USCIS administers the EB-5 program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program initially enacted as a pilot in 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. On February 9, 2018, the President signed Public Law 115-123; extending the Regional Center Program through March 23, 2018.
The current lapse in annual appropriated funding for the U.S. government does not affect USCIS’ fee-funded activities. Our offices will remain open, and all applicants should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled.
However, several USCIS programs will either expire or suspend operations, or be otherwise affected, until they receive appropriated funds or are reauthorized by Congress. These include:
- EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. Regional centers are a public or private economic unit in the United States that promote economic growth. USCIS designates regional centers for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program.
- E-Verify. This free internet-based system allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
- Conrad 30 J-1 doctors. This program allows J-1 doctors to apply for a waiver of the two-year residence requirement after completing the J-1 exchange visitor program. The expiration only affects the date by which the J-1 doctor must have entered the United States; it is not a shutdown of the Conrad 30 program entirely.
- Non-minister religious workers. This special immigrant category allows non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations to immigrate or adjust status in the United States to perform religious work in a full-time, compensated position.
Generally, if the government shuts for budgetary reasons, all but "essential" personnel are furloughed and are not allowed to work.
- January 21, 2018 Update: USCIS has confirmed that DACA renewal processing will continue.
DOS: Visa and passport operations are fee-funded and should not be impacted by a lapse in appropriations, but operating status and funding will need to be monitored closely. If visa operations are affected, consular posts will generally only handle diplomatic visas and "life or death" emergencies.
CBP: Inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered "essential.” Ports of entry will be open; however, processing of applications filed at the border may be impacted.
ICE: ICE enforcement and removal operations will continue, and ICE attorneys will typically focus on the detained docket during a shutdown. The ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offices are unaffected since SEVP is funded by fees.
EOIR: EOIR's detained docket is typically considered an essential function and would therefore continue to operate. During the 2013 shutdown, EOIR continued to accept court filings, even in non-detained cases.
**DOL: The OFLC would cease processing all applications in the event of a government shutdown, and personnel would not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries. OFLC's web-based systems, iCERT and PERM, would be inaccessible, and BALCA dockets will be placed on hold. - This means no labor certification processing until the government shutdown is over.
CIS Ombudsman: The DHS Office of the CIS Ombudsman would close and would not accept any inquiries through its online case intake system.
The final paragraph of the TEXT OF THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO SENATE AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1 TO H.R. 244, THE HONORING INVESTMENTS IN RECRUITING AND EMPLOYING AMERICAN VETERANS ACT OF 2017, Page 734 substitutes "September 30, 2015" with "September 30, 2017". It remains possible that Congress could pass EB-5 legislation before September 30, 2017.
With the clock ticking, Congress on Friday (4/28/2017) managed to fulfill its basic function — keeping the federal government running.
The House and Senate approved a short-term measure that funds the government for another week. Lawmakers voted hours ahead of a midnight deadline to avoid a partial shutdown of federal agencies.
Friday's extension gives members of Congress more time — until midnight on May 5 — to try to reach a deal on a spending bill that will last through the rest of fiscal year 2017, which ends Sept. 30.
USCIS has issued a proposed rule on "modernization of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program" changing some MAJOR provisions governing EB-5, including: Raising of the minimum capital investment amount to $1.8million (and $1.35 for TEA); Priority Date retention; Elimination of state designation of high unemployment areas. Public comment period ends 4/11/2017.
The Senate is moving forward with an extension of the EB-5 immigrant investor program as is and reforms to the program appear unlikely.
The provision to extend the program is included in the continuing resolution, a short-term budget bill that allows the government to keep running until early December.
The investor visa program, EB-5, is set to expire on September 30, unless Congress can temporarily extend it, or reform it to cut down the loopholes and eliminate the numerous cases of fraud that surface with the program.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the launch of a Known Employer pilot to assess a new process for employers seeking to hire certain workers through employment-based visa categories.