We hope this newsletter finds you well and know many of you eagerly await an update on AIIA’s progress. With the massive support from our volunteers, donors, and supporters, AIIA achieved its main objective of including the grandfathering language (FIFPA) in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) in March 2022. The activity we see with investor petitions today is owed entirely to Congress adopting these grandfathering provisions. While this legislation was a massive win for our community and the EB-5 program overall, extensive work still remains to be done to ensure that EB-5 investors’ interests are well protected in the coming months and years.
What has AIIA been up to?
The grandfathering language in the RIA laid the foundation of our future work. Over the last three months, we have engaged with a range of supporters, including our investor community, attorneys, lobbyists, and policymakers in identifying the priority areas of our future work. Broadly, we remain committed to continuing our engagement with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government and investing robustly in education and member services.
Additionally, AIIA has been gearing up to offer other benefits to investors in the future, including educational campaigns for our donors and supporters and assistance with investment and immigration issues. We have also been preparing to publish our financial statements (expected in August) and address important administrative tasks which were left on the backburner as we pursued FIFPA and prepared for the passage of RIA.
Our core team along with our expanded advisory and volunteer team is committed to providing the most up-to-date information on the EB-5 program and advocating for investors who have been neglected by the program’s pitfalls. Dialogue and communication with all our stakeholders will be crucial in the coming years, as we embark on our ambitious agenda.
Where is AIIA headed next?
In furthering AIIA’s overall objective of representing and safeguarding investors, two broad areas demand our focus. The first is the decision to de-authorize existing Regional Centers by USCIS According to USCIS’s interpretation (currently being challenged in court), the RIA “repealed the legacy Regional Center Program and any prior designations”, a caveat which led to over 600 Regional Centers closing. As of May 16th, USCIS reported only 56 new Regional Center applications filed, and none yet approved. As a result, the Regional Centers that sponsored our investments are “no longer authorized” by USCIS, not allowed to raise new EB-5 investment until USCIS approves their new applications for designation, and – whether or not they choose to apply for a new designation – are no longer required to file annual reports to USCIS, as they were previously, regarding the progress of sponsored investments. *A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction in the Behring case. We will update this newsletter as new information is received.
This raises many concerns for the investor community. With the uncertainty around the status of the RCs, how can we protect our ability to complete our immigration and investment cycles? We need to be proactive and engaged in making sure that the evolving landscape for EB-5 investment issuers does not leave many of us stranded. The vacuum created by the sudden deauthorization of so many RCs can have many unintended consequences.
The second broad area comprises other ongoing issues of concern for us, including the following:
- USCIS has yet to publish most of the regulations needed to fully implement the RIA. We need to ensure that the forthcoming regulations do not undermine or dilute what is otherwise strong grandfathering language in the bill. Additionally, it must not intentionally or unintentionally make it more difficult for investors to receive the visas they were promised.
- Delays abound at every step of the immigration process (I-526s, I-829s, I-485s, consular interviews, and the movement and transfer of files from one agency or department to another). There is a long standing need for better processing standards to avoid lengthened wait times and promote visibility and transparency. Opportunities for increased visa availability for EB-5 investors is something we continue to seek.
- Many investors will continue to need intervention and/ or support in repayment or redeployment issues for their investments.
- Lastly, we need to actively promote a broader EB-5 community of all relevant stakeholders – investors, attorneys, service providers and investment issuers – to ensure that a healthy collaborative ecosystem remains the underpinning of this program.
AIIA is Hiring
So far, AIIA has been led by a volunteer board of directors, further assisted by a larger team of volunteers. However, with our ambitious work targets there is no doubt that AIIA needs to be transformed into a professional organization that represents and fully protects its primary constituency of American immigrant investors.
We have therefore decided to hire a full-time Executive Director or Program Manager to lead the organization through its next phase of growth. The ideal candidate will be comfortable planning and conducting all aspects of AIIA’s project work such as budgeting, scheduling and collaborating with internal and external teams. The existing board will continue to provide strategic guidance, supervision and setting priorities. Other important responsibilities will include ownership of our communications, marketing and outreach – including our periodic newsletters, social media channels, blogs and paid and earned media presence; member updates and communications; educational content creation and event planning. Although in-person work in the D.C. area is preferred, there are options for remote work as well. Eligible candidates will have the following qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as business, communications, or political science
- Experience in past non-profit work including program support or operations coordination is preferred
- Excellent attention to detail
- Strong communication, organizational, analytical and critical thinking skills
- Experience organizing and managing data (Salesforce/Virtuous or similar CRM experience preferred)
- Independent self-starter and motivated individual who sets priorities, and self-manages deadlines
- Excellent customer service skills and a resourceful personality.
Additionally, we are looking for graduate and undergraduate interns interested in working in the immigration space to staff our office virtually or in-person. Interested applicants for Program Manager, Executive Director, and unpaid/paid Internships can visit this link to apply. Anyone within or associated with the EB-5 community or seeking to gain experience in the fields of advocacy, immigration by investment, immigration law, and government affairs is especially encouraged to apply! This is also an excellent opportunity for individuals looking to gain a real insight into the inner workings of the EB-5 industry in particular, and business and immigration processes in general.
On Friday, the 1st of July 2022 we will be hosting a Zoom call for the EB-5 community. Come hang out with the board members of AIIA and hear the latest on EB-5 and what AIIA has been hard at work on. You can register for this call here.
Do look out for our future newsletters and communications, which will further outline our plans in detail and provide updates from the field! We are excited to see AIIA thriving and continuing to protect your interests in the coming months and years.