FAST TRACK TO US GREEN CARDS - Assisting families around the world to become permanent residents of the United States.
By: Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP
On March 8, 2018, a draft of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa and Regional Center Program Comprehensive Reform Act (the “EB-5 Reform Act”) was released. This new proposal is similar to earlier congressional reform attempts but also includes new provisions that would dramatically affect the EB-5 industry – both in the short-term and long-term. If passed, the Act would authorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program – currently set to expire on May 23, 2018 – until September 30, 2023. This longer-term extension is welcome news, as it would provide the certainty that the EB-5 industry has lacked during the past few years.
As of the publication of this blog, it does not appear that the EB-5 Reform Act has been formally introduced into Congress for debate or discussion. Nevertheless, it’s possible that the legislation will be attached to the Omnibus bill that would fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year, which is expected to be released this week. It’s likely that if the EB-5 Reform Act is not passed in the next couple weeks, any legislative reform to the EB-5 Program before September 30, 2018 is unlikely. In summary, this may be the last chance for this year, as mid-term elections will undoubtedly freeze further action for the year.
Here are ten things to know about the EB-5 Reform Act.
Because of these three significant changes, and the potential for children to “age out” because of limited EB-5 visa availability, we expect many Regional Centers may seek projects which meet these criteria. However, anecdotal evidence is that many existing projects will qualify for the set-asides so the 4 benefit will largely be used up very quickly.
While this bill is slightly better than the prior similar proposal, it does nothing to protect investors who have already committed capital to the program expecting to be able to immigrate within a reasonable time. The U.S. government’s change in the visa allocation places those investors from China and now Vietnam that is also backlogged, into a substantial disadvantage. These investors anticipated that approximately 10,000 visas were available at the time they invested, only to discover that the U.S. government has now retroactively cut the visa supply to favor a subset category. This is plainly bad policy and undermines the U.S. government’s credibility and the very basis for the program.
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