Looking Ahead at EB-5 2019: Suzanne's Big Picture Observations


I was unable to attend the EB-5 Magazine Investors Conference in Los Angeles last week but my good friend Suzanne Lazicki of Lucid Professional Writing did, and she wrote an extremely comprehensive analysis regarding future EB-5 trends and timelines .  As always, she examines the specifics of EB-5 visa processing at a truly granular level so for those of you well-versed in the minutiae of EB-5 dynamics, I encourage you to read her article but I warn you: it is extremely complex reading which will likely confuse those of you who are not at an expert level on the subject of EB-5. 

Accordingly, for the rest of my readers, here are her key takeaway predictions, with my added comments in italics*:

  • The regional center program will get another short-term reauthorization with no changes by the next sunset date of September 30, 2018, as part of the funding bill for FY2019.  That means the $500,000 TEA threshold remains the same, no price increase expected.
  • More EB-5 legislation will be introduced after the midterm (fall) elections, but it will not go anywhere because the necessary compromises won’t materialize among stakeholders.
  • The (long-pending) EB-5 modernization regulations will be finalized in 2018, raising investment thresholds and likely triggering litigation from the big New York EB-5 users.
  • Because of the backlogs and processing delays, Suzanne predicts that the total number of I-526 filings will fall gradually through 2018, and drop significantly in 2019 as a result in of the regulations and new Visa Bulletin cut-off dates. 

COMMENT: the above is the ONLY one of Suzanne’s predictions with which I might disagree…but I’m not sure.

  • VERBATIM: "When new Visa Bulletin cut-off dates are imposed in 2019, many people will express surprise that the cut-off dates and associated visa wait effect people who invested back in 2017 and 2018. If the visa cut-off dates come earlier than expected as a result of more/faster-than-expected I-526 approvals, people will be surprised by that too. They’ll wish they hadn’t fallen asleep over this blog’s attempts to explain visa availability."  

COMMENT: folks, I cannot STRESS the importance of Suzanne’s point above.  However rapidly or slowly an I-526 gets approved, it is the FILING receipt date which determines the priority date.  That means the FASTER cases are getting approved by USCIS, the FASTER visa allocations will flow....and the FASTER the visa cut-off dates will retrogress (unless it is addressed via regulatory change or, more likely, a victory in Ira Kurzban’s lawsuit see my blog yesterday)

  • VERBATIM: “With increasing pressures and alternatives, many regional centers, real estate companies, service providers, and past investors will look to exit EB-5 in 2019.”
  • More and more EB-5 related lawsuits will keep US lawyers busy and, last but not least...
  • I-526 processing times will improve significantly with the fall in I-526 receipts.

*I’ve summarized Suzanne’s comments to shorten this posting, you can read her exact language at the link above.

Thank you yet again, Suzanne, for your invaluable role in what has become without a doubt the most complex and confounding U.S. visa category.  To my EB-5 attorney colleagues who read my blog, trust me: Suzanne's report is REQUIRED READING, please support her by clicking here.


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