EB-5 Statistics: Abusers Remain Active

By David North on August 25, 2021

The rhetorical lengths to which the apologists for the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program — with the main part of it now dead for 50 days — will go is amazing.

Even before the Senate refused to extend the program beyond its sunset date of June 30, the program was in dire straits, with the number of EB-5 regional centers dropping steadily and the number of applications from alien investors (the Form I-526) plummeting.

It is in that context that this cheerful piece appeared in EB-5 Magazine:

The number of I-526 filings received by the USCIS in the first half of Fiscal Year 2021 has amounted to a total of 189, which is approximately double the average rate received in the previous three quarters. It is hard to arrive to conclusions about why this effect took place in the last two quarters, but it is possible that it is related to the fact that now, more than in recent history, the economic uncertainty in the world has increased significantly and investors are now looking at the U.S. as a robust economy and a place to live with political and economic stability.

While the numbers did double (from a tiny base), what this pro-EB-5 writer leaves out is the fact that there are 10,000 visas available in the program every year, usually relating to 4,000 or so I-526 filings. There are about 2.5 members of each investing family.

So 189 filings for six months suggests 378 filings a year, which is less than 10 percent of the legal limit. Are EB-5 “investors ... now looking at the U.S. as a robust economy” compared to how they used to regard it? Only if you load the statistical dice.

The part of the EB-5 program that involved regional centers and pooled I-526 investments was always a temporary one, needing to be renewed by Congress from time to time. A less controversial part of EB-5 — rewarding foreign investors for actually coming to the U.S. to manage a company that they finance themselves — has both a permanent legislative base and virtually no customers.

EB-5 investors in the pooled-funds program just want to use a bit of their money to buy an extra passport, they’re not prospective business managers. That’s another fact that EB-5 boosters never mention.