The Latest EB-5 Settlement Agreement



Immigrant investors who have been keeping tabs on the EB-5 Visa program have been on somewhat of a roller coaster ride in 2022. On September 1st, that ride came to a smooth and unambiguous end when a Federal district court approved a settlement agreement stemming from two suits filed by CanAm Enterprises, other EB-5 regional center operators and the EB-5 industry trade group, Invest in the USA (IIUSA), against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 



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Mr. Nick Buonagurio, Vice President, CanAm Investor Services

 


Here are 3 things you should know about the litigation, and what the settlement terms mean to you as an EB-5 investor.


 


The suits were filed to keep EB-5 regional centers in operation. In March of 2022, the U.S. President signed into law the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA), which reinstated and reformed the EB-5 Regional Center Program (The program had lapsed in June of 2021 after its previous authorization expired in 2021). While this news was welcomed, about one month later, USCIS posted a notice to its website announcing that all existing EB-5 regional centers were no longer authorized and would need to re-apply for reauthorization. This announcement impacted over 600 approved EB-5 regional centers, including CanAm’s – an industry leader for immigration-linked investments for 35 years. With more than 90% of EB-5 investors choosing to invest with an EB-5 regional center, USCIS’s announcement put new EB-5 investments in doubt and cast uncertainty over the ability of EB-5 regional center operators to serve the needs of their immigrant investors, who were supposed to be protected by the “grandfathering” provisions in the RIA. So, in May of this year, CanAm joined other leading EB-5 regional operators to challenge the USCIS’s actions in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


 


The EB-5 regional center program was not interrupted. Although USCIS announced that all existing EB-5 regional centers were deauthorized after the new EB-5 law was passed in March, USCIS did resume processing green card applications filed by EB-5 investors. Further, in June of 2022, the Federal Court blocked USCIS from unilaterally deauthorizing existing EB-5 regional centers, which allowed CanAm and other regional center operators to continue to pursue EB-5 projects.


 


The EB-5 settlement agreement speeds up the ability to file investor petitions – In September 2022, the Federal Court approved a settlement agreement between CanAm and its co-plaintiffs and USCIS. The USCIS has agreed that previously authorized EB-5 regional centers can retain their authorization but must file a new application (Form I-956) to establish their eligibility under the RIA by December 29, 2022. USCIS also agreed that EB-5 regional centers can immediately proceed to file applications seeking approval of their EB-5 projects (Form I-956F), and if, after filing a Form I-956F, a formal receipt notice is not issued within ten (10) calendar days following delivery to USCIS, EB-5 investors may use other forms of proof of the Form I-956F filing in order to file their related EB-5 petitions (Form I-526E), such as a lock box receipt and a cashed check or credit card charge for the filing fee.

 


For more than three decades, CanAm has been an advocate for immigrant investors, and has viewed the EB-5 Program as a highly successful economic development and job-creating mechanism.

 


After reauthorizing the EB-5 Program, we believe Congress intended to allow EB-5 regional centers to immediately get back to business, operate under the revised terms of the RIA, and keep their promises to EB-5 investors. Investors are CanAm’s number one priority, and that is why we felt it was vital for CanAm to become a plaintiff in the Federal litigation.

 


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a near year-long lapse in the authorization of the RC Program, and USCIS’s unsuccessful attempts at deauthorization, CanAm has been able to reach new milestones in repayments. CanAm has achieved the repayment milestone of $2.15 billion, representing more than 4,300 investor families. We encourage all immigrant investors who have questions about the EB-5 visa program to visit CanAm Enterprises.com. We’re pleased to discuss the program with you, review its conditions and qualifications and help you make decisions that are best for you and your family.



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