USCIS' IPO is moving in the right direction


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USCIS' IPO is moving in the right direction

  1. 1. Contact Info: 716-604-4233 (cell) 716-768-6506 (landline) Page 1 USCIS’ IPO (Immigrant Investor Program Office)Appears to be Moving In The Right Direction By Joseph P. Whalen (May 24, 2014) Back on May 8, 2014, Nicholas Colucci, the Chief of USCIS’ Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) was an honored guest speaker at IIUSA’s conference in Washington, D.C. A transcript of his prepared remarks is posted on the USCIS website here. I will share some of that transcript and my thoughts on what I read. If you were to click on the printer icon on that webpage, it will print as 4 pages. This first bit lays out some key points from Chief Colucci’s overall plan for IPO: “Now, I’d like to take the remainder of the time to provide a few program updates. As I mentioned at my first stakeholder engagement in February, I plan to concentrate my time primarily in three areas:  building the foundation;  customer service and transparency;  and performance and predictability. With respect to building the foundation, by the end of this month, we hope to have upwards of 75 staff on board. This does not include those individuals from the Office of Chief Counsel and Fraud Detection and National Security, who work with the program. This is an almost 40 percent increase from where we were at the end of February. We also just had a few job announcements close, for experienced and entry-level adjudicators. It remains our goal to be at or exceed 100 staff members by the end of the fiscal year. In terms of training, we are striving to ensure our staff continues to participate in professional development opportunities. In fact, just last week we provided our staff with a 3-hour block of instruction from the Securities and Exchange Commission. We are also providing two additional training courses in the next month or so – one on business organizations and documents,such as subscription agreements and private placement memorandums, and another on international banking and money laundering. Finally, we are customizing a decision writing course to assist our adjudicators and economists in drafting clear and concise requests for evidence (RFE) and decision letters. All of this will serve to expand the depth and breadth of the knowledge of our workforce and continue to strengthen the program. “ At pp. 2-3. I am pleased to see an effort being made towards better training for the entire EB-5 staff. It is one thing to hire folks with economics degrees and strong business acumen but there is so much more involved in adjudication than such professionals realize coming into the agency fresh out of school, from some particular business environment, or off the street. Heck, law schools don’t even teach lawyers how to file anything in a court let alone an administrative agency. Now imagine some PhD economist or M.B.A. business analyst trying to figure out EB-5 legal issues. Yikes!
  2. 2. Contact Info: 716-604-4233 (cell) 716-768-6506 (landline) Page 2 Another excellent bit of information from the prepared remarks has to do with clarifying that direct and indirect jobs are defined differently between economic analyses and EB-5 law. Of course, I have been trying to pound fact that into the heads of adjudicators starting when I trained the first batch of Regional Center Adjudicators for CSC. I have also been trying to get the point across to the EB-5 Stakeholder Community, especially economists, for quite a few years now, see here, and here. “One common reason for an RFE relating to the economic modeling analysis relates to direct versus indirect jobs. As you know, USCIS regulations refer to direct jobs as those at the new commercial enterprise; however, economic models distinguish direct job and indirect jobs differently. With respect to the economic models, direct jobs refer to jobs directly related to the project. For example, construction jobs for a project are often considered “direct jobs” in the economic analysis and may be credited toward the EB-5 requirement if the jobs are expected to last at least 2 years. “ At p. 3 It’s a start which is moving in the right direction and that is what matters most to me. Far too often certain adjudicators try to hold everyone back. Some stifle creativity. Others aver, shy away from, and outright despise any positive change or progress. A few “throwbacks” crave restriction, repression, and retrogression. I am not one of them. I want to see growth, advancement, progress, as well as any and all positive change. Where do YOU stand? That’s my two-cents, for now. Joseph P. Whalen, Independent EB-5 Consultant, Advocate, Trainer & Advisor 1348 Ridge Rd | PMB 36 | Lackawanna, NY 14218 Phone: (716) 604-4233 E-mail: web or DISCLAIMER: Work is performed by a non-attorney independent business consultant. It is the client's responsibility to have any and all non-attorney work products checked by an attorney. I provide highly-individualized training based on consultationwith my clients. I serve Regional Center Principals and their counsel, potential EB-5 investors, and project developers. I am not an attorney myself although I have trained numerous attorneys and INS/USCIS adjudicators in complex issues within immigration and nationality law when I was an adjudicator there for many years. I do not prepare forms, write business plans, or create economic analyses. I do review them for clients prior to submission and suggest corrections and/or modifications to run by your attorney and investment advisor. NAICS Code: 611430 Professional and Management Development Training