-5 program to D.C. is successful. As we continue to transition the program please note that in the near future I-526 petitions upon intake may be data entered into a different system at USCIS and after that change is made will receive notices that will no longer reflect California Service Center as the center where the case is located. In other words, received notices would not reflect a WAC case number. We want to bring this to your attention so you are not surprised by internal changes that are reflected on I-526 receipt notices.

I would like to close my comments by sharing with you some thoughts about where I hope to concentrate my efforts as we move the program forward. In short, I plan to focus in three areas: One, continuing to build the program’s foundation; two, increase performance and predictability, and three is enhanced customer service and transparency. I will start with building the foundation and what that really means to me is developing the office the right way from the beginning so we are set up for success. My efforts in this area are related to two categories – personnel and programmatic. As a very new office we have significant challenges ahead. In essence what we are trying to do is reduce the backlog while at the same time expanding the office. Therefore, consistency in everything we do becomes particularly important. With respect to personnel, as I mentioned already we have 53 people on board; however, as we build a foundation we need to continue to hire. In the near term we are expecting a new group of recent hires to increase our number to around 75. Our goal is to be at or near 100 staff by the end of the fiscal year and most of those hired will be adjudicators; however, hiring is only the first step. We are also introducing an aggressive onboarding program so that we can get experienced adjudicators up to speed within five weeks of entering on duty. We are also concentrating on creating other training classes that will serve to foster consistency and adjudications and improve our subject matter knowledge.

With respect to the programmatic work we are working with our office of policy and strategy to put together a comprehensive policy manual. We are also developing a quality assessment and quality control strategy. We have also set up an internal community of interests page specific to the immigrant investor program office where we can share important information and program updates. And finally we continue to seek venues such as biweekly office meetings and roundtables so that our adjudicators and economists can discuss their cases and bounce ideas off of one another. Again, all these things, as well as others, are going to help us ensure the consistency of our decisions.

The second area I plan to focus on is performance and predictability. I discussed earlier where we are with respect to processing times and also noted you will likely see increased processing times in the near future; however, I plan to concentrate a significant amount of my time on driving performance through seeking efficiencies, establishing goals, and rewarding success. I hope that we can share updates on this effort at our next stakeholder meeting. I understand that as important as increased processing times are to all of you that predictability is equally important because of the size and urgency of many of the projects that are being submitted. We would like to be more transparent in our performance and I pledge to seek data that we can share with you in the future to assist you in making critical decisions with more confidence. Finally, I plan to take a look at our customer service strategy in an effort to increase the transparency with which the program operates. At a high level, I would like us to be more accessible, respond more timely, and provide more information rather than less. I believe we can update our website more frequently and include more useful and timely information. I look forward to discussing each area in more detail and with more concrete deliverables at an in-person stakeholder meeting in late spring or early summer.

In closing, I am very honored to have been selected to run this program and work with such a talented staff. I came to the program at an exciting time. Thanks to Dan Renaud, Robert Cox, Rose Kendrick, and many others the program was already heading in the right direction when I arrived. I look forward to working with all of you to determine how we can strengthen the program even more as we move forward. Now I would like to introduce Robert Cox, the acting deputy chief, who will provide a short lead into the policy memo discussion and then move to questions and answers.

Robert Cox: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining today’s call and your interest in the EB-5 program. Over the past 14 months USCIS provided additional guidance to our office to enhance the foundational understanding of various EB-5 eligibility criteria and the agency’s official policy interpretation of those criteria. We believe this additional guidance, including the operational memorandum issued on ten occupancies in December 2012 and the EB-5 policy memorandum issued in May 2013 have helped to clarify various eligibility requirements and how the those requirements are to be applied during the course of an EB-5 adjudication. EB-5 is of course a complex program and subject matter and we understand that there are additional issues that require future clarification, whether it is a regulatory change or additional policy guidance; however, we believe the guidance issued in the last 14 months has improved the foundation for administering the EB-5 program in a fair, efficient, and predictable manner. It should also be noted that the guidance, in particular the EB-5 policy memorandum, was posted for stakeholder comment a couple of times and the feedback provided by stakeholders was very useful as USCIS evaluated and developed the EB-5 policy guidance.

As mentioned, USCIS is now in the process of developing the EB-5 policy manual which is designed to consolidate existing EB-5 policy memoranda and the AFM into one comprehensive EB-5 policy guidance document. As Nick mentioned, in addition to developing the policy manual we are eager to launch into revising the regulation since we firmly believe that it is essential to effectively administering the EB-5 program long term. Ultimately we understand that our policy, in order to be effective in terms of administering the program in a fair and efficient manner, must be applied in a timely adjudication of each application and petition. As Nick mentioned, we are continuing to build our staffing model to ensure that we maintain a high level of quality during the adjudicative review process and are able to work through the existing backlog, reduce processing times, and provide a consistent adjudication process timeline upon which qualifying job-creating projects can be structured and resolved in the positive economic impact and job creation intended by the program.

A number of questions were submitted by stakeholders in advance of this engagement. And while we are unable to address each one specifically due to the sheer number of submissions we will summarize some of those questions that we believe have brought us applicability and provide responses before we open the lines for additional comments or questions. It should also be noted that a number of questions pertain to information which have been provided in our opening remarks.

To begin, one of the first questions we will address relates to the types of regional center application. The May 30, 2013, policy memorandum discussed the different types of projects that can be submitted to support an I-924 including hypothetical projects held with an exemplar I-526 form, which can receive deference. The question is if a regional center has an actual project but not enough information to file an exemplar I-526, will USCIS’s approval be the same as it is for a hypothetical project – that is, the regional center’s geographic area and industries need to be approved, but there will be no difference to the project. No, we consider an approval of an I-924 application based on a hypothetical project to be different than an I-924 application based on an actual project would not be the same as an approval based on a hypothetical project. Deference will be provided to determination based on actual projects and our approval notices now expressly describe the extent to which deference will apply. USCIS approved an I-924 application based on an actual project that does not include an I-526 exemplar and a copy of the business has been submitted in support of the I-924 application based on an actual project is deemed compliant with matter of Ho, we will defer to that determination in future petitions involving the same comprehensive business plan absent fraud, willful misrepresentation or an objective mistake of law or fact, the same level of deference also applies to the associated economic analyses submitted in support of an approved I-924 application based on an actual project.

The next question – does a regional center application seeking approval based on hypothetical projects require verifiable details or similar standards for market feasibility analysis or validation of costs and timeline for construction to support assumptions made in the economic analysis or is it enough to present a basically credible, hypothetical business plan? Our response is a reasonably credible sample or hypothetical business plan that provides a general market feasibility analysis, cost estimates, and timeline for construction may provide a basis for establishing eligibility for initial regional center designation. Regional center applications based on hypothetical projects still require an economic analysis with verifiable detail pertaining to how the jobs are going to be created; however, the level of detail and degree to which it needs to be verifiable is not as stringent as it is for I-924 applications based on actual project proposals and a matter of ho compliance comprehensive business plan. Understanding that these are sample projects that are presented only to demonstrate the types of projects that the regional center may pursue to create jobs, the range of assumptions that are acceptable as input into the economic modeling supporting I-924 applications based on sample projects which will not receive deference in later I-526 adjudications are different that those assumptions and inputs that are used to support I-924 applications based on actual projects that may received deference in later I-526 adjudications based on those projects. Existing regulations, however, as noted still require an economic analysis for all regional center applications and those analyses need to provide enough detail for USCIS to verify generally how the jobs will be created.

Next question – what is an objective mistake of fact or law that eliminates deference? Our response – we consider an objective mistake of law or fact to involve a determination where the officer misapplies the applicable eligibility criteria or failed to take into consideration a fact that would have been determinative in the eligibility decision. For example, an objective mistake of law or fact would be present if an officer approved a petition for the reduced investment amount upon a determination that the unemployment level in the targeted area was 125% of the national average rather than the required 150%. Subjective determinations, however, where an officer uses his or her adjudicative judgment to assess the facts and make a determination while applying the correct eligibility criteria would not be considered an objective mistake of law or fact. For example, an officer’s decision that the business plan is comprehensive and credible under matter of ho would likely be a subjective determination and unless such decision is based upon an objective mistake of fact or law would likely be provided deference.

Next question – this question relates to census track, aggregation, will USCIS accept a TEA, Targeted Employment Area, constructed from an aggregation of census tracks using the prescribed Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology from the individual investor or [inaudible – 00:41:32] designation? Our response – when the investor claims that his or her investment is in a new commercial enterprise located in a geographic or political subdivision of a metropolitan statistical area or of the city or town with a population of 20,000 or more usually by aggregating census tracks, the investor must present a letter from the state government certifying that the geographic or political subdivision is a high unemployment area. As stated in the May 30, 2013, policy memo USCIS defers to state determinations of the appropriate boundaries of a geographic or political subdivision that constitutes the TEA. According to 8CFR204.6J6 to show this new commercial enterprise has created or will create employment in a targeted employment area the petition must be accompanied by in the case of a high unemployment area, evidence that the metropolitan statistical area with specific county within the metropolitan statistical area or the county in which a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more is located in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business has experienced an average unemployment rate of 150% of the national average rate, or a letter from an authorized body of the government of the state in which the new commercial enterprise is located which certifies that the geographic or political subdivision of the metropolitan statistical area or of the city or town with a population of 20,000 or more in which the enterprise is principally doing business has been designated as a high unemployment area. The letter must meet the requirements of a CFR204.6I. As such a TEA constructed from an aggregation of census tracks to claim that a particular geographic or political subdivision is a high unemployment area would not meet the regulatory requirements absent a state approval letter. This type of TEA designation must be in the form of a letter from an authorized state official.

Next question – what is the standard for determining the geographic range of a regional center? Is the standard more flexible in the expansion context than in the initial filing? The standard for determining the geographic range of a regional center is the same regardless of when or how that regional center geographic request is submitted. USCIS will review the proposed geographic boundaries of a new regional center and will deem them acceptable if the applicant can establish by preponderance of the evidence that the proposed economic activity will promote economic growth in the proposed area. The question is a fact-specific one and the law does not require any particular form of evidentiary showing such as a county by county analysis. In USCIS’s experience, the reasonableness of a proposed regional center geographic boundary may be demonstrated through evidence that the proposed area is contributing significantly to the supply chain as well as the labor pool of the proposed projects. We do understand the value of predictability in the context of associated I-526 petitions. An I-924 amendment with an exemplar presenting the project to USCIS for approval and subsequent deference prior to the filing of associated I-526 petitions allows for a level of predictability for regional centers and investors. We also understand that in order to maximize the value for applicants to file an I-924 amendment with an exemplar prior to the filing of I-526s under that project we need to ensure that our processing times substantially improve. We believe we are making substantial progress towards improving I-924 processing times and believe that IPO continues to increase staff and a similar reduction in I-526 processing times will follow. Again, predictability, consistency, and efficiency in processing in addition to quality and integrity are all important goals for IPO as we administer the EB-5 program.

The next question is the May 30 memo states that a regional center may operate out of its area of operations and any ICS is job creation requirements are met. Does this mean a California regional center may submit a project in New York or must a new area of operations be contiguous to the approved region of operation? Our response – with respect to the question of whether a regional center’s geographic area must be contiguous, the new area of operations must be contiguous to the approved regional center geographic area since it would involve an expansion of the geographic area. Consistent with the form I-924 instructions, USCIS requires that a regional center focus on a contiguous geographic area. A regional center designated to operate in California would not be approved to operate a project in New York and their geographic area would not be expanded to include New York.

Next question – this question relates to the EB-5 program and public works project. The question notes that information supplied on the USCIS website seems to indicate that a commercial enterprise connected with an EB-5 investor must a “for-profit activity” and does this preclude a public works project? Our response – according to 8CFR204.6E the new commercial enterprise is required to be a for-profit entity. In cases where an investor may claim indirect job creation through an investment into a new commercial enterprise associated with a regional center, the actual job-creating entity may be separate from the new commercial enterprise. While the new commercial enterprise may pool investor funds to belong to a separate not-for-profit job-creating entity such as an entity undertaking a public works project the petitioner will still be required to demonstrate that the new commercial enterprise itself is engaging in for-profit activity and that the invested funds are placed at risk for the purpose of generating a return and that the investment into the new commercial enterprise is likely to resolve in the requisite job creation.

Next question – can investors in a project qualify for a $500,000 minimum investment by investing in a new commercial enterprise that will create jobs in a collection of separate TEAs without creating most of the jobs in one of them? Our response – yes, as long as the job-creating entities are principally doing business in the designated TEAs and if the investment is within a regional center, the job-creating entities are located in the geographic area of the regional center. Most of the jobs do not have to be created in one particular TEA if multiple TEAS are involved and the fact-supporting finding that the job-creating entities are principally doing business in the TEAs.

Next question – is there any problem if the developer or the general partner has the option to redeem an investment at a fixed amount or provide property in addition to or in lieu of a fixed amount as long as it is not an option of the investor? Our response – the answer will depend on the specific facts involved and the terms of any agreement. As noted in the May 30, 2013, policy memo, if the immigrant investor is guaranteed the return of a portion of their investment or is guaranteed a rate of return on a portion of their investment, then the amount of a guaranteed return is not at risk. Thus, IPO will review the evidence to determine if there is a risk of loss and a chance for gain and to determine whether there is a promise to return or redeem some portion of the minimum required investment amount. Even if the agreement does not represent a promise or guarantee that [inaudible - 00:50:55] contribution of capital below the minimum required amount, depending on the terms of the agreement there may be questions pertaining to whether the investor has the potential for gain.

Next question – provide clarification on sale of regional centers. In regards to the May 30, 2013, memo this clarification regarding this topic was missing from the guidance. Previously USCIS had held that sales were permitted but required amendments and in recent adjudications USCIS seems to be shying away from this position. Clear guidance is requested. Our response – a sale of a regional center entity is not prohibited. Note that the instructions for form I-924 provide that regional centers must notify USCIS within 30 days of a change of address, contact information, regional center principles, contracting agents, or similar changes in the operation or administration of the regional center. Accordingly, if a regional center entity is sold the regional center must notify USCIS of the sale within 30 days and USCIS may require the principles of the new regional center entity to file a form I-924A. The regional center may also file an I-924 amendment to reflect the sale.

Next question – does the formation of a new company after November 29, 1990, and the purchase of assets by that company from another company that went out of business quality as a new commercial enterprise. Our response – the determination of whether a new commercial enterprise has been established will ultimately depend on the facts involved and whether the facts support the claim that the new company is a new commercial enterprise or through the purposes of assets of a prior entity performed on or before November 29, 1990, is merely a reorganized or restructured entity that has not shown the degree of restructuring or reorganization required by 8CFR204.6H2 to constitute a new commercial enterprise. The various factual distinctions noted in the question and to summarize some of those distinctions that were raised – is there a difference in terms of when the assets from the prior business were acquired, whether or not that business was in existence or no longer in existence, whether or not the assets were simply stock, and whether or not the foreign national requiring the assets is entering into a different type of business, those various factual distinctions would be relevant along with others in the analysis; however, the mere fact that an entity formed after November 29, 1990, purchased assets of a prior entity does not in and of itself mean that the entity is not a new commercial enterprise. The nature, timing, and extent of the asset purchased will be evaluated to determine if this is simply as asset purchased in the course of operating and growing the new commercial enterprise or if the asset purchased is more likely than not the acquisition and restructuring or reorganization of an existing business formed on or before November 29, 1990. If the facts show that the asset purchased was more likely than not a purchase of an existing business then the facts will be reviewed consistent with matter of Soficci in precedent decision and other applicable law to determine if the business purchased was restructured or reorganized such that a new commercial enterprise resulted.

Next question – what, if any, limits on bridge financing should investors know about? The May 30, 2013, memo does not mention any temporal or other limits on using EB-5 funds to repay bridge financing. Is there any particular EB-5 related event that must have occurred before bridge financing is advanced for EB-5 funds to be allowed to replace such financing? Our response – generally, the replacement of bridge financing with EB-5 investor capital should have been contemplated prior to acquiring the original non-EB-5 financing; however, even if the EB-5 financing was not contemplated prior to acquiring the temporary financing, as long as the financing to be replaced was contemplated as short term, temporary financing, which would be subsequently replaced, the infusion of EB-5 financing could still result in the creation of and credit for new jobs. Consistent with the policy as set forth in the May 30, 2013, memo, the focuses on the nature of the underlying financing in order to determine that the financing to be replaced by the EB-5 funds is truly bridge or temporary financing or if the EB-5 funds are being used to merely refinance the longer-term debt. If the underlying financing was bridge financing, which is a fact-based determination based on the terms of the underlying financing and the circumstances surrounding the use, application, and plan at the time the financing was obtained to replace it with other long-term financing such as EB-5 funds, then jobs credited through the use of the bridge financing could still be credited to the EB-5 investors. If, however, the petitioner fails to establish that it is more likely than not that the EB-5 funds are being used to replace bridge or temporary financing rather than, for example, to refinance longer-term debt that was not contemplated to be used temporarily then jobs created through the use of the prior financing would not be credited to the EB-5 investors.

Next question – the next question relates to guest expenditures. What is the legal standard for allowing EB-5 investors in a hotel to obtain credit for guest expenditure jobs that the jobs would not be in the area? For example, that the jobs would not be in the area but for the hotel or that the hotel is the primary reason the guests are in the area? The question notes that these standards are different. The hotel might make it possible for someone to stay in the area by offering rooms when other hotels are full but visitors may be coming for some other reason. And the question asks if there is another standard. Our response – USCIS reviews these analyses and projections to determine if they are economically or statistically valid. As such, it is a fact-based specific determination in a market study and supporting evidence and the manner in which that information or data is used in the economic analysis in job creation projection. Thus, an applicant can establish that a hotel and consequently hotel and associated hotel revenues are creditable for job creation through several means. The first of these is unmet aggregate demand. USCIS examines the occupancy rates of hotels in the area when reviewing new hotel projects. If occupancy rates for hotels are high in a particular area a successful argument could be made that a new hotel will serve unmet demand rather than cannibalize existing hotel visitors to that area. If an applicant demonstrates in their business plan and through data and market studies, for example, that high hotel occupancy rates exist the USCIS considers that as evidence that there is unmet demand and that guest expenditures for hotel revenues including restaurants, meeting facilities, and concessions with the hotel, etc., represent new spending and consequently new jobs for the area. USCIS would also consider guest spending, i.e. hotel revenues, from a proposed new hotel in an area as new spending and consequently new jobs for the area if an applicant can demonstrate that they are providing a differentiated product to serve a special market segment. For example, the construction of a hotel to provide facilities for longer-term guests, usually called resident hotels, in an area where none exist supported my market study estimating current and future demand for this market segment would more than likely demonstrate the serving of new demands, hence new expenditures, rather than displacing current visitors. Similar successful arguments have been made for five-star hotels and for budget hotels in areas where one, there is aggregate unmet demand in an area and two, no comparable facilities exist.

USCIS also considers arguments that guest expenditures for hotel revenues represent new spending and consequently new jobs for the area if the new hotel is in response to another facility, for example a sports arena or entertainment venue. The next and last question that we would like to address at this time relates to evidence at the I-829 stage. What evidence does USCIS accept at the 829 stage to support the creation of model derived direct jobs or the justification of the input, i.e. revenue or expenditures, or would it be actual payroll documentation? Our response – direct jobs are identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the investor has directly invested his or her capital. The implication is that the petitioner has some operational control over the employees being counted for purposes of job creation. To show employment creation the principal alien can submit payroll records for the entity, relevant tax documents for the entity, forms I-9 for all employees hired, or any other evidence deemed appropriate by the petitioner. Model-derived jobs describe jobs that are indirect or induced and are established in the creation of a model which usually involves direct jobs as an input. Investors should carefully review the job creation model which they are basing their eligibility and submit evidence appropriate to that model. In other words, the type of evidence need to establish job creation would depend on the model being used. For example, if the model were based on revenue then evidence of revenue would need to be provided. If the model were based on the number of workers per square foot in a particular industry, the evidence should establish that this industry in fact occupies the square footage that the model predicted. USCIS will also accept payroll documentation to support the creation of jobs derived from a model using direct input.

With that, we would like to open the line so you may provide comments and suggestions for future EB-5 regulatory changes as well as to ask questions about the EB-5 programs. In closing, we would like to note – let’s go ahead and open up the lines for questions.

Carlos: Thanks Robert. Thank you so much Nick and Dan and everyone else for listening to today’s presentation. As Robert mentioned we are now ready for the questions and answers session. As we open up the phone lines we would like to remind you to please limit your questions to one per person and to please stay within the topics that we have discussed here today. If you just need general information about the EB-5 program we encourage you to visit our website at www.USCIS.gov or you may email us at public.engagement@USCIS.DHS.gov. Again, we cannot address any case-specific or fact-specific questions on today’s call. Do keep in mind that this is also a listening session and as Nick said earlier we look forward to your feedback on EB-5 regulations and any proposed changes that you would like USCIS to take into consideration. Again, members of the media joining us today – if you have questions please call the USCIS press office at (202) 272-1200. We will not be able to address questions from the media in this public engagement. And another reminder, Congressional staff we kindly ask that you please contact the USCIS office of legislative affairs for any briefing requests and/or case-specific matters. And now Mia, I think we are ready to take the first question.

Coordinator: Thank you, if you would like to ask a question please press star and one on your touchtone phone. Be sure to unmute your phone and record your name. Press star and two to withdraw your request. Our first question comes from Linda Lau with Global Law Group. Go ahead.

Linda: Hi, this is Linda Lowe from California and thank you so much for having this public engagement conference call, which is most helpful. I really appreciate everybody on the call from USCIS to make this available. I have a question regarding tenant occupancy. And in many of the RFEs that the stakeholders have been receiving, and there is a request regarding facilitation of employment, and right now the request is that besides having a market analysis of each of the industries needed for let’s say a big gigantic shopping center with 200 retailers, we are being asked to provide market analyses specific to a type of tenant, meaning that it may be a flower shop, may it be a dance studio, may it be any type of retail, and for a big shopping center it takes two to three years to build so it creates undue burden to a lot of the developers not knowing what to do in advance to solicit tenants who commit to a space for three years in advance. I am asking if there is any way we can have a policy consideration to allow market studies to be generic for a retail space and not on specific tenants.

Robert: Sure, and thank you for the question. As it relates to this question, as the memo I think tried to make clear and as I believe our RFEs try to elaborate and explain, we obviously are looking for additional evidence from the applicant to establish that it is more likely than not that these types of tenants will occupy the space in this context that we are talking about, commercial space and future tenants. The evidence that may be submitted of course is not limited. There is a range or a wide variety of evidence that could be relevant to that determination but from our perspective we’re looking for sufficient evidence to be submitted by the applicant to establish that it is more likely than not that the commercial space being developed will be occupied by the types of tenants that is claimed when those tenants are being used as input into the economic model on which the job creation projections are based. And that is, of course, important for the economic analysis to determine that those job creation projections are more likely so than not or reasonable. So of course it will depend on specific facts involved and the specific evidence that may be submitted by the applicant, but again I believe our RFE should articulate some examples of the types of evidence that may be submitted and may be relevant to establish facilitation of tenant occupancy jobs.

Linda: Okay, thank you. I appreciate the answer. I am reminded of the May 30 memo – actually, December 2013 memo regarding the allowance of a change of tenant makes. So this will go in line with that policy because during the two years of construction there can be lots of changes in terms of tenant mix. I appreciate that you allow us to provide alternative evidence to show that there is a demand for retail in that situation instead of just limited to specific tenants that I get very few of our clients can commit them to lease a space three years in advance. And thank you for your answer.

Carlos: Thank you so much, Linda. I think we are ready for the next question, operator.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from Henry Chow with the Law Office of Henry Chow. Go ahead.

Henry: Thank you. My question is related to 526, to prove a source of income. Is there any particular policy towards an offshore company? The offshore company can provide the financial statement but no tax return so the investor is using the funds as the offshore company as income or evidence. That will be difficult to prove with a tax return. So is there a particular policy toward offshore company income?

Robert: In terms of evidence related to source of income, as you know the requirement is that the petition establish and document the past of the income used for the investment and establish that the income was derived from lawful sources. The types of evidence that may be submitted in each case really becomes fact-specific to those individual cases. And certainly in some instances the availability of certain types of documents may not be the same as they are for other cases. There is obviously a variety of reasons that may impact the types of documents that are available, just in terms of the nature of different countries and their laws pertaining to how taxes are filed and recorded and documented. With that said, the burden of proof is on the petitioner to submit sufficient evidence to establish eligibility and in this case that the funds were lawfully derived. So the petitioner will need to decide what evidence is available and may be provided to USCIS in support of their petition to establish that it is more likely so than not that those funds were lawfully derived. So I would refer you to the regulations in terms of a list of the types of evidence that are typically submitted in support of that issue and as the regulations note, any other relevant evidence may also be submitted to establish eligibility on that issue.

Carlos: Thank you so much for your question and I think, operator, we are ready for the next question.

Coordinator: Your next question comes from David Herson with [inaudible -01:12:40]. Go ahead.

David: That was pretty quick. Today and this morning in California for those who don’t understand that. My question relates to bridge financing and taking out the bridge financing. In many cases we could have in a construction-type case almost wholly completed at the time of substituting the bridge financing with the EB-5 money. So the question comes about as to the timing of the creation of the jobs. Clearly most of those jobs will have been created because of the cash that has already been spent, but the I-526 may not have yet been filed. So the question is can we pick up those jobs and apply them to I-526s to be filed resultant from the EB-5 bridge takeout investment?

Robert: Yeah, and this question goes back to the question that we addressed a few minutes ago as we went through the questions that were submitted in advance of the call. Again, ultimately this is a fact-based determination but as we review the application our focus is on the nature of that underlying financing, what was contemplated at the time that financing was obtained, and whether this was – for example – bridge financing that was obtained and contemplated based on the replacement of EB-5 funds. If, for example, EB-5 funds were not contemplated at the time the bridge financing was obtained as the policy memo notes that may not necessarily be determinative as long as that underlying financing was truly bridge or temporary financing that was contemplated to be replaced. EB-5 funds can be used to subsequently replace other financings that fell through in terms of replacement financing. But in the general scenario where EB-5 funds are being contemplated at the time that the bridge financing is obtained, our focus or our concern is making sure that the jobs are properly credited to the EB-5 investment funds, understanding that temporary or bridge financing is an important tool in order for these legitimate job-creating projects to proceed, especially given some of the challenges in timing related to the release or availability of EB-5 funds, so as long as there is the associated connection between the bridge financing and the EB-5 funds that are replacing the bridge financing. Per our policy, we believe that jobs may be credited to the EB-5 investors even though the initial financing that was used to start the project and start the job creation was temporary or bridge financing.

David: Thank you. I understood that and I appreciate the very practical and valuable approach. I am being challenged by some people out of country who read the regulations and say to us that the jobs must be created within, the effective work, the approval of the I-526 at 30 months later. In the case I just described, the jobs would effectively have been created quite some time before. If I take your answer on its face then, this is not a problem. Am I correct?

Robert: Yes, thank you for the clarification. We will look into that further and if additional clarification or guidance is needed we will consider that for posting. Thank you.

Carlos: Thank you Robert. Thank you for your question and I think we are ready now for the next question. Operator, the next question please?

Coordinator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Jenny Liu with Global Law Group. And as a reminder, if you can be sure to mute your line when it is active. Thank you.

Jenny: Hi, this is Jenny Liu. I have a question regarding what do you use the information you collect on the I-924A for? And in the past the information collected from the I-924As were used for research and compiling statistics. Is this still the case?

Robert: That is still the case. It is an annual reporting form for collecting data as well as evaluating continued eligibility for regional center designation.

Jenny: I understand, thank you so much.

Carlos: Thank you so much. Operator, the next question please.

Coordinator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Shirelle Fuller with [inaudible - 01:18:21]. Go ahead.

Shirelle: Hi, my name is Shirelle Fuller in Washington, D.C. Thank you for hosting today’s call. I was wondering if one of the questions and answers could be repeated. I didn’t fully understand concerning an investor’s guaranteed rate of return or their guaranteed portion of return. You talked about the promise depending on the terms of agreement. So I was wondering if that question and answer could just be repeated for clarity.

Robert: Absolutely. So again the question, as you know, was related to an option to redeem an investment at a fixed amount. So our response is the answer will depend on the specific facts involved and the terms of any agreement as noted in the policy memo. If the immigrant investor is guaranteed the return of a portion of their investment or is guaranteed a rate of return on a portion of their investment then the amount of the guaranteed return is not at risk. Thus, IPO will review the evidence to determine if there is a risk of loss and a chance for gain and to determine whether there is a promise to return or redeem some portion of the minimum required investment amount. Even if the agreement does not represent a promise or guarantee that erodes the contribution of capital below the minimum required amount, depending on the terms of the agreement there may be questions pertaining to whether the investor has the potential for gain.

Shirelle: Got it, thank you.

Carlos: Thank you. Next question, operator?

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Marty Cummings with Florida EB-5 Investment. Go ahead.

Marty: Thank you. Regarding obsolete TEA letters, USCIS will accept TEA status as determined as of the date the 526 was filed based on the most current data available at that 526 filing date. So we have seen RFEs saying that the TEA letter must be updated as of the date that the RFE was issued, which in the past was issued 12 or 18 months after the 526 was filed. We get confirmation that the TEA status was set as of the date the 526 was filed.

Robert: So two things to note and the first is that per precedent decision as well as the regulation, the determination is based on when the funds are committed to the new commercial enterprise or the filing of the 526 petition, whichever is sooner. If you have examples where you believe a request for evidence was submitted that was not consistent with precedent decision or regulation you can of course send that to the Immigrant Investor mailbox noting your concern. Of course, that doesn’t relieve the petitioner of the obligation to respond to the request for evidence by the time indicated, but certainly you can elevate such concerns through the immigrant investor mailbox.

Marty: Well, we were okay because it was still a valid TEA status. But we are concerned that may not always be the case in the future so thank you very much for your answer.

Carlos: Thank you. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Martin Lawler, with Lawler and Lawler. Go ahead, sir.

Martin: Yes, hi, this is Martin Lawler in San Francisco. Thank you very much for your very valuable information that you have answered a number of our questions in writing that we have submitted. I was confused about one, though. You talk about the sale of a regional center and are two 924As required, one by the regional center seller and one by the new buyer? Or is one 924A with information about the sale sufficient?

Robert: It is my understanding that in that context, and as noted in the regulations, USCIS can request sort of at any time the submission of an I-924A outside of the typical annual filing timeline. In the instance where a sale of a regional center occurred and were properly notified within the appropriate time of that sale, it is my understanding that we would or could request the submission of one I-924A or would request submission of one I-924A to update the record regarding the details of the sale.

Martin: All right, thank you very much.

Coordinator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Richard Strauss with Exemplar Law.

Richard: Thank you for holding this discussion. This is Richard Strauss from Boston. My question is specific to today’s meeting and it is of director Colucci. It is in regarding the filing tips. I just wanted to ask what was the last filing tip after you discussed the cover letters?

Nick: The last two filing tips both had to do with cover letters, one discussed on the I-526, a request to indicate the receipt and identification number of the regional center under which the petition is based along with the name of the new commercial enterprise. And the final one was for an I-924, which is it would be helpful if you state the type of approval you are requesting – hypothetical, actual, or exemplar – again, to help ensure more timely processing.

Richard: Thank you very much.

Carlos: Thank you. Operator, the next question please.

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Kevin Wright with Wright and Johnson. Go ahead.

Kevin: Yes, my question relates to exemplar I-924 filings. In the case where you have a state such as New Mexico, for example, which refused to issue a TEA letter until the regional center is first approved, can you get an exemplar filing provided that you provide all the statistical data to prove that the TEA does exist?

Robert: Yeah, we believe that is possible, particularly since the actual TEA determination is made at the 526 stage. So in the exemplar context, obviously, the exemplar could be adjudicated and approved as an exemplar but obviously the 526 petitions filed consistent with that project and those exemplar documents would, in support of their petition, need to submit the TEA designation letter from the state if that is the evidence we are relying upon in order to establish that they are eligible for the reduced investment amount.

Kevin: Perfect, thank you.

Carlos: Thank you Rob. Thank you for your question. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Peter Joseph with Association to Invest in the US. Go ahead.

Peter: Hi there, Peter Joseph here, executive director of the Association to Invest in the USA, the national trade association for the regional centers around the country. And thank you for hosting this welcome teleconference today. I do have a specific question with regards to maintaining the investments for 829 purposes. What is required to maintain that investment for I-829 purposes, particularly if an opportunity to refinance or to liquidate came about for a successful project? And this is particularly pertinent give the erratic 526 processing times that we often see and that could really extend the lifeline of the entire duration of the project and the immigration process that goes with it. Hopefully that makes sense and thanks in advance for your answer.

Robert: Sure, thank you for the question. The issue of sustainment as it relates to the 829 stage is something that we’re currently reviewing. As you know and as other stakeholders have indicated obviously there are a number of questions that relate to the sustainment requirement and the interpretation of that part of the regulation. There are a variety of factors that may impact that interpretation, particularly as the program may reach a point that some dates are retrogressed in terms of availability. So the issue of sustainment is something that we’re aware of, reviewing, and hoping to issue additional clarification on in the future.

Carlos: Thank you Rob and thank you for your question. We are ready for the next question, operator.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from Kathy Owens with Virginia Atlantic Regional Center. Go ahead.

Kathy: Yes, thanks so much. My question is in regards to the regional center operating in a contiguous area. Must the job creation entities be in the contiguous area or is acceptable for the geographic area generated from an economic impact report be continuous or even overlap?

Robert: Yeah, so the job-creating enterprise must be principally doing business within the geographic area of the regional center, as noted in the policy memo. They may still receive credit for jobs created outside of that area, for example indirect and induced jobs that kind of spill outside of that area as long as they are supported and reflected in a statistically or economically valid economic model and projection. But yes, the job-creating entity must be principally doing business within the regional center.

Kathy: I’m sorry, and the answer prior to that was the new area – the question was earlier was the regional center operating outside of its area and according to the policy the new area must be contiguous since it will be an amendment. The question is can the job-creating entity – does it have to be in the contiguous area or can its economic geographic area generated from the economic impact be that contiguous area?

Robert: Yeah, it may be a very fact-specific question and we would like to have an opportunity to kind of think that through a little bit better and make sure we understand the various facts or factors involving your specific question. If you would, we would like for you to send your question to the Immigrant Investor mailbox and we will review and again determine if additional clarification should be issued.

Kathy: Okay, thank you.

Carlos: Thank you Rob. Operator, the next question please.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from James Mays, with Davis-Wright-Tremaine. Go ahead.

James: Yeah, thanks for a very informative session. I have a question about the regional center geographic expansion. And basically we have approved the regional center and are going to expand it to a new geographical area. But the new geographic area, already the project is ready – I have the 526 ready to file. The question is whether we should file an I-924 first or can we file an I-924 and I-526 together? Thank you in advance.

Robert: Sure, just to note we are not in a position of course to give specific advice or case-specific advice. I would simply note as you evaluate what you believe to be best for your situation that from our perspective in terms of operational efficiencies, consistency, and predictability a 924 exemplar filed and approved in advance of 526 petitions, for example, allows for a level of processing efficiency and consistency that may not be available through other processes that are of course available based on whatever may or may not be appropriate for your clients or your situation. But again we cannot give specific advice on how you should file an application.

Carlos: Thank you Robert and thank you for your question. Operator we are ready for the next question.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from Yasmine Blackburn with Associates. Go ahead.

Yasmine: Hello, I [inaudible - 01:33:36] from earlier about obtaining specific TEA designations from the state. We’re in Connecticut and the governor has not designated an actual official to give out TEA designations. There is an individual within the Department of Labor who usually gives them but he is not the official designee. And although we have asked the governor as well as other departments within the Department of Economic Security to designate someone officially, they said that they are just not prepared to do that right now. So the letter that we have from this individual who normally does it, would that be sufficient to begin the process of obtaining the regional center? Or do we need to continue to press for a specific letter from an official designee?

Robert: Sure I would suggest directly to our regulation because it articulates the requirement in that regard. And the regulations do indicate that the designation must come from the governor or their designee.

Yasmine: Right, we know that it’s just that they won’t designate someone specifically and understanding that the climate is changing we want to make sure that we do everything properly rather than receive an RFE or have the investors put money into something that is not going to be approved because we can’t get an official designation. The letter is by someone who has been doing it for three or four years, but the governor won’t officially say yes, this is the person. How do you get around that if the state won’t officially designate someone?

Robert: Sure, and obviously again we cannot give specific advice on the types of evidence that someone should submit to comply with the regulatory requirements. I would simply note that the regulations do provide several options in terms of evidence that may be submitted to establish that an area qualifies as a TEA. So certainly take those into consideration as you evaluate the circumstances and what evidence is available to be submitted to establish eligibility on that issue.

Carlos: Thank you Rob, and thank you for your question. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

Coordinator: Thank you, or next question comes from Mona Shaw with Mona Shaw and Associates. Go ahead.

Mona: Hello, thank you very much for taking my call. I noticed that you didn’t have any indication for direct projects, they are becoming more and more popular. Is that because you don’t want to discuss direct projects in this particular seminar or because we just didn’t think about it?

Robert: If you have a specific question that you would like us to addressed we are of course more than happy to try to address your question. In terms of questions that we did discuss as noted we obviously received a large number of submissions and tried to respond to those questions that appeared to have the broadest interests and applicability based on the questions that were received. But certainly if you have a specific question we are happy to consider that.

Mona: Thank you. I do have a couple of questions but I will try to keep it very brief. First of all, with the timing you had stated that a 526 petition is currently taking about 11 months. We understand that direct petitions are a little faster and if you could elaborate on that. The second point was relating to the structure – the corporate structure of direct petitions in a loan scenario. And if on these, most of the time when we are setting them up or are generally seeing them they are basically a wholly-owned subsidiary of the original enterprise. We would just like to know if you have any guidance on structures on a direct project and not a regional center project. Thank you.

Robert: In terms of the second part of your question, I don’t believe we can speak to that at this time. it sounds like it kind of involves a specific scenario and certainly we don’t have all of the facts before us in which to determine the extent to which an answer is appropriate or not or what issues may be involved in that analysis based on those specific facts. So I can’t speak to that part of your question. In terms of processing times, we do make an effort to process 526 petitions in FIFO order. We are aware that some processing times have appeared to be inconsistent and we are taking steps to ensure that cases are processed in FIFO order balancing kind of issues related to operational efficiency and commonality among petitions that are filed for projects and around the same time. but again we make an effort to process cases in FIFO order and the processing times that we provided are average processing times for all 526 petitions. Understanding of course there are as many of you are aware petitions that have been pending longer than those average processing times and we’re making every effort within our power to adjudicate those with a sense of urgency, but again without sacrificing the quality of the adjudicative review process.

Mona: We understand. Thank you very much.

Carlos: Thank you for your question. Operator, we are ready for the next question.

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Renna Jaserili from Paxton. Go ahead.

Renna: Hi yes, this is Renna Jaserili in Washington, D.C., with Delworth Paxton. I am actually asking a question of essentially elaborating on one that was previously asked or maybe clarified. And it relates to the issue of a regional center’s investment outside of its designated geographic area. And I think the question is what would you consider to be contiguous? Well we obviously understand New York and California would not be contiguous, but does that mean it has to be literally the immediate county outside of where the geography has been approved, or is it a metropolitan issue meaning the next metro – for example, Philadelphia and New York City? Is there way you can give a little bit more guidance on that given that many people would like to actually begin the projects and submit the 526s but need some clarity to know whether or not that would be an approved project for their regional center.

Robert: Sure, and the determination of course would be based on the specific facts involved in that request and the evidence that is submitted to support that request. If the geographic area that was requested in your example of New York and Pennsylvania constituted one contiguous area, we would evaluate the evidence consistent with the standard as stated in the policy memo to determine what is the economic impact of the project in that area and is there the type of economic activity that spills out, for example, in that area to support the request for that designated geographic area expansion? And again, that is going to be what ultimately we would look at to ensure that it is a contiguous area and that economic activity that is being proposed supports that request.

Renna: Okay thank you very much.

Robert: Thank you.

Coordinator: Our next question comes from Ollie with the law office of Ollie Ramen. Go ahead.

Ollie: Hello, yes good morning. Thank you very much for this program, it has been very informative. My question or I should say it is just a comment regarding the credibility of the EB-5 program – I represent numerous clients from the Middle East and I have numerous I-526 applications that are pending, I have numerous cases that are pending for more two years and literally these were filed in January of 2012. I have not received anything from USCIS on these cases. I have filed and emailed and emailed and emailed through the website, and just for your information the email responses I am getting are not even proper. I mean, I literally write down the case number and the file number I write down the case was filed, for example, January such 2012. The email response says, ‘We are working on cases filed on or after April 2012.’ And that’s it. And this has become very, very frustrating because the program itself as I can share my experience with you is losing a lot of credibility for many Middle Eastern investors because the word has kind of spread that these processing times are just taking way too long. These families have to schedule their lives around this process. And when we tell them it is going to take a year or 18 months and all of a sudden it is two and a half years or three years until they are done and it makes it very, very difficult. I was wondering if you can share with me anything else I should be doing to try to get some sort of response or resolution on these cases that are pending for such a long time, literally two years.

Robert: Certainly, and we appreciate your comments and your concerns. Obviously I can’t speak to specific cases but I would like to note a couple of things generally, however. And that is that as Nick mentioned in his comments we are aware of the concerns and frustration that has been expressed about the responses that are provided to case status inquiries. We are looking into those communications to determine what is an appropriate level of detail that we should or may be providing in response to case status inquiries. So that is something that we are exploring and may clarify or provide additional detail on in the future. In terms of processing times and your comments related to the program and how it is perceived, again as our opening remarks I think indicated and made clear, as administrators of this program we are well aware of where we stand in terms of processing times and the impact that long processing times can have on some of these projects. And certainly we’re doing everything within our control and ability to identify ways to improve processing times, improve efficiencies within the program, but again without sacrificing the quality of our review or the integrity of the program. We continue to take steps to staff the program and build it to a level where we can not only keep up with processing cases that are being filed but also really starting to reduce the backlog and thus overall processing times. We are exceptionally happy with the staff that we have put into place. They are an extremely talented group of economists, officers, and supervisors. We are looking to continue to build that. Again, we are in the process of bringing more people on board and we are confident that we are going to be able to build this program and reduce processing times and hit some of the processing target goals that we have identified as a program. As you can imagine, that is not something that can occur overnight but we are committed to making that happen. So we appreciate your comments and your concerns.

Ollie: Just to followup, we have even had a very few cases that we did receive RFEs, on a few minor points and which we responded to immediately. And now we are waiting over nine months – I mean, even for processing of RFE cases I think you agree with me that nine months is just unreasonable. You would assume that the examiners have covered all the major points and when they send an RFE with only one or two issues and those issues have been addressed by us it shouldn’t take then nine months to get back to us. It is just very frustrating.

Robert: We understand your concern and again we just can’t comment on specific scenarios.

Carlos: Thank you Rob and thank you for your question. And operator we are running a little bit over our time so we will take the next question and then close the conference.

Coordinator: Okay, our last question will be from Rebecca Losato with Bank United. Go ahead.

Rebecca: Good afternoon. This is regarding bridge financing. I was wondering if a bank can use EB-5 funds as collateral.

Carlos: Just one second, we are consulting on your question. Please hold.

Rebecca: Thank you.

Robert: Thank you for your question. It appears that the question is kind of outside the scope of the call and not necessarily something that we can speak to or provide advice on. But certainly if you want to followup by submitting your questions to the Immigrant Investor mailbox we can maybe provide additional clarification and we can take that into consideration and see if that is a question that we can provide an answer to.

Rebecca: All right. I have already submitted the question there as well. Thank you.

Carlos: Thank you Rob. This concludes the engagement for today. We would like to thank our operator Mia and thank everyone for participating in the call today, especially to my colleagues Dan, Nick, and Rob for their guidance today. If you have a question that we did not have time to address today please email it either to the Investor program office or you are also welcome to email it to our public engagement mailbox at public.engagement@USCIS.DHS.gov. and be sure to reference that you were on today’s phone conference. Again, thank you for joining us and have a great day.

Coordinator: Thank you. That concludes today’s conference. You may now disconnect at this time. Thank you.

[End of Audio]
ATM/SE/se
3-1-2014

Brazilian Market Heating Up!

February 28th, 2014

The looming Chinese visa retrogression is raising concerns in the EB-5 world and leading investors, regional center owners, brokers, immigration attorneys, and EB-5 stakeholders to ask a lot of tough questions. With the possibility of changes in the regulations and the uncertainty surrounding this retrogression, Wright Johnson set out to explore other markets- one’s whose potential has yet to be tapped. The first stop on the journey was Brazil, a country motivated by fear.

Kevin Wright, Chief Executive Officer of Wright Johnson traveled across Brazil; from Belo Horizonte to Sao Paulo, from Joinville to Curitiba, educating investors about the EB-5 program. He worked with the World Trade Center business organization, meeting with 50 -100 investors, attorneys, and other interested parties attending the seminars in each city.

Unlike in China, where the investors tell us that their main motivation for investing in the EB-5 program is a better education for their children and monetary diversification, the Brazilian investors we encountered had a different motive for their investment- safety. We spoke to numerous interested parties who described kidnapping and ransom concerns. Some potential investors came to the seminar with bodyguards and spoke of driving in bullet proof equipped vehicles and using helicopter transportation to avoid any potential security concerns. Questions regarding 9-11 services, the United States legal system and the role that police play in American society were just a few of the numerous safety topics discussed during this seminar. The lengths that these individuals have to go to protect their families in Brazil is frightening and demonstrates just how dangerous the conditions are in that country.

There appears to be strong interest in EB-5 investments in Brazil, however that interest is coupled with a minimal understanding of how the EB-5 process works. Guests spoke about the fact that many US governors and US officials have made trips to Brazil to promote EB-5 over the last 18 months, but potential investors are still looking for more education about the program and how it can help them provide a safe environment for their families.

Look for Brazil to be on the rise as a supplier of EB-5 investors in 2014!