FY 2010: Looking Good for Vietnam EB-5 Investors!

[NOTE FROM JOSE: Folks, we normally translate important news like today’s into Vietnamese but AVS Vietnam and I are too busy with final $500K case prep to do so. I suggest you use Google Translate if you want it in Vietnamese, it won’t be pretty but you’ll get the key points!]

Good MORNING, Vietnam!  Today, October 1, is the day the U.S. government begins its new fiscal year.  As we told you yesterday, the EB-5 Regional Center program was given another temporary extension, this one until November 21, 2019 when the landmark EB-5 Modernization Regulation rule takes effect.  This means that as of November 21, investors in TRUE TEA projects hosted by AVS Regional Center and a very few others will see the price of admission increase from $500,000 to $900,000, while all the big city projects in affluent neighborhoods will need to find investors willing to pay $1.8M to apply for EB-5.  For the first time in the almost 30 years, projects in rural and poor urban areas will be able to compete fairly for EB-5 foreign direct investment by being able to offer their investors EB-5 at 50% of the investment required for non-TEA EB-5 projects.

Imagine that: Congressional intent realized 3 decades after the fact…better late than never, right? (-;

But the big news here is for Vietnam EB-5 investors. The new October Visa Bulletin contains some very interesting information.  As always, the brilliant Suzanne Lazicki has tackled this with great analysis and detail in her latest LucidText blog, but here are my key takeaways specifically as relating to Vietnamese EB-5 investors.

First of all, as has happened in the past, the new Visa Bulletin showed the entire global supply of EB-5 Center visa availability as “unavailable”.  DON’T PANIC!   When the bulletin was published, the President had not yet signed the last-minute temporary spending bill which has now extended the Regional Center program till Nov. 21.   The authors of Visa Bulletin anticipated this, going on to say that “If there is legislative action extending [the RC Program] for FY-2020, Vietnam… which would be subject to an October 15, 2016 final action date.” 

But here’s where things get more interesting for Vietnamese EB-5 investors with recent or upcoming I-526 approvals:  USCIS issued their own update saying that in October 2019, applicants from Vietnam living in the U.S. and have their I-526 approved (and are waiting on the backlog) can file their I-485 Adjustment of Status…. regardless of their priority date!  Think about this for a second:  a Vietnamese college student in the U.S. today in F-1 status with an approved (or soon-to-be-approved) I-526 who has been expecting a 5+ year delay can file their adjustment of status NOW and get their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole for Travel, giving them much more flexibility than what they have with their F-1.  (Mind you, the priority date wait still applies for the actual issuance of conditional residency, but with permission to work and live anywhere and not necessarily remain in full time studies, it really gives the person many more options!)

And check THIS out, the USCIS Adjustment of Status page begins with a very intriguing sentence: 

“If USCIS determines there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, we will state on this page that you may use the Dates for Filing chart.”

So what does this mean?  First off, remember this is an annual event: on October 1 every year, each country receives its annual allotment of 700 visas (the 10,000 annual EB-5 slots divided equally between nations).  Usually, these get used up by the heavy demand countries like India, China, and Vietnam but with USCIS I-526 adjudications operating at a snail’s pace, that’s just not happening. It means that if there are not enough Vietnamese I-526 approvals queued up to consume the 700 annual slots now that they’ve been release – and there are almost certainly NOT – than anyone eligible to adjust status in the U.S. can use the “Date of Filing” chart…which reflects all countries except China as “current”!  This means that the option of adjusting status for Vietnamese investors with approved I-526s is likely to continue through a good part of FY 2020, especially in light of the dramatic reduction in EB-5 demand expected after price increases.

The State Department predicts that the EB-5 in the coming year will remain current for the most of the world, but that it is “too early to predict” for China, India, and Vietnam. 

Here’s MY prediction for Vietnam:  the reduction in filings plus the new fiscal year allocation will probably result in a short-term but substantial reduction in projected backlog for Vietnamese EB-5 applicants.  If I’m right, it will be interesting to see how that will play out against the new Nov. 21 price increases.

For those of you who seek to avoid all the drama, stop messing around and INVEST NOW with AVS EB-5 (or at least with one of the other TRUE TEA projects on the market which will not be adversely impacted by the November 21 reform implementation).  The clock is ticking!

Jose Latour