On January 25, 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released statistics on all types of application and petition forms for the 4th quarter of the fiscal year 2020, including the latest data on Forms I -526 and I-829 (EB-5 petitions).
- The last fiscal year in the United States begins on October 1, 2019 and ends on September 30, 2020.
- Petition I-526 is an application from an investor to participate in the EB-5 program, as a result of which the investor and his family receive approval for a Conditional Green Card.
- Filing an I-829 petition is the final step in the EB-5 investor visa process. The petition confirms the successful completion of all the requirements of the EB-5 program.
Below we will take a closer look at the statistics for the past fiscal year for the first and key petition for an EB-5 investor, namely, petition I-751. Moreover, the pandemic and relatively recent changes in the rules of the program could have a significant impact on the entire process of working with EB-5 appeals.
Key statistics for I-526 petitions for 2020
Petition I-526: Key Findings
Submission statistics in 2020:
- The total number of I-526 applications for the entire fiscal year 2020 was 4,378, a 5% increase over the previous fiscal year.
- 4,264 (or 97%) petitions in FY2020 were filed in the first quarter (October 1 to December 30, 2019).
- Only 114 I-526 petitions were filed in 2020 between January 1 and September 30 following the entry into force of the new EB-5 rules.
Consideration in 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services handled a total of 3,421 cases in FY2020, down 27% from FY2019.
Approval in 2020
Overall, the I-526 approval rate for FY2020 was 75%, the lowest in eight years.
Line of applications in 2020
As of September 30, 2020, over 15,060 I-526 petitions were still pending with USCIS and awaiting processing.
Despite the objective reasons for the deterioration in the work of official services under the EB-5 program last year (pandemic, increase in the amount of investment), we have already written that this situation may change in a positive direction in the near future. Read about possible reforms of the migration policy of the new US president here.
New US President and EB-5 Program
As the inauguration date of the new US President approaches (January 20, 2021), EB-5 investors may have questions about the possible impact of Joe Biden’s new administration on the EB-5 program. Nonetheless, Biden’s track record as a legislator and his presidential campaign plans suggest that investors have no cause for concern.
Interestingly, Joe Biden at one time took part in the creation of the EB-5 program. The EB-5 program was originally formed in 1990 as a result of the 1990 federal Immigration Act. At the time, Joe Biden was a US Senator from Delaware and one of 81 senators who voted to pass the law.
During Barack Obama’s presidency, when Joe Biden was vice president, the Obama administration spoke favorably of the EB-5 Regional Hubs program, noting the benefits of the program that meet American national priorities, including job creation and development of economically depressed and rural areas. However, the administration failed to reform the long-term action of the regional center’s program and the necessary reforms to combat fraud.
What impact will the Biden administration have on the EB-5 program?
While Joe Biden has not spoken out directly in support of the EB-5 program recently, his website provides information on the areas of work of the new administration in the area of immigration policy:
- Modernizing the American Immigration System. According to his website, Biden will immediately begin working with Congress to modernize the system, grow the economy, and expand economic opportunities across the country by improving and increasing opportunities for legal immigration.
- Favorable attitude towards immigrants. Biden’s plan notes that “immigrants bring tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits to the country. Even in cities hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, immigrants are a key driver of entrepreneurship and population growth. ”
- Economic impact. Biden’s plan also states that “in subsequent generations, immigrants have strengthened our most valuable competitive advantage – the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship”. Research shows that “the total annual contribution of overseas-born workers is about US $ 2 trillion.” Key sectors of the American economy, from agriculture to technology, depend on immigration. Working-age immigrants support the growth of our economy, the prosperity of our population and the advancement of the country. “
The EB-5 program stimulates the US economy by creating new jobs and is a major source of foreign direct investment at no cost to US taxpayers. The program aligns with the Biden administration’s stated economic development goals and the “Build Better Than Was” slogan. So, if the EB-5 industry undergoes changes, then, most likely, only in the direction of further development and modernization.