Changes to EB-5 program imminent - as soon as March 23rd!
As we reported earlier, changes to the current EB-5 program would happen soon... and as predicted, a draft EB-5 bill was proposed late last week, called the “Immigrant Investor Visa and Regional Center Program Comprehensive Reform Act” or “EB-5 Reform Act". The proposed bill is being circulating in draft form and may become enacted as early as March 23, 2018. As briefly outlined below, the draft bill proposes significant changes to the EB-5 program, including increases to the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $925,000.
Here are some key points on the proposed EB-5 Reform Act:
- The bill was proposed by Senator Grassley and Senator Cornyn, Republican Senators
- The bill is being proposed for inclusion in the Congressional omnibus package to be passed on March 23rd
- Visas to be set aside for certain types of projects (“set-asides”): 1,450 visas for investments made in rural areas; 1,450 visas for priority urban projects; and 200 visas for infrastructure projects
Some “not so bad” points:
- Reauthorizes the Regional Center Program to 2023, so no more temporary extensions
- Will allow for concurrent filing of the I-526 petition and adjustment of status petition, if the investor applicant is not subject to the backlog
- Will allow for the investor to immediately file to become a Permanent Resident (and forgo the process of "conditional removal of permanent residency"), if the investment and employment creation have been completed and more than 24 months has passed
- “Grandfather" provisions — if an investor files his/her I-526 petition before March 23rd, the investor’s petition is grandfathered under the current rules. Certain projects will qualify for "grandfathering" as well, under limited circumstances
Some "not so good" points:
- Investment amount increases to: $925,000 for projects in areas of high unemployment or targeted employment areas (TEA), and $1,025,000 for projects in areas of regular or high employment
- From the date of enactment of proposed bill, the immigration agency ("USCIS") will stop accepting investor and regional center petitions for 120 days (“120-day moratorium”)
- It will be mandatory for investors to present certain records as part of their filing, which shall include tax records going back 7 years, foreign business records, etc.
- Increased levels of integrity and transparency provisions and fees for all Regional Centers
While we cannot predict with certainty that this bill will pass on March 23rd in its current form, we are urging all potential investors and clients to contact us right away, if interested in participating in the EB-5 program under the current rule; and filing a petition prior to March 23rd. Or if you would like more information on the proposed rule, please contact us as soon as possible.