23 Mar I-526 Approvals Post Memorandum Changes
March 23, 2012
The Florida Regional Center’s EB-5 Project, Harbourside Place, received the first I-526 petition approval from the USCIS post new rules and regulations regarding job creation numbers calculation.
In the past several months, the USCIS has begun to more stringently review the document criteria needed to approve an EB-5 Visa Investor’s I-526 petition. The I-526 petition process requires would be EB-5 investors to submit a wealth of information regarding their financial sourcing of funding for the investment, as well as requiring the regional center to submit several documents regarding the validity of the investment and the job creation numbers.
In lieu of the more stringent USCIS guidelines towards the EB-5 Program, the Florida Regional Center has received the first I-526 approval in the industry post memorandum changes for their project Harbourside Place in Jupiter, Florida. The development is currently under construction and is set on the East Coast of Florida by the Atlantic Ocean. The facility will feature an entertainment plaza and outdoor amphitheatre, retail space, restaurants and eateries, office sites, hotel accommodations and marina slips. Harbourside Place is projected to create more than 2,400 jobs over the next three years and will provide exceptional economic stimulus for the region.
The EB-5 program had recently come under fire by many individuals for its industry wide standard of the calculation of job creation numbers. Newly hired USCIS economists and business analysts have brought some new insights relating to job creation when petitioners are applying under the “tenant-occupancy” methodology. This prompted the USCIS to begin to look at how these figures were being calculated and what was deemed to be an actual job created, rather than a job relocated or moved. Many regional centers are simply funding the construction of projects and then simply leasing the spaces out to would be tenants and counting the tenants job creations as their own. The USCIS deemed this to be an inaccurate calculation of the job creation numbers for a project, as the project being constructed was only indirectly creating a job. All of this has resulted in multiple requests For Evidence (RFE’s) having been issued on behalf of many petitioners.
The EB-5 Project, Harbourside Place, is unlike many other projects being offered on the market today. While many projects only lease spaces in the new building, Harbourside Place, LLC owns 100% of the Harbourside Place Project. Harbourside Place, LLC will directly operate more than 60% of all the business comprised within the Harbourside Place development including the Westin Hotel & Conference Center; thus eliminating the tenant-occupancy issues altogether. Furthermore, Harbourside has a sufficient amount of indirect construction jobs, which is eminent to the job creation under the new policy as well.
In conclusion, applying the regulations currently being discussed in USCIS and using a very conservative calculation, the Harbourside Place project will still create a large surplus of jobs, which will ensure the success of our EB-5 investors. We recommend our investors and agencies always solicit advice from the presiding government authority or a “qualified” expert on important legal issues instead of relying on any inaccurate interpretations from individuals.