US Homeland Security Department Secretary Napolitano announced on Aug. 2, 2011 “Initiatives to Promote Startup Enterprises and Spur Job Creation” and among those initiative measures, certain intake and review process as previously proposed in May 2011 by USCIS in “Fundamental Enhancements” to streamline the EB-5 process is now officially further enhanced.
This enhanced transforming intake and review process now includes:
- extending the availability of premium processing for certain EB-5 applications and petitions;
- implementing direct lines of communication between the applicants and USCIS;
- providing applicants with the opportunity for an interview before a USCIS panel of experts to resolve outstanding issues in an application.
USCIS is developing a phased plan to roll out these enhancements and is poised to begin implementing the first of these enhancements within 30 days. This means very soon we will be able to see EB-5 petitions being adjudicated within a matter of 2 to 3 weeks time, under the approved “Premium Processing” procedure.
EB-5 refers to a special immigrant classification under “Employment Based 5th Preference,” also known as “million dollar green card” by the general immigrant communities and it allows a foreign entrepreneur to invest certain amount of capital in the US that entitles the investor and his/her qualified family members to the permanent residence or “green card,” provided that certain other prerequisite conditions are met. This classification was authorized by a law created by Congress in 1990, and the program stimulates the U.S. economy through capital investment and resulting job creation by immigrant investors. As of June 30, 2011, it is estimated that the program has resulted in more than $1.5 billion in capital investments and created at least 34,000 jobs. Incidentally, most of those investors came from Asian countries, with China and South Korea in particular.
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