Friday, February 20, 2015

Regional center marketers usually lie, but USCIS numbers don't lie: The case of the missing EB-5 visas.

For years I've been saying that EB-5 visa investors who apply through regional centers have a very low chance of getting their I-829 (permanent green card) petition approved, and yesterday a reader called and asked me what was the basis of my statements. Well, here it is in black and white, and straight from the horse's mouth: The USCIS just released figures for approvals and processing times, and readers are welcome to put the numbers together and do the math. As you can see, about ten to twenty percent of the EB-5 visa investor applicants are denied right away at the I-526 stage, and this is expected to grow even more due to the USCIS increasing their scrutiny. EB-5 visa investors can also see that from the approved EB-5 visa investors, many of them don't see regional centers file their I-829 as the regional centers can't substantiate job creation, because they've been too busy siphoning off funds. For instance, we can see that in 2010, 1369 I-526 petitions were approved but only 712 I-829 petitions were filed in 2012. Similarly, we can see that in 2011, 1571 I-526 petitions were approved and only 1217 petitions were received in 2013. EB-5 visa investors also need to keep in mind that if they were to compare the number of petitions filed with the number of I-829's approved, the results are quite shocking. 

USCIS statistics on I-526 EB-5 petitions for FY2008 –  FY2015
Year Received Approved Denied Pending
2008 1,258 642 120 853
2009 1,031 1,265 208 514
2010 1,953 1,369 165 1,125
2011 3,805 1,571 372 3,347
2012 6,041 3,677 957 5,018
2013 6,346 3,699 943 7,131
2014 10,923 4,925 1,169 12,453
2015 (First Quarter) 2,941 1,652 133 13,526
Total 34,298 18,800 4,067 43,967
USCIS statistics on I-829 EB-5 petitions for FY2008 –  FY2015
Year Received Approved Denied Pending
2008 391 161 69 454
2009 437 350 57 735
2010 768 274 56 1,167
2011 2,345 1,067 46 2,395
2012 712 736 60 1,013
2013 1,217 844 44 1,345
2014 2,516 1,603 178 2,075
2015 (First Quarter) 810 69   3,080
Total 9196 5104 510 12264
The fact is, most EB-5 visa investors who invest in regional centers get a temporary green card but do not get permanent green card and become illegal aliens as they fail to maintain status because regional centers don't file their I-829's. On the other hand, EB-5 visa investors who invest in Genuine Direct Investment Businesses don't have that problem. As we can see, between 2008 and 2014, only 5104 EB-5 visa investors got their permanent green cards and only 9196 I-829 petitions were actually received. It doesn't take a genius to count the numbers and understand that investing in regional centers is a big mistake from the legal AND economic perspective.

These are the exact same numbers why 3 Senators wrote to the GAO to initiate an audit into the EB-5 visa program, and this is exactly why ICE - HSI specifically recommended that regional centers be shut down, and those who wish to learn more can read the secret ICE memo at to confirm that ICE explicitly listed several reasons for shutting down regional centers.

The SEC has already started their own investigation to target sleazy lawyers who have illegally marketed and sold regional center securities (see link at, and the fact is, regional centers knew that they've illegally offered and sold securities in the US and abroad to EB-5 visa investors.

The problem is, many immigration attorneys ILLEGALLY received commission for recommending terrible investments (also known as "projects") to EB-5 visa investors, resulting in EB-5 visa investors losing their time, money AND EB-5 visas. It is unscrupulous immigration and securities lawyers who collude with regional center owners and dishonest immigration agents to defraud EB-5 visa investors.

The fact is, many unscrupulous attorneys collude with immigration agents and regional centers to defraud EB-5 visa investors and get illegal commission checks in the process as a reward for convincing EB-5 visa investors to invest in regional centers that are such terrible investments, that nobody in the US is willing to invest in them.

Investigators and analysts from SEC, FBI, USCIS - FDNS, ICE-HSI, IRS-CID and Dept. of State are collectively working to block regional centers from the EB-5 visa program, and that regional centers will NOT be allowed to remain in the EB-5 visa program after September 2015. Jared Polis has introduced a bill to renew the regional center program, but the regional center bill is guaranteed to fail this year as it failed last year as not only is the bill opposed by about 140,000 investigators and their unions, it is also opposed by several powerful politicians and the results of the GAO audit due this summer are only bound to solidify the opposition to the renewal.

As a matter of fact, the regional center extension has a 2% chance of going through (see link at, and in real terms has no chance of being passed due to the fact that government agencies, law enforcement unions, powerful politicians and thousands of investigators are up in arms against regional centers.

EB-5 visa investors need to remember that the ONLY safe way to get approved is through Genuine Direct Investment Businesses.

Here are some of the critical reasons that EB-5 visa investors should ALWAYS choose Genuine Direct Investment Businesses and avoid regional centers:
·         In a Genuine Direct Investment Business, it is quite unusual to encounter fraud or conflict of interest. This alone is THE biggest reason why EB-5 visa investors usually experience capital loss if they opt for regional centers or unsafe Direct Investments (such as Voodoo or Marcos Pizza), while those who opt for Genuine Direct Investment Businesses usually NEVER experience capital loss.
·         EB-5 visa investors who choose Genuine Direct Investment Businesses usually earn annual ROI of 15% to 40%, while those who select regional centers usually earn 0-2% annual ROI.
Genuine Direct Investment Businesses offer easy exit strategies to EB-5 visa investors while those who invest in regional centers experience TERRIBLE exit strategies. 
·         Regional Centers usually commit securities fraud and securities law violations while this is usually unheard of in Genuine Direct Investment Businesses. 
·         EB-5 visa investors usually get capital gains if they invest in a Genuine Direct Investment Business and almost NEVER get capital gains if they invest in a regional center. 
·         EB-5 visa investors in Genuine Direct Investment Businesses usually see faster processing and approval of their petitions, while it takes much longer for EB-5 visa investors to get their immigrant visa through regional centers. 
·         EB-5 visa investors in Genuine Direct Investment Businesses have a higher chance of getting their permanent green card, while those who opt for regional centers have a lower chance of getting their green card. 

If you are a business owner or high net worth individual interested in migrating to the US, please contact us for a free consultation. We offer a turnkey solution and have a 100% fee refund guarantee if a client is denied due to our fault.

Mohammed Shaikh, MBA (Accounting), CFE, Licensed Business & RE Broker (CA & FL)
Online Phone: +1 407 535 0616

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