Episode 188: Reflections on the Impact of Visa Backlogs in Set-Asides & Other Matters

Episode 188: Reflections on the Impact of Visa Backlogs in Set-Asides & Other Matters

From the EB-5 Visa Bulletin and its impact on the TEA, rural and infrastructure set-asides, USCIS delayed processing and the effect it has on investors, to the highly covered arrest of Wailian Group President Linda He, a lot has been going on in the past month!

In this episode, our resident EB-5 experts, Mona Shah and Rebecca Singh, weigh in on the latest in EB-5 news and what it really means for the industry.

Under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, “RIA”, understanding the visa bulletin in relation to the new visa set-aside categories means “differentiating between those who filed prior to 2022 and those who filed thereafter.”

With the use of both Chart A Application Final Action Dates – dates when visas may be issued and Chart B Dates for Filing Applications – when applicants may apply, USCIS appears to still be figuring the best way to move forward with the severe backlog of adjustment cases through EB-5. Add in the changes that RIA brought in allowing concurrent filing and it’s been a headache for everyone to understand.

Mona: “Chart B is akin to a door which USCIS can open and close at their own whims and fancies.”

Moreover, with the September EB-5 Visa Bulletin showing that quotas will be reached, Mona and Rebecca predict backlogs in most if not all the visa set aside categories for fiscal year 2023.

Rebecca: “At the end of the day, what USCIS needs to do, or hopefully Congress, is give us more visas or take away the dependents.”

Parallel to the visa bulletin backlogs is, what Mona describes as, “the rural phenomena” in which we are seeing regional centers pushing for rural projects with claims of petitions approved in less than a year. With such huge incentives for people, particularly those in backlogged countries such as China and India, our experts predict a backlog in this set aside in the not-too-distant future.

USCIS’s decision to now determine TEA designations, instead of states, further burdens the Service and adds another layer of approval that projects will now be at the mercy of USCIS for. Rebecca talks about possible USCIS systems that could be implemented to speed up the TEA designation process.

Further analysis of the impact of the visa bulletin and backlogs are discussed in this highly useful breakdown of the types of projects regional centers will be pushing, what investors will be looking to invest in and how the timing of applications directly affects families and children who age out as well as the seemingly unfair adjudication of pre-RIA cases against post-RIA cases.

Rebecca: “I feel that they’re hurting the pre-RIA cases without really looking into them and adjudicating them. They just want to kind of move on to the new cases that have been filed.”

The last hot topic discussed is the arrest of Wailian Group President Linda He and what it means for the Chinese Market. Mona and Rebecca consider whether the arrest is really a sign of the Chinese government cracking down on EB-5 and CBI investments or if it’s a reflection of their focus to “slow down the migration wave that’s been happening, especially since post-COVID.”

Mona: “At the end of the day, USICS should be solely focused on U.S. laws. They cannot rely on agencies or foreign governments for this purpose.”