Status of EB-5 re-authorization
As we enter 2022, the Regional Center EB-5 program still remains without reauthorization. USCIS has left many thousands of existing investors stuck in limbo. As I previously mentioned, the program will be reauthorized by attaching the EB-5 bill with the Omnibus spending bill. But with Congress not prioritizing the omnibus annual spending bill in 2021, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. The current Continuing Resolution (CR – a stopgap measure passed by Congress till the Omnibus is finalized) is slated to expire on February 18 2022. The House of representatives have now passed a short term CR till March 11. For the first time in a while, there are indications that an Omnibus spending bill will get done by March 11. The EB-5 industry is once again abuzz with the news that the EB-5 program will be authorized on March 11.
March 11: What needs to be done for EB-5 Reauthorization
The EB-5 industry is coming together with their wants and needs to be included in the EB-5 reauthorization bill. The important names to remember in Washington are Congressman Jerry Nadler of NY, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Democratic Senator and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy and the Senior most Republican Senator in Congress, Charles Grassley. With Senators Grassley and Leahy pushing for integrity reforms in the EB-5 program, the EB-5 industry is walking a tightrope to ensure the Senators demands are met and at the same time their wish-list is also included. Speaking to industry insiders, I feel that the industry will concede whatever they have to ensure the EB-5 program is reauthorized again.
What is in the new EB-5 Bill
As I mentioned above, there are a lot of changes that can occur when the final form of the EB-5 bill is passed on March 11, but as of now, these are some of the new features in the draft EB-5 bill:
- Increase in EB-5 TEA investment limit to $700,000. Non-Tea limit will be $850,000
- 3000 EB-5 Visas set-aside for rural & TEA projects (out of which 2000 are for rural & 1000 are for TEA)
- Redefinition of the TEA area to include upto 16 census tracts and opportunity zones
- Freeze the age of any children under the age of 21 at the time of I-526 filing
- Dependents of EB-5 investors will not count towards the annual 10,000 EB-5 Visa limit
- Priority processing of EB-5 petitions for Investors in Infrastructure EB-5 projects
- 5 years reauthorization of the EB-5 program to avoid annual shutdowns of the EB-5 program
- Grandfathering of existing investors, so that even if the program expires in the future, existing EB-5 investors petitions will still be processed and conditional green cards allocated.
A few of these will not make the final cut, I can predict that Dependents not counting in EB-5 visa limit will surely be removed from the final bill as none of the other categories (EB-1/2/3) have this exemption. A couple of the others will also be cut or modified.
Close watch for next 4 weeks
Plenty of things can still go wrong during these last 4 weeks before March 11, which can result in EB-5 reauthorization not happening. Hopefully, that won’t be the case and we can finally get a long term reauthorization and stability to the program alongside integrity reforms which will benefit the investors.
Send me an email if you would like to discuss more indepth about the reauthorization and the possible outcomes for the EB-5 program: [email protected]