USCIS Annual Ombudsman’s Report Addresses EB-5 Program

The USCIS Ombudsman’s Office, the office responsible for assisting potential citizens with immigration issues, released its 2013 Annual Report on June 27, 2013. The report includes information on the EB-5 Immigration program, as well as data on I-925 applications for FY 2010-FY 2012. The report concludes that there was a 300% increase in filings requesting residency from 2010 through 2012. In 2013 alone, the organization received 441 requests for EB-5 case assistance, roughly 10% of the total office’s workload.

The summarized I-924 data is as follows:
FY 2010: 152 filings – 8 approvals – 41 denials – 0 Requests for Evidence (RFEs)
FY 2011: 278 filings – 123 approvals – 58 denials – 56% RFE rate (156 total)
FY 2012: 240 filings – 35 approvals – 63 denials – 75% RFE rate (180 total)

The report also includes data for I-526 petitions received during the same span. Data is as follows:
FY 2010: 1,955 filings – 1,396 approvals – 165 denials – 22% RFE rate (430 total)
FY 2011: 3,805 filings – 1,571 approvals – 373 denials – 72% RFE rate (1,131 total)
FY 2012: 6,041 filings – 3,671 approvals – 957 denials – 44%RFE rate (2658 total)

The report also mentions some milestone events that have occurred over the past year. Instances mentioned include the move of the California Service Center to Washington, DC; the release of the proposed EB-5 Policy memorandum; the March 5th Stakeholder meeting and tenant occupancy. The report references the USCIS tool “My Case Status” to conclude that as of February 28, 2013, there were 6,025 Form I-526 Petitions pending. Those requests faced an average wait time of 11.7 months.

The petitions in waiting comprise nearly $billion in potential project funding and 60,000 new full-time jobs in the United States awaiting USCIS action. The report addressed this fact, as well as the ramifications of keeping such economy-boosting opportunities on backlog. The Ombudsman indicated that they will continue to resolve individual EB-5 cases, review relevant policies and evaluate stakeholder concerns, as appropriate.