As of the evening of March 10, 2022, the very important appropriations bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. At the time of writing this article, we are still waiting for President Biden to sign the bill. He is expected to sign it.
Included in this bill are new provisions relating to the EB- 5 program including (most importantly) the extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program (RC Program) for a period of five years. This is the longest extension given by Congress in a very long time to the RC Program.
In addition to various security and control measures which benefit EB-5 investors in the security of their investments, the investment amounts have been increased to $800,000 for the targeted employment area (TEA) and $1,050,000 for the other (non-TEA) areas. Targeted employment areas are redefined and include high unemployment areas being 150% of the unemployment in the area relative to the national average. Also selected economic zones are now included. The new investment price is required immediately upon signing by the president. All cases previously filed are locked in at the lower investment amounts at the time of filing.
This brings us the story of the day: Our office arranged for one of our senior staff to fly to Dallas (Lewisville), TX to personally arrange for the filing of three of our qualifying EB- 5 cases that missed the California 5:30 PM FedEx cutoff on March 10th. I’m glad to announce that all three cases were received by FedEx and delivered by FedEx to USCIS on time to lock in these investors’ lower investment amounts.
Direct pooled investments of more than two investors are no longer permitted under the new law. All investments that have more than one EB-5 investor in the same project now falls under the regional center program and requires an RC to sponsor. This will allow for direct employment with compliance under all the rules of a regional center. Those projects may or may not have indirect and induced jobs counted based on their specific business models.
We now go into a very exciting time in the EB-5 world: after nine months of absolute uncertainty, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
There is a pent-up demand for EB-5 investments and there is pent-up demand by investors throughout the world. The current wars and uncertainties around the world increase the number of potential and willing investors.
There are still major concerns with the EB-5 investment program:
There are not enough visa numbers available for all of those people already waiting in line as well as for those who are expected to join the line very shortly.
Over the past nine months, USCIS’ processing has dropped to an all-time low with very few cases being adjudicated over the past 24 months. There have been less than 10 EB-5 adjudications each month for the last 6 months or so.
We are all hopeful that USCIS will bring all the EB-5 adjudicators back into the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) and once again begin processing EB-5 cases expeditiously and efficiently. It appears that the extreme restrictions imposed during the prior presidential administration are being eased to make adjudications reasonable and realistic. This is also great news!
The author has been practicing EB-5 immigration law since the inception of the Program in 1990 and was one of the first attorneys to file a successful EB-5 case at the beginning of 1991. Since then, he has lectured, published, and traveled the world presenting on the EB-5 program. David Hirson and Partners, LLP has been in business for more than 40 years and focuses on business and investment immigration law. Our firm also provides a full range of immigration law services including litigating in federal court in immigration law related cases.