Analysis of AIIA Feb. 29, 2024 Blog Post on EB-5 Data

by Carolyn Lee

Mar 1, 2024

Thanks go to AIIA for sharing the results of their latest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) document review. The AIIA blog post published on February 29, 2024, is here.

The charts below from AIIA’s blog post summarize the excellent analysis to which I understand Suzanne Lazicki has contributed.

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However, this data, while very important, does not answer the question of how many visas are actually in the demand pipeline for EB-5 visas. This is because we do not know how many dependents are attached to each investor, among other unanswered questions.

For example, in our practice, we have a high percentage of single students. If that replicates usage across the board (which we do not yet know based on the data), then even in the HUA set-asides, the demand may not be too much higher than supply.

We also do not yet have the full picture on how the State Department will categorize the demand, and how the Unreserved numbers will be used. For example, let’s assume we have backlogs in the RUA and HUA set asides. How will a RUA Canadian investor in that scenario be treated? Because rest of world (ROW) Unreserved remains current, will she have visa availability?

The other item to note is that of course, we all know that RUA has 3x the HUA set aside numbers. Yet, there are twice the number of HUA petitions. Clearly, there is something more attractive to investors about HUA cases, even knowing from the start that there are far fewer HUA numbers. Given that fact, it is difficult to predict how these numbers will actually reflect future EB-5 investor preferences for projects between HUA and RUA.

I do predict that with this information made public, again with credit to AIIA, we will see higher demand for rural projects across the board, particularly from Chinese and Indian investors.

The early investors could afford to go into HUA areas, hoping for an early priority date to “beat” the HUA backlog. But it is now clear that the current demand based on cases already filed at least meets and probably exceeds the HUA visas available. This means we will have a HUA backlog soon.

Given the usage patterns the FOIA results show, the rural projects will likely have a later backlog onset, allowing RUA investors to keep concurrently filing Adjustment of Status applications for a longer period relative to HUA investors.

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