USCIS EB5 Memorandum - Part 2

7. The Location of the New Commercial Enterprise in a Regional Center

As previously mentioned, there is a regional center model within the EB-5 Program that allows for not only “direct job” creation, but “indirect job creation” as demonstrated by reasonable methodologies. Originally introduced as a “pilot program,” and now titled the “Immigrant Investor Program,” the program provides investors with expanded opportunities to demonstrate job creation in accordance with a series of job creation rules discussed below. “Regional center” is defined as follows:

Regional center means any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(e).

A regional center that wants to participate in the Immigrant Investor Program must submit a proposal using Form I-924, that:

  1. (1) Clearly describes how the regional center focuses on a geographical region of the United States, and how it will promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment;
  2. (2) Provides in verifiable detail how jobs will be created directly or indirectly;
  3. (3) Provides a detailed statement regarding the amount and source of capital which has been committed to the regional center, as well as a description of the promotional efforts taken and planned by the sponsors of the regional center;
  4. (4) Contains a detailed prediction regarding the manner in which the regional center will have a positive impact on the regional or national economy in general as reflected by such factors as increased household earnings, greater demand for business services, utilities, maintenance and repair, and construction both within and without the regional center; and,
  5. (5) Is supported by economically or statistically sound valid forecasting tools, including, but not limited to, feasibility studies, analyses of foreign and domestic markets for the goods or services to be exported, and/or multiplier tables. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(m)(3)(i)-(v).

USCIS will review the proposed geographic boundaries of a new regional center and will deem them acceptable if the applicant can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed economic activity will promote economic growth in the proposed area. The question is a fact-specific one and the law does not require any particular form of evidentiary showing, such as a county-by-county analysis. In USCIS’s experience, the reasonableness of proposed regional center geographic boundaries may be demonstrated through evidence that the proposed area is contributing significantly to the supply chain, as well as the labor pool, of the proposed projects. The Immigrant Investor Program was implemented with the goal of spurring greater economic growth in the geographic area in which a regional center is developed. The regional center model within the Immigrant Investor Program can offer an immigrant investor already-defined investment opportunities, thereby reducing the immigrant investor’s responsibility to identify acceptable investment vehicles. As discussed fully below, if the new commercial enterprise is located within and falls within the economic scope of the defined regional center, different job creation requirements apply.

A regional center can contain one or more new commercial enterprises. The level of verifiable detail required for a Form I-924 to be approved and provided deference may vary depending on the nature of the Form I-924 filing. If the Form I-924 projects are “hypothetical” projects, 2 general proposals and general predictions may be sufficient to determine that the proposed regional center will more likely than not promote economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. Determinations based on hypothetical projects, however, will not receive deference and the actual projects on which the Form I-526 petitions will be based will receive de novo review during the subsequent filing (e.g., an amended Form I-924 application including the actual project details or the first Form I-526 petition filed by an investor under the regional center project). Organizational and transactional documents submitted with a Form I-924 hypothetical project will not be reviewed to determine compliance with program requirements since these documents will receive de novo review in subsequent filings. If an applicant desires review of organizational and transactional documents for program compliance, a Form I-924 application with a Form I-526 exemplar should be submitted. Form I-924 applications that are based on actual projects may require more details than a hypothetical project in order to conclude that the proposal contains verifiable details and is supported by economically or statistically sound forecasting tools.

3 Determinations based on 2 An “actual project” refers to a specific project proposal that is supported by a Matter of Ho compliant business plan. A “hypothetical project” refers to a project proposal that is not supported by a Matter of Ho compliant business plan. The term “exemplar” refers to a sample Form I-526 petition, filed with a Form I-924 actual project proposal, that contains copies of the commercial enterprise’s organizational and transactional documents, which USCIS will review to determine if they are in compliance with established EB-5 eligibility requirements. 3 In cases where the Form I-924 is filed based on actual projects that do not contain sufficient verifiable detail, the projects may still be approved as hypothetical projects if they contain the requisite general proposals and predictions. The projects approved as hypotheticals, however, will not receive deference. In cases where some projects are approvable as actual projects, and others are not approvable or only approvable as hypothetical projects, the approval notice should contain a statement identifying which projects have been approved as actual projects and will be accorded deference and those projects that have been approved as hypothetical projects but will not be accorded deference. actual projects, however, will be accorded deference to subsequent filings under the project involving the same material facts and issues. While an amended Form I-924 application is not required to perfect a hypothetical project once the actual project details are available, some applicants may choose to file an amended Form I-924 application with a Form I-526 exemplar in order to obtain a favorable determination which will be accorded deference in subsequent related filings, absent material change, fraud, willful misrepresentation, or a legally deficient determination (discussed in more detail below).

C. The Creation of Jobs

In developing the EB-5 Program, Congress intended to promote the immigration of people who invest capital into our nation’s economy and help create jobs for U.S. workers. Therefore, the creation of jobs for U.S. workers is a critical element of the EB-5 Program. It is not enough that the immigrant invests funds into the U.S. economy; the investment must result in the creation of jobs for qualifying employees. As discussed fully below, the EB-5 Program provides that each investment of the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise must result in the creation of at least ten jobs. It is important to recognize that while the immigrant’s investment must result in the creation of jobs for qualifying employees, it is the new commercial enterprise that creates the jobs.

4 This distinction is best illustrated in the non-regional center context by an example: Ten immigrant investors seek to establish a hotel as their new commercial enterprise. The establishment of the new hotel requires capital to pay financing costs to unrelated third parties, purchasing the land, developing the plans, obtaining the licenses, building the structure, taking care of the grounds, staffing the hotel, and the many other types of expenses involved in the development and operation of a new hotel. The immigrant’s investments can go to pay part or all of any of these expenses. Each immigrant’s investment of the required amount of capital helps the new commercial enterprise – the new hotel – create ten jobs. The ten immigrants’ investments must result in the new hotel’s creation of 100 jobs for qualifying employees (ten jobs resulting per each individual immigrant’s capital investment).

See 8 C.F.R. §204.6(j) (it is the new commercial enterprise that will create the ten jobs). Since it is the commercial enterprise that creates the jobs, the developer or the principal of the new commercial enterprise, either directly or through a separate job-creating entity, may utilize interim, temporary or bridge financing – in the form of either debt or equity – prior to receipt of EB-5 capital. If the project commences based on the interim or bridge financing prior to the receipt of the EB-5 capital and subsequently replaces it with EB-5 capital, the new commercial enterprise may still receive credit for the job creation under the regulations. Generally, the replacement of bridge financing with EB-5 investor capital should have been contemplated prior 4 8 C.F.R § 204.6(j)(4)(i). to acquiring the original non-EB-5 financing. However, even if the EB-5 financing was not contemplated prior to acquiring the temporary financing, as long as the financing to be replaced was contemplated as short-term temporary financing which would be subsequently replaced, the infusion of EB-5 financing could still result in the creation of, and credit for, new jobs. For example, the non EB-5 financing originally contemplated to replace the temporary financing may no longer be available to the commercial enterprise as a result of changes in availability of traditional financing. Developers should not be precluded from using EB-5 capital as an alternative source to replace temporary financing simply because it was not contemplated prior to obtaining the bridge or temporary financing. It is also important to note that the full amount of the immigrant’s investment must be made available to the business(es) most closely responsible for creating the jobs upon which EB-5 eligibility is based. Matter of Izummi, 22 I&N Dec. at 179. Thus, in the regional center context, if the new commercial enterprise is not the job-creating entity, then the full amount of the capital must be first invested in the new commercial enterprise and then made available to the jobcreating entity. Id.

1. Full-Time Positions for Qualifying Employees

The EB-5 Program requires that the immigrant investor invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise in the United States that “will create full-time positions for not fewer than 10 qualifying employees.” 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j). An “employee” is defined as follows: Employee means an individual who provides services or labor for the new commercial enterprise and who receives wages or other remuneration directly from the new commercial enterprise. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(e).

The employee must be a “qualifying employee” for the purpose of the EB-5 Program’s job creation requirement. A “qualifying employee” is defined as follows: Qualifying employee means a United States citizen, a lawfully admitted permanent resident, or other immigrant lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States including, but not limited to, a conditional resident, a temporary resident, an asylee, a refugee, or an alien remaining in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include the alien entrepreneur [immigrant investor], the alien entrepreneur’s spouse [immigrant investor’s], sons, or daughters, or any nonimmigrant alien. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(e).

The EB-5 Program’s job creation requirement provides that it is “full-time employment” that must be created for the ten or more qualifying employees. INA § 203(b)(5)(A)(ii), 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5)(A)(ii). “Full-time employment” is defined as follows: Full-time employment means employment of a qualified employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week.

A full-time employment position can be filled by two or more qualifying employees in a job sharing arrangement as long as the 35-working-hours-per-week requirement is met. However, a full-time employment position cannot be filled by combinations of part-time positions, even if those positions when combined meet the hourly requirement. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(e). Direct jobs that are intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature do not qualify as full-time jobs for EB-5 purposes. Consistent with prior USCIS interpretation, however, jobs that are expected to last for at least two years generally are not intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature.

Due to the nature of accepted job creation modeling practices, which do not distinguish whether jobs are full- or part-time, USCIS relies upon the reasonable economic models to determine that it is more likely than not that the indirect jobs are created and will not request additional evidence to validate the job creation estimates in the economic models to prove by a greater level of certainty that the indirect jobs created, or to be created, are full-time or permanent. USCIS may, however, request additional evidence to verify that the direct jobs will be or are full-time and permanent, which may include a review of W-2s or similar evidence at the Form I-829 stage.

2. Job Creation Requirement

As previously discussed, the centerpiece of the EB-5 Program is the creation of jobs. The immigrant investor seeking to enter the United States through the EB-5 Program must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least ten qualified employees. There are three measures of job creation in the EB-5 Program, depending on the new commercial enterprise and where it is located:

a. Troubled Business

The EB-5 Program recognizes that in the case of a troubled business, our economy benefits when the immigrant investor helps preserve the troubled business’s existing jobs. Therefore, when the immigrant investor is investing in a new commercial enterprise that is a troubled business or, in the regional center context, is placing capital into a job-creating entity that is a troubled business, the immigrant investor must only show that the number of existing employees in the troubled business is being or will be maintained at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j)(4)(ii).

This regulatory provision, while allowing job preservation in lieu of job creation, does not decrease the statutory numeric requirement; in the case of a troubled business, ten jobs must be preserved, created, or some combination of the two (e.g., an investment in a troubled business that creates four qualifying jobs and preserves all six pre-investment jobs would satisfy the statutory and regulatory requirements).

A troubled business is defined as follows: [A] business that has been in existence for at least two years, has incurred a net loss for accounting purposes (determined on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles) during the twelve- or twenty-four month period prior to the priority date on the alien entrepreneur’s [immigrant investor’s] Form I-526, and the loss for such period is at least equal to twenty percent of the troubled business’s net worth prior to such loss. For purposes of determining whether or not the troubled business has been in existence for two years, successors in interest to the troubled business will be deemed to have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(e).

b. New Commercial Enterprise Not Associated with a Regional Center

For a new commercial enterprise that is not associated with a regional center, the EB-5 Program provides that the full-time positions must be created directly by the new commercial enterprise to be counted. This means that the new commercial enterprise (or its wholly-owned subsidiaries) must itself be the employer of the qualified employees who fill the new full-time positions. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(e) (definition of employee).

c. New Commercial Enterprise Located within and Associated with a Regional Center

For a new commercial enterprise that is located within a regional center, the EB-5 Program provides that the full-time positions can be created either directly or indirectly by the new commercial enterprise. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6((j)(4)(iii). Investors investing in a regional center are subject to all the same program requirements except that they may rely on indirect job creation as demonstrated through reasonable methodologies. 8 C.F.R. §§ 204.6(m)(1), (7).

Indirect jobs are those that are held outside of the new commercial enterprise but are created as a result of the new commercial enterprise. For indirect jobs, the new full-time employees would not be employed directly by the new commercial enterprise. For example, indirect jobs can include, but are not limited to, those held by employees of the producers of materials, equipment, or services used by the new commercial enterprise. Indirect jobs can qualify and be counted as jobs attributable to a regional center, based on reasonable economic methodologies, even if they are located outside of the geographical boundaries of a regional center.

For purposes of demonstrating indirect job creation, petitioners must employ reasonable economic methodologies to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the required infusion of capital or creation of direct jobs will result in a certain number of indirect jobs.

3. Evidence of Job Creation

In order to show that a new commercial enterprise will create not fewer than ten full-time positions for qualifying employees, an immigrant investor must submit the following evidence:

  • (A) Documentation consisting of photocopies of relevant tax records, Form I-9, or other similar documents for ten (10) qualifying employees, if such employees have already been hired following the establishment of the new commercial enterprise; or,
  • (B) A copy of a comprehensive business plan showing that, due to the nature and projected size of the new commercial enterprise, the need for not fewer than ten (10) qualifying employees will result, including approximate dates, within the next two years, and when such employees will be hired. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j)(4)(i).

For purposes of the Form I-526 adjudication and the job creation requirements, the two-year period described in 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j)(4)(i)(B) is deemed to commence six months after the adjudication of the Form I-526. The business plan filed with the Form I-526 should reasonably demonstrate that the requisite number of jobs will be created by the end of this two-year period. Our AAO precedent decision has articulated the standards by which USCIS will review a business plan:

The plan should contain a market analysis, including the names of competing businesses and their relative strengths and weaknesses, a comparison of the competition’s products and pricing structures, and a description of the target market/prospective customers of the new commercial enterprise. The plan should list the required permits and licenses obtained. If applicable, it should describe the manufacturing or production process, the materials required, and the supply sources. The plan should detail any contracts executed for the supply of materials and/or the distribution of products. It should discuss the marketing strategy of the business, including pricing, advertising, and servicing. The plan should set forth the business’s organizational structure and its personnel’s experience. It should explain the business’s staffing requirements and contain a timetable for hiring, as well as job descriptions for all positions. It should contain sales, cost, and income projections and detail the bases therefore. Most importantly, the business plan must be credible.

Matter of Ho, 22 I&N Dec. at 213. USCIS will review the business plan in its totality to determine if it is more likely than not that the business plan is comprehensive and credible. A business plan is not required to contain all of the detailed elements described above, but the more details the business plan contains, as described in Matter of Ho, the more likely it is that the plan will be considered comprehensive and credible.

In the case of a troubled business, a comprehensive business plan must accompany the other required evidentiary documents. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j)(4)(ii). In the case of a new commercial enterprise within a regional center, the direct or indirect job creation may be demonstrated by the types of documents identified above or by reasonable methodologies. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j)(4)(iii). When there are multiple investors in a new commercial enterprise, the total number of full-time positions created for qualifying employees will be allocated only to those immigrant investors who have used the establishment of the new commercial enterprise as the basis for their entry in the EB-5 Program. An allocation does not need to be made among persons not seeking classification in the EB-5 Program, nor does an allocation need to be made among non-natural persons (such as among investing corporations). 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(g)(2). In general, multiple EB-5 investors petitioning through a regional center or on a standalone basis may not claim credit for the same specific new job. Thus, as a general matter, a petitioner or applicant may not seek credit for the same specifically identified job position that has already been allocated in a previously approved case.

V. Procedural Issues

The EB-5 Program provides that the immigrant investor will file an initial petition and supporting documentation to be classified as eligible to apply for an EB-5 visa through USCIS’s adjustment of status process within the United States or through the Department of State’s visa application process abroad. Upon adjustment of status or admission to the United States, the immigrant investor is a conditional lawful permanent resident. INA § 216A(a). The EB-5 Program further provides that if, two years after obtaining conditional permanent resident status, the immigrant investor has sustained the investment, created or can be expected to create within a reasonable period of time ten full-time jobs to qualifying employees, and is otherwise conforming to the EB-5 Program’s requirements, the conditions generally will be removed and the immigrant investor will be an unconditional lawful permanent resident. INA § 216A(d)(1); 8 C.F.R. § 216.6(c).

A. The Sequence of Individual Investor Filings

An immigrant investor seeking admission into the United States as a lawful permanent resident will proceed in the following sequence:

1. The Form I-526 Petition
  • For an immigrant investor who is investing in a new commercial enterprise that is not part of a regional center, the immigrant investor will file a Form I-526 that, together with the supporting evidence, demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the immigrant investor has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, lawfully obtained capital in a new commercial enterprise in the United States that will create fulltime positions for not fewer than ten qualifying direct employees.
  • For an immigrant investor who is investing in a new commercial enterprise that is part of a regional center: o The entity seeking designation as a regional center will file a Form I-924 that, together with the supporting evidence, demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the requirements for a regional center have been met. The individuals who establish the regional center can be, but need not be, the immigrant investors themselves; and, o Once USCIS designates the entity as a regional center, each immigrant investor will file a Form I-526 that, together with the supporting evidence, demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the immigrant investor has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, lawfully obtained capital in a new commercial enterprise in the United States that will create directly or indirectly full-time positions for not fewer than ten qualifying employees. It is important to note that at this preliminary Form I-526 filing stage, the immigrant investor must demonstrate his or her commitment to invest the capital but need not establish that the required capital already has been invested; it is sufficient if the immigrant investor demonstrates that he or she is actively in the process of investing the required capital. However, evidence of a mere intent to invest or of prospective investment arrangements entailing no present commitment will not suffice. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j)(2); see Matter of Ho, 22 I&N Dec. at 210. Similarly, at this preliminary stage the immigrant investor need not establish that the required jobs already have been created; it is sufficient if the immigrant investor demonstrates in a business plan that it is more likely than not that the required jobs will be created. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j); 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(m).
2. The Form I-829 Petition

Within ninety days prior to the two-year anniversary of the date on which the immigrant investor obtained conditional lawful permanent resident status, the immigrant investor will file a Form I- 829 to remove the conditions. The Form I-829 petition to remove conditions must be accompanied by the following evidence:

  1. (1) Evidence that the immigrant investor invested or was actively in the process of investing the required capital and sustained this action throughout the period of the immigrant investor’s residence in the United States. The immigrant investor can make this showing if he or she has, in good faith, substantially met the capital investment requirement and continuously maintained his or her capital investment over the two years of conditional residence. At this stage the immigrant investor need not have invested all of the required capital, but must have substantially met that requirement. The evidence may include, but is not limited to, an audited financial statement or other probative evidence such as bank statements, invoices, receipts, contracts, business licenses, Federal or State income tax returns, and Federal or State quarterly tax statements; and,
  2. (2) Evidence that the commercial enterprise created or can be expected to create, within a reasonable time, ten full-time jobs for qualifying employees. In the case of a troubled business, the immigrant investor must submit evidence that the commercial enterprise maintained the number of existing employees at no less than the pre-investment level for the period following his or her admission as a conditional permanent resident. At least ten jobs must be preserved or created per immigrant investor. The evidence may include, but is not limited to, payroll records, relevant tax documents, and Forms I-9. See 8 C.F.R. § 216.6(a)(4)(ii-iv).

It is also important to note that the EB-5 Program allows an immigrant investor to become a lawful permanent resident, without conditions, if the immigrant investor has established a new commercial enterprise, substantially met the capital requirement, and can be expected to create within a reasonable time the required number of jobs. All of the goals of capital investment and job creation need not have been fully realized before the conditions on the immigrant investor’s status have been removed. Rather, the regulations require the submission of documentary evidence that establishes that it is more likely than not that the investor is in “substantial” compliance with the capital requirements and that the jobs will be created “within a reasonable time.”

The “within a reasonable time” requirement permits a degree of flexibility to account for the realities and unpredictability of starting a business venture, but it is not an open-ended allowance. The regulations require that the business plan submitted with Form I-526 establish a likelihood of job creation “within the next two years,” 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(j)(4)(i)(B), demonstrating an expectation that EB-5 projects will generally create jobs within such a timeframe. Whether a lengthier timeframe for job creation presented in a Form I-829 is “reasonable” is to be decided based on the totality of the circumstances presented, and USCIS has latitude under the law to request additional evidence concerning those circumstances. Because the law contemplates two years as the baseline expected period in which job creation will take place, jobs that will be created within a year of the two-year anniversary of the alien’s admission as a conditional permanent resident or adjustment to conditional permanent resident may generally be considered to be created within a reasonable period of time. Jobs projected to be created beyond that time horizon usually will not be considered to be created within a reasonable time, unless extreme circumstances, such as force majeure, are presented.

B. Regional Center Amendments

Because businesses strategies constantly evolve, with new opportunities identified and existing plans improved, the instructions to Form I-924 provide that a regional center may amend a previously-approved designation. The Form I-924 provides a list of acceptable amendments, to include changes to organizational structure or administration, capital investment projects (including changes in the economic analysis and underlying business plan used to estimate job creation for previously-approved investment opportunities), and an affiliated commercial enterprise’s organizational structure, capital investment instruments or offering memoranda. Such formal amendments to the regional center designation, however, are not required when a regional center changes its industries of focus, its geographic boundaries, its business plans, or its economic methodologies. A regional center may elect to pursue an amendment if it seeks certainty in advance that such changes will be permissible to USCIS before they are adjudicated at the I-526 stage, but the regional center is not required to do so. Of course, all regional centers “must provide updated information to demonstrate the center is continuing to promote economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment in the approved geographic area . . . on an annual basis,” 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(m)(6), through the filing of their annual Form I-924A.

C. Deference to Previous Agency Determination

Distinct EB-5 eligibility requirements must be met at each stage of the EB-5 immigration process. Where USCIS has evaluated and approved certain aspects of an EB-5 investment, that favorable determination should generally be given deference at a subsequent stage in the EB-5 process. This policy of deference is an important part of ensuring predictability for EB-5 investors and commercial enterprises (and the persons they employ), and also conserves scarce agency resources, which should not ordinarily be used to duplicate previous adjudicative efforts.

As a general matter, USCIS will not reexamine determinations made earlier in the EB-5 process, and the earlier determinations will be presumed to have been properly decided. Where USCIS has previously concluded that an economic methodology satisfies the requirement of being a “reasonable methodology” to project future job creation as applied to the facts of a particular project, USCIS will continue to afford deference to this determination for all related adjudications, so long as the related adjudication is directly linked to the specific project for which the economic methodology was previously approved. For example, if USCIS approves a Form I-924 or Form I-526 presenting a Matter of Ho compliant business plan and a specific economic methodology, USCIS will defer to the finding that the methodology was reasonable in subsequent adjudications of Forms I-526 presenting the same related facts and methodology. However, USCIS will still conduct a de novo review of each prospective immigrant investor’s lawful source of funds and other individualized eligibility criteria.

Conversely, a previously favorable decision may not be relied upon in later proceedings where, for example, the underlying facts upon which a favorable decision was made have materially changed, there is evidence of fraud or misrepresentation in the record of proceeding, or the previously favorable decision is determined to be legally deficient. A change in fact is material if the changed circumstances would have a natural tendency to influence or are predictably capable of affecting the decision. See Kungys v. United States, 485 U.S. 759, 770-72 (1988) (defining materiality in the context of denaturalization). Where a new filing involves a different project from a previously-approved filing, or the same project but with material changes to the project plan, deference will not be afforded to the previous adjudication because the agency is being presented with the given set of facts for the first time.

Since prior determinations will be presumed to have been properly decided, a prior favorable determination will not be considered legally deficient for purposes of according deference unless the prior determination involved an objective mistake of fact or an objective mistake of law evidencing ineligibility for the benefit sought, but excluding those subjective evaluations related to evaluating eligibility. Unless there is reason to believe that a prior adjudication involved an objective mistake of fact or law, USCIS should not reexamine determinations made earlier in the EB-5 process. Absent a material change in facts, fraud, or willful misrepresentation, USCIS should not re-adjudicate prior USCIS determinations that are subjective, such as whether the business plan is comprehensive and credible or whether an economic methodology estimating job creation is reasonable.

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