On Friday, April 22, Bernard Wolfsdorf, Managing Partner of Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP, spoke on a panel at the 9th Annual EB-5 Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. hosted by Invest in USA with Mr. Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State.
During the panel, Mr. Oppenheim released preliminary visa issuance data for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2016 (October 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016) on EB-5 immigrant visas.
Ten Things I Learned from Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division within the U.S. Department of State during our IIUSA Panel on April 22, 2016
- Chinese nationals received 80.40% of the EB-5 immigrant visas issued in FY 2016 to date. This is down from 83.54% in FY 2015.
- South Korea is back in 2nd place with almost 3% (2.98%) of EB-5 visas pushing Vietnam into 3rd place (1.64%). Vietnam had 2.86% of all EB-5 immigrant visas in FY 2015.
- In 4th place is Taiwan with 1.63% and Venezuela comes back into top 5 with 1.03%. Venezuela was last in the top 5 in FY 2013.
- The I5 EB-5 category, that is $500,000 Regional Center – TEA cases continue to dominate the program constituting 95% of all EB-5 immigrant visas issued in the first 6 months of FY 2016, compared with 98.2% in FY 2015.
- The T5 EB-5 category, that is $500,000 Direct – TEA cases increased to 3.08% of all EB-5 immigrant visas issued in FY 2016 to date, compared with only 0.94% in FY 2015.
- The C5 EB-5 category, that is $1m Direct, non-TEA increased dramatically by 189% to 1.74% of all EB-5 immigrant visas issued in FY 2016 to date, compared with 0.6% in FY 2015.
FY 2016 (6 months through to 3/31/16) $1m Direct, Non-TEA (C5) $500K Direct, TEA (T5) $500K Regional Center, TEA (I5) $1m Regional Center, Non-TEA (R5) Total China – Mainland born 59 124 4,011 0 4,194 South Korea 0 6 149 0 155 Vietnam 4 0 82 0 86 China – Taiwan born 0 0 85 0 85 Venezuela 0 1 53 0 54 Total All Countries 91 161 4,965 0 5,217
- In FY 2015, 991 EB-5 Form I-485 Adjustment of Status applications were filed, whereas, in the first 6 months of FY 2016 alone, 731 I-485s were filed. Adjustments are on pace to increase by 47% from FY 2015. This is almost certainly because USCIS allowed EB-5 applicants to file Form I-485 applications based on Chart B – Date for Filing – listed in the U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for October and November 2015. USCIS can solve the China waiting line crisis by allowing persons with approved I-526 petitions to file adjustments based on Chart B.
- The May 2016 Visa Bulletin EB-5 cutoff date for China moved forward again to February 8, 2014 (but only by 7 days from April 2016). The June 2016 Visa Bulletin EB-5 cutoff date for China is estimated to be at February 15. By the end of September 2016, the best case scenario is that the China EB-5 cutoff date will have advanced to March 8, 2014, however, China EB-5 movement could be very slow and only advance to February 22, 2014.
- An EB-5 investor with a priority date of March 21, 2014 will likely be current for final interview scheduling on or about November 2016.
- An EB-5 investor with a priority date of October 15, 2014 may not be current for final interview scheduling until well after August 2017.
For more information, be sure to REGISTER HERE for Part 1 of our two-part Webinar Series: EB-5 Hot Topics on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 7:00 PM PST and to REGISTER HERE for Part 2 on May 25, 2016 at 7:00PM PST.