Without warning, USCIS has launched the EB-5 Regional Center Compliance Audit Program.
Let's look at what the EB-5 Regional Center Compliance Audit Program does and how it effects investors, developers, and regional centers.
USCIS announced the start of the EB-5 Regional Center Compliance Audit Program on March 21, 2017. The main purpose of the program is to verify petition information and program compliance by conducting on site visits.
USCIS will assign employees to review all relevant filing information in the I-924 applications submitted by regional centers. These employees will verify that all the information provided is accurate and up-to-date.
After all the application information is reviewed, the USCIS employees will conduct site-visits to the regional centers. USCIS has kept what information they will be looking for at the site-visits vague. However, one piece of information that may request is the I-924 application filings. These 1000+page filings will then have to be kept on site at the regional center in case the employee requests to view them. It is unclear what other information may be requested. Therefore, it may be extremely difficult at this point for a regional center to prepare for a site-visit.
Some information that could be requested during a site-visit include:
- Job creation documentation
- Daily management operations information for the sponsored projects
- The Form I-924A as well as possibly more frequent updates (more than the annual report submitted with the Form I-924A) on the regional center's promotion of economic growth.
This new program could cause major delays for application processing times which would directly impact investors, developers and regional centers. It also means that regional centers will have to spend time preparing for a possible site-visit.
It's unclear thus far what the chances are that a regional center will be selected for a site-visit or what the consequences are if a regional center declines a site-visit.
It may become important for regional centers to designate a specific employee as a point of contact for USCIS site-visits. This employee should be trained to answer any critical questions due to the possibility of the USCIS employee taking any answers and recording them on file for your regional center.
For more information, consult an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney.