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How will the Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze affect I-526 applicants?

I filed my I-526 in September 2016 and assume it will be reviewed in about 14 - 18 months according to the IPO''s processing times. I have heard that the USCIS will hire new officers, but it was before the new memorandum. What should I expect with the new memorandum regarding the Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze? Will it affect the processing times and cause trouble in the EB-5 immigration program?

Answers

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    Answered on

    The Hiring Freeze of the Federal government is not new and it happens every time the administration changes, especially from one party to another. This is to give the new administration the time to assess what is going on with the agencies before submitting their own budget. USCIS does not rely on appropriation and their operations are funded by the fees that they charge, which I note has been increased dramatically recently with the express purpose of reducing the processing backlogs. However, as part of the Department of Homeland Security, it is likely that the hiring freeze could affect them in the short-term until the administration allows them some special exemption from this freeze.

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    Answered on

    The hiring freeze should not be lightly implied and speculated on. At this point in time, no one can predict and state unequivocally the possible effect(s) of the hiring freeze. The better counsel is that all stakeholders of EB-5 immigration need to adopt a-wait-and-see attitude.

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    Answered on

    One can only speculate, but if the Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze goes into effect and there is no exemption for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it could obviously delay the adjudications of EB-5 investor petitions on Form I-526. The significant backlogs are due almost entirely the fact that there has been a huge increase in the number of I-526 petitions filed, and the CIS has been unable to hire and train qualified CIS adjudicators to keep up with the growing number of petitions. If there is a freeze, that would obviously make things worse, but it is too early to tell.

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    Answered on

    The IPO already has 160 employees. This is very close to their planned peak. With new streamlined processing, they should become more efficient. Also, as officers become more experienced, we will likely see faster adjudications.

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    Answered on

    Unfortunately, I do not think anyone can accurately predict how this order will translate into processing times. It is really too early to tell.

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    Answered on

    CIS can choose how to allocate its resources, so there is no way to know how many officers they will dedicate to EB5s.

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    Answered on

    The Hiring Freeze should not have a direct or immediate effect on EB-5 processing, but time will tell.

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