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Construction Jobs Count in EB-5 Projects: Can we Count a Jobs with Confidence?



Construction Jobs Count in EB-5 Projects: Can we Count a Jobs with Confidence?


Mona Shah, Esq. and Yi Song, Esq.

For a some-more seasoned EB-5 practitioner, memories of when construction jobs could not be counted towards a pursuit origination requirement sojourn vivid. While it is loyal that a some construction jobs might now be counted, with a engorgement of genuine estate projects being introduced and managed by Regional Centers (RCs) nationwide, can we unequivocally count these jobs with certainty?

It is good famous that clarity is compulsory for progressing and sensitive clever and strong economies. The World Bank has ranked1 a United States fourth (4th) out of 183 countries with honour to a palliate of conducting business and fifth (5th) for safeguarding investors. With billions of dollars being poured into a EB-5 program, are USCIS policies unchanging with financier expectations?

The benefaction essay focuses on a expansion and unsentimental concentration of EB-5 manners regarding to a pursuit origination requirement for construction jobs. In doing so, a authors have entirely examined existent USCIS guidelines, distinct issues lifted in a Service’s RFEs, AAO decisions, and applicable box law.

The Development of EB-5 Law: Construction Jobs

Under stream EB-5 law, both approach and surreptitious construction jobs sum as a outcome of a unfamiliar entrepreneur’s investment, that final for during slightest dual (2) years, might now count as permanent jobs. If a construction plan is not pretty approaching to final for during slightest dual (2) years, afterwards usually a surreptitious and prompted jobs can be counted.

It should be remarkable that a emanate of construction jobs is not directly addressed in a stream regulations. Under 8 CFR § 204.6 (g)(1), a unfamiliar financier might deposit in a new blurb craving “provided any particular investment formula in a origination of during slightest 10 full-time positions for subordinate employees.” Historically, given a few and anniversary inlet of construction jobs, such jobs could not be counted towards fulfilling a pursuit origination requirement. How then, has USCIS reached a end that some construction jobs might now consecrate full-time employment?

The Evolution of a EB-5 program: Historical and Financial Considerations

It is critical to underscore a fact that a EB-5 financier module also serves as an choice process of lifting investment capital. Given this fact, it is critical to cruise certain chronological and financial conditions that might be used to explain this change in USCIS policy.

In 2003, a 9th Circuit preference of Spencer Enterprises, Inc. v. United States2 done it intensely formidable to disagree that construction jobs should validate as full-time employment. There, a justice hold that full-time use means continuous, permanent employment. As a result, during this period, EB-5 construction jobs (direct and indirect) could not be enclosed in final pursuit origination numbers.

In a box of Spencer, an EB-5 investor, Li-Hui Chang, filed her I-526 petition with a Service on May 4, 1998. (NB: This occurred before a 4 (4) vital EB-5 “precedent decisions”3 were published). The Service denied Chang’s petition on Jan 27, 1999, that she appealed to a Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). After a AAO inspected a Service’s denial, a postulant afterwards filed an interest before a Eastern District in California in 2001. The box eventually done a approach for examination and re-consideration before a 9th Circuit in 2003.

However by 2008, a financial crisis, lighted by a U.S. sub-prime housing market, plunged a universe into a good recession. Banks were reluctant to lend and many construction projects were halted mid-way. Since a EB-5 module was dynamic to emanate jobs yet choice sources of investment capital, as a unsentimental matter, it done really tiny clarity to suppress a expansion of a construction industry, that is a immeasurable creator of jobs and provider of most indispensable taxation revenues.

Senator John Cornyn (R- TX) uttered this reasonable courtesy in his Dec 10, 2008 minute to USCIS. In his letter, a Senator requested USCIS to tell a “views on a pursuit origination requirement as it relates to Regional Centers generally and a construction attention specifically”4. It is widely believed that this minute facilitated a certain and auspicious change in a Service’s views and interpretation of EB-5 pursuit origination rules.

USCIS Loosens Rules Regarding Construction Jobs

On Jan 16, 2009, underneath vigour from stakeholders such as informal centers and EB5 Practitioners USCIS expelled a process memo destined during construction jobs in response to Senator John Cornyn’s doubt destined to USCIS’s opinion about construction pursuit origination where immeasurable multi-year EB-5 investment projects were involved. USCIS’s benefaction process that nonetheless construction jobs did not count toward a 10 approach (or indirect, in a box of a informal center) jobs that contingency be sum by any investor, surreptitious pursuit origination (again in a box of a informal center) did not count. This process or superintendence did not make sense. In applicable part, Senator Cornyn’s minute settled that: “Indirect and prompted jobs sum as a outcome of construction jobs either counted or not might be enclosed in a pursuit count. Even when a construction jobs might not be counted towards a pursuit origination requirement, they do have surreptitious and prompted impacts that are authorised to be enclosed in a final pursuit count since they are ‘continuous, permanent employment’.5

USCIS’ response noted a poignant expansion in pursuit origination for a EB-5 program. Subsequently, on Jun 17, 2009, a group released a Memorandum from Donald Neufeld (i.e. a “Neufeld Memo”), that serve addressed a emanate of construction jobs6 . The Neufeld memo settled that construction jobs contingency be continual full-time employment, rather than intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient. He underscored a indicate that it is a “position” created, that contingency be full-time rather than a employee. In addition, Neufeld settled that a employees hired contingency be subordinate employees7. In a context of approach stand-alone programs, an eccentric executive does not accommodate a requirement for pursuit creation. In addition, churned part-time positions can't be sum to validate as full time employment.

The Jun 17, 2009 Neufeld Memo serve states that:

“Although use in some industries such as construction or tourism can be intermittent, temporary, anniversary or transient, officers should not bar jobs simply since they tumble into such industries. Rather, a concentration of a adjudication should be on either a position, as described in a petition, is continual full-time use rather than intermittent, temporary, anniversary or transient. For example, if a petition pretty describes a need for general laborers [Emphasis added] in a construction plan that is approaching to final several years and would need a smallest of 35 hours per week over a march of that project, a positions would accommodate a full-time use requirement. However, if, for example, a same plan called for electrical workers to yield services during 3 to 4 5 week durations over a march of a project, such positions would be scrupulously deemed to be few and not accommodate a clarification of full-time employment.”

USCIS’ new position has extremely loose a manners relating to pursuit origination for construction projects underneath a informal core program. By permitting surreptitious and prompted construction jobs as good as approach (at slightest dual (2) years in duration) construction jobs to be counted, RC’s have a genuine intensity to attract some-more investors and hence some-more investment funds. However, while USCIS is to be commended for a distribution of superintendence compared to construction jobs, a Service has not clearly defined a manners for stand-alone contra RC projects. Confusion stays as a outcome of a churned use of adjudication standards for informal core programs and for non-regional core programs.

USCIS’ Position on Construction Jobs: Recent RFEs and AAO Decisions

Based on recently-issued Requests for Evidence, USCIS has concurred that a surreptitious and prompted jobs sum by construction projects might be counted towards a sum pursuit count, even if a approach construction jobs are intermittent, temporary, anniversary and transient, supposing that a EB-5 plan is “massive, expansive, and major”.

To justify an avowal that a plan will be “massive, expanded and major”, EB-5 investors contingency contention estimable justification display that a scale, location, and turn of sophistication compulsory for a plan is such that it requires some-more than 2 years for completion. Examples of such a plan embody a forty (40) story hotel building in Manhattan and a chief energy factory.

How does one uncover that a construction plan will take dual (2) or some-more years to be completed? In this regard, USCIS has released many RFE’s requesting minute explanations and timelines of a several construction phases in RC projects as good as corroboration of a estimated costs for construction projects. In an bid to safeguard correspondence with Matter of Ho8 , in serve to a explanations mentioned, USCIS has also been requesting eccentric ancillary support to uphold any assertion. These minute requests clearly state that ancillary papers should embody a research methods used to get a project’s estimated timeline and cost.

USCIS has authorized petitions, that embody ancillary papers in a approach of allied investigate reports, affidavits of construction professionals (architects etc.) – who can pretty be deliberate to be “experts” in their margin given their educational and endless credentials in several aspects of construction projects – and feasibility studies of identical construction projects in terms of scale, location, and a like, that have taken dual (2) or some-more years to completion. These studies pretty yield benchmarks opposite that identical construction projects before a Service might be evaluated. It is also a good thought to contention a staffing mandate for construction projects – i.e. a forms of construction workers that will be compulsory and a length of time for that they will be needed.

An AAO decision9 (dated Jan 6, 2010, with File No. SRC 08 064 52066) serve confirms USCIS’ position that construction jobs that are not counted as approach jobs might but be counted as surreptitious or prompted jobs in a informal core context:

“Shorter tenure construction jobs reduction than 3 years in generation have been dynamic to be of such a brief tenure in inlet as to not be postulated and to diminution and disappear as a initial construction activities breeze down to completion. Such shorter tenure construction jobs in many locations are anniversary during best. Nevertheless, for all collateral investment expenditures for a construction phase, all capital-induced “down-stream” support activities and “indirect” jobs impacted and compared with a construction activities such as suppliers, transportation, engineering, and architectural services, upkeep and correct services, interior pattern services, production of components and materials, etc., might be factored into a calculations for origination of surreptitious jobs.”10

The authors trust that USCIS is doubtful to make any serve extreme process changes with honour to a position on construction jobs. Such changes, as occurred in 1998, will positively open a floodgates of lawsuit opposite a Service. Moreover, underneath a Administrative Procedure Act (APA), an group preference or anticipating of fact might be topsy-turvy if it is deliberate “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or unsupported by estimable evidence.” 11


The vital cases, memos, and AAO decisions essentially addresses non-regional-center projects. However, today, a immeasurable infancy of I-526 petitions are submitted underneath a informal core program. Moreover, it is widely famous that some USCIS adjudicators request non-regional-center construction pursuit manners to informal centers. The perfect bulk of a EB-5 module calls for some-more pure regulations and policies in a EB-5 arena. The EB-5 module has a intensity to emanate even some-more jobs and choice sources of investment collateral – a “win-win” for all concerned. As a result, comprehensive, consistent, and predicted EB-5 adjudication discipline are indispensable some-more than ever before.

1 World Bank and International Finance Corporation in Economy Ranking: http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings The Ease of Doing Business Index

2 Spencer Enterprises, Inc. v. United States, 229 F. Supp. 2d 1025, 1039 (E.D. Calif. 2001) aff’d 345 F. 3d 683 (9th. Cir. 2003).

3 Matter of Soffici, (A76 472 614 Jun 30, 1998); Matter of Izumii, (A76 426 873 Jul 13, 1998); Matter of Ho, (WAC-98-072-50493 Jul 31, 1998); and Matter of Hsiung, (A76 854 232 Jul 31, 1998)

4 Letter to Senator John Cornyn from USCIS offices File No. CO703.2342, Re: Job Creation Requirement for Immigrant Investor (January 16, 2009), P.1, Para. 1.

5 Id. P. 1, Para. 4

6 Memorandum from Donald Neufeld, Acting USCIS Associate Director, Domestic Operations,
to all USCIS offices, File No. HQDOMO 70/6.1.8 AD09-04, EB-5 Alien Entrepreneurs – Job
Creation and Full-Time Positions (AFM Update AD 09-04)
(June 17, 2009).

7 US citizens, LPR’s, Asylees and certain EAD holders.

8 Matter of Ho, (WAC-98-072-50493 Jul 31, 1998).

9 Office of Administrative Appeals, Filed by Texas Service Center, File No. SRC 08 064 52066 (dated Jan 6, 2010)

10 AAO preference antiquated Jan 6, 2010, File No. SRC 08 064 52066)

11 5 U.S.C. § 706; McDade v. West, 223 F. 3d. 1135, 1139 (9th Cir. 2000)

About The Authors

Mehreen Shah or Mona Shah as she is some-more ordinarily known. Born in a UK, Mona graduated from a University of Northumbria in England in 1990. Mona was certified as a Solicitor of a Supreme Court of England Wales in 1993, and was certified to a New York Bar and a United States Federal Bar in 1997. After relocating to New York in 1995, she dynamic her possess law organisation in New York City in 1997. The organisation handles authorised matters for clients worldwide. Her organisation also has a London associate bureau that allows for a illustration of European, Middle-Eastern and South Asian clients. Mona has over 17 years of authorised experience, with some-more than 13 years strong in U.S. immigration and family law and litigation. Her firm, Mona Shah and Associates, represents individual, high form and corporate clients from all over a world.

Mona is rarely proficient and gifted in EB-5 law and practice, and is a author of a stirring book for investors on a EB-5 laws and procedures. She has hands-on knowledge environment adult and substantiating EB-5 Regional Centers. Mona was also one of a 4 strange founders of New York City Regional Center and a usually Immigration Attorney on a team. Mona also founded a New York Immigration Fund, RC; her firm, Mona Shah Associates, exclusively rubbed a Times Square Hotel project. Mona Shah Associates handles a EB-5 Investor petitions for churned informal centers. Mona has authored and published countless articles including EB-5 compared articles. She has created and oral extensively on immigration law. She is mostly featured as a guest orator during authorised seminars and on internal radio news programs.

Yi Song, Esq. is an associate profession during Mona Shah Associates in New York City. She is also protected to use law in People’s Republic of China. She has used taxation law in Beijing, China with a heading taxation firm. She clerked in Beijing, a nation’s collateral during a Supreme Court of People’s Republic of China. At Mona Shah Associates, Yi practices EB-5 law and works on many successful EB-5 collateral lifting projects. She performed her LL.B. grade from Beijing Foreign Studies University and she is a connoisseur from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. Yi is a local orator of mandarin Chinese. She speaks smooth English and simple French.

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