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【今日移民头条】美国移民局3月3日利益相关者会议内容纪要

  美国当地时间3月3日,美国移民局的EB-5利益相关者会议如期召开。此次会议提供了一些重要信息,重点内容如下:

  EB-5申请数据:2016年10月~12月,递件数量不断激增,移民局共收到4,395份I-526申请,752份I-829申请,184份I-924申请。在这一季度,IPO(投资移民项目办公室)审理了3,583份I-526申请(创历史新高),112份I-829申请(接近历史最低点),和88份I-924申请。IPO目前正在调整资源到I-829申请的审理上面。投资移民项目办公室主任Colucci表示,IPO上个月审理的I-829申请比上一季度审理的数量还要多。

  IPO员工:IPO正在服从冻结联邦政府雇员招聘的行政命令;但是,USCIS(美国移民局)已经为一些关键职位请求豁免,并且已经获得了审案职位的豁免。目前,IPO拥有157名员工(低于去年底171名员工的目标)。根据冻结招聘令和豁免,IPO本财年可以雇佣247名员工。增加员工是IPO加快审理效率的主要策略。

  

  I-829审理:2016年10月,IPO设立了一个新的部门专门负责I-829裁决和客户服务咨询。该部门将有3个团队,每个团队有8名审案人员和经济学家。每个团队最高级的成员将对I-829申请人进行面试,大多数面试将在地方办事处的协助下远程进行(I-829申请人可以带法律顾问、翻译和区域中心代表参加面试)。IPO预计,一旦该部门人员配备齐全并培训,I-829裁决效率将显著提高。现在,新设部门已经有18名员工,其中包括3名高级经济学家和3名高级审案人员,目前正在进行交叉培训以提高工作效率。

  区域中心报告:IPO称他们 “很快”会在USCIS电子阅览室公布区域中心关停通知,以提高关停原因的透明度。他们还计划公布每家区域中心的申请获批与被拒情况。

  合规、审计、实地考察:IPO已经将合规部发展成了一个部门,负责监管募集的投资(区域中心和直投投资),并有3个分支审核I-924A、发出关停通知以及监督审核。IPO已经培训了13名实地考察人员,并计划在今年组织对250个项目的实体考察。IPO向利益相关者承诺将把所有考察结果记录整理成文字,并且在发出RFE(补件通知)或NOID(拒绝意向通知)通知申请人之前,不会根据考察信息做出决定。将有两种类型的实地考察:因项目问题引发的实地考察以及随机的实地考察。

  政策:IPO计划不久后将通过USCIS政策手册公布维持投资的相关内容。

  递件贴士:IPO提出了有助于递件裁决的实践方法。他们要求在递交申请时,同时递交一封说明信、目录,并用制表符分隔;文件应为单面,有页码;复印件应清晰可辨,尽可能附上翻译件。申请中应表明是直投还是区域中心。I-924申请不需要包含组织和交易文件,除非与I-526样本申请有关。如果递交有更改的文件,将更改的部分用黄色高亮显示,或用其他醒目的方法显示。决定撤销申请的申请人需要通知IPO其撤销申请的决定。


  附Suzanne Lazicki的博客英文原文

  Today’s EB-5 Stakeholder Engagement with USCIS provided a number of important updates. I have uploaded my recording, and summarized a few highlights.

  EB-5 Petition Statistics: In October to December 2016, IPO saw a continued surge in petition filings, with 4,395 I-526 petitions received, 752 I-829 receipts, and 184 I-924 receipts. During that quarter, IPO processed 3,583 I-526 petitions (a record high), 112 I-829 petitions (a near-record low), and 88 I-924 petitions. IPO is now reorienting resources toward I-829, after having previously prioritized I-526 and I-924. Mr. Colucci commented that IPO processed more I-829’s last month than in all of last quarter.

  IPO Staffing: IPO is subject to the executive freeze on Federal agency hiring; however, USCIS has requested exemptions for certain “mission-critical” positions, and IPO has received an exemption for its adjudicator position. IPO now has 157 employees (below their target of 171 employees for the end of last year). IPO is authorized to hire up to 247 employees this fiscal year, subject to the hiring freeze and any exemptions. Increased staffing is IPO’s primary strategy for improving processing times.

  I-829 Processing: In October 2016, IPO created a new division to focus on Form I-829 adjudications and customer service inquiries. The division will have three teams, with eight adjudicators and economists on each team. The most senior member of each team will interview I-829 petitioners, with most interviews conducted remotely with assistance from local field offices. (As previously stated, the I-829 petitioner can bring her counsel, qualified interpreter, and a representative from the regional center if applicable.) IPO expects I-829 adjudication output to improve significantly once this division is fully staffed and trained. There are currently 18 of 24 people on board, including three senior economists and three senior adjudicators who are working to cross-train for improved efficiency.

  RC Reporting: IPO says that they will “soon” publish regional center termination notices in the USCIS Electronic Reading Room to promote transparency about reasons for termination. They are also planning to publish petition approval and denial statistics for each regional center.

  Compliance, Audits, Site Visits: IPO has grown its compliance unit to become a division that oversees pooled investments (both regional center and pooled direct investments) with three branches to review I-924A, issue termination notices, and oversee audits (the first of which is scheduled for next month). IPO has trained 13 site inspectors from around the country, and expects to conduct about 250 EB-5 project site visits this year. IPO reassured stakeholders that IPO would interpret any site visit results in context, and would not make decisions based on the info before notifying petitioners through RFE or NOID. There are two types of site visits: for-cause visits triggered by questions about the project, and random visits that are scheduled at some point between I-526 approval and I-829 filing.

  Policy: IPO plans to publish content related to sustained investment “in the near future” in the USCIS Policy Manual (rather than finalizing the draft August 2015 policy memo). IPO reviewed comments on the Policy Manual but does not plan any changes in response to the comments.

  Regional Center geographic area expansion must now be approved BEFORE I-526 petitions can be filed:Here is a transcription of what Lori Mackenzie said (starting at minute 25 of the recording):

  We also received some questions related to the new Policy Manual publication as well as to the new I-924 Form release, which was effective on December 23, 2016, and the question really does relate to an expansion of geographic scope of a regional center. So just to give everyone a little bit of background around that. There is some guidance in the May 2013 Policy Memo that talks about how to expand geographic scope. After that guidance, we published the Policy Manual in November of 2016 which superseded that guidance, and then on December 23 we issued some guidance with respect to the Form I-924 and the instructions for filing the Form I-924. And so the question really relates to ‘if a Regional Center has filed an I-924 amendment requesting an expansion of geographic scope, may concurrent I-526 petitions be filed in the meantime relying on such proposed expanded geography?’ And the response to that is a little tricky, so you might want to take a few notes. We will continue to adjudicate all petitions filed prior to December 23, 2016, which is the effective date of the new Form I-924, under the prior guidance. So the May 2013 policy guidance holds for that. Petitions filed on or after December 23, 2016 must follow the current guidance, which means that Form I-526 petitions based on an area not previously approved will be deniable due to ineligibility at the time of filing. Note that in May 2016, prior to publication of the final revised Form I-924, we did provide the public with an opportunity to comment on this process by publishing the draft form in the Federal Register.

  I had been wondering about this issue, ever since I noticed that the November 2016 USCIS Policy Manual dropped two little words — “geographic area” – out of the May 2013 Policy manual’s sentence about changes not requiring an amendment. Stakeholders strongly encouraged IPO to reconsider this surreptitious policy change, which has major implications for in-process projects that relied on previous policy, and which is unworkable considering that USCIS may take over a year to process amendment requests.

  Filing Tips: IPO noted practices that would facilitate adjudications. They requested that petitions come with a cover letter and table of contents and tab-separated sections; that documents be single-sided, with page-numbers, and not permanently bound; and that copies be clear and legible and come with full translation if applicable. The petition should indicate whether it’s direct or regional center, and whether it’s part of a dual I-924/I-526 filing. I-924 applications need not include organizational and transactional documents unless associated with an Exemplar I-526. If submitting an interfiling with revised documents, highlight changes with yellow highlighter or some other method that is readily noticeable. Petitioners who have decided to abandon the process are requested to notify IPO of the decision to withdraw their petitions.

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更新时间:2017-03-07
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