USCIS Debuts Online Regional Center Termination Hub : Immigration Law Firm Houston Texas
USCIS Debuts Online Regional Center Termination Hub
Regional centers are a common method through which investors making an EB-5 visa application invest in the US. Such a center has to be approved by the USCIS. However, some of the regional centers are corrupt and are only interested in siphoning money from investors. The USCIS now has a hub where applicants can view terminated regional centers. We at RunRex.com have taken time to study the hub, and this is what we found out.
The Decision by the USCIS
The USCIS will now proactively publish regional center termination notices online as they are made available. This is consistent with their vow for transparency under the EB-5 program. This is an important step that is designed to help investors, the EB-5 industry, and the public understand the reason why a regional center has been terminated.
It will also go a long way in helping everyone understand the kind of activities that can cause a regional center to be shut down. The hub will contain a full list of centers whose activities have been fully suspended. That means they are no longer allowed to receive any investment.
The Termination of Regional Centers
To terminate a center, a notice of intent will be issued by the USCIS. This notice will be issued when the center:
- Does not submit information requested by the USCIS
- It longer promotes economic growth as it was intended
To avoid termination, a regional center has to provide within 30 days, evidence showing that it should be allowed to continue operating. The evidence must demonstrate that the claims made by the USCIS are not true.
However, it is important to note that a notice of intent does not bar the regional center from continuing to operate. The notice of intent is different from the notice of termination. In some cases, the notice of intent will not lead to a termination.
The Decision for Termination
The USCIS reviews any responses that arise from the notice of intent, and they decide whether the regional center has provided sufficient proof to suspend the termination.
If the regional center is allowed to continue working, a notice of reaffirmation is issued. It means the regional center will continue to operate under the immigrant investor program. However, if a termination is issued, a full list of the reasons will be issued.
The Appeals Process
When a regional center is terminated, it has a right to appeal. Besides the appeal, the regional center could just file a motion to have the center reopened.
About Terminated Regional Centers
When a regional center has been terminated, it cannot generate, solicit, promote investment, or investors, or participate in activities reserved for investors in accordance with the immigrant investor program.
How Does it Affect the EB-5 Applicant
When a regional center is terminated, the permanent residency of an EB-5 applicant is not automatically terminated. Thus, if they already made an investment in a commercial enterprise associated with the terminated center, they do not need to worry. The investor will still be allowed to continue demonstrating that they are complying with the rules of the EB-5 program.
Responsibilities of the investor
It is up to the investor to conduct further investigations regarding regional centers. The USCIS will make an effort to update the online hub often. However, that does not mean that the hub will always be up to date. Information provided by the hub should not be sufficient to trust a regional center.
The USCIS clearly states that information on the page is not any kind of legal advice. A potential investor has to be diligent with their money and conduct research. To do that, the USCIS recommends that they get in touch with a financial professional before making any decision. To get more information, one can get in touch with the US Securities and Exchange commission. They have better guides on how to sniff out scams targeting EB-5 investors.
Example of a Terminated Center
This decision was issued regarding the South Dakota regional center. According to the USCIS, there were solid grounds for termination. These problems included:
- The mismanagement, theft or fraud by a regional center or entities closely associated with it
- The diversion of investor funds from activities of job creation.
- Failure of due diligence or lack of proper oversight on the part of the regional center over JCEs or NCEs
- Criminal activities by the regional center or entities closely associated with it
- Negligent actions by the regional center which include turning a blind eye to illegal activity related to investor funds
- Failing to company with all laws and regulations relating to US securities
What the decision by the USCIS proves is that it is quite serious about these regional centers. It is thus prudent for the investor to take time and find out what a regional center does. If they feel uncomfortable even slightly, they can always choose another one.