On March 15, President Joe Biden signed the anticipated omnibus spending package into law, which included the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, a reform bill that includes much-wanted revisions to current EB-5 investment rules. The industry as a whole has changed substantially. Many of the act’s modifications aim to make the EB-5 investment process more open for investors and especially highlight increased transparency and integrity.
Below are some major revisions included in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act.
- Reinstatement of the regional center program: The issue of pending I-526 petitions prior to the regional center program’s suspension has been resolved. The program has now been reauthorized until 2027. Under new rigorous regulations, regional centers will be permitted to resume normal operations beginning in May 2022. In the same vein, the reform bill also introduces a grandfathering clause that ensures all regional center investors will have their petitions processed and adjudicated, as long as they file them on or before September 30, 2026.
- Preference given to rural targeted employment areas (TEAs): United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now give processing preference to investors in rural TEA ventures. The guidelines for assigning rural TEAs will stay the same, but USCIS now has the right to assign high-unemployment TEAs.
- Simultaneous Submission of Forms I-526 and I-485: The reform bill has made it possible for prospective EB-5 investors to simultaneously submit applications for the I-526 and I-485 petitions. For EB-5 investors already living in the United States as the holder of a different visa, this is a huge advantage because it gives them the opportunity to adjust their status at once and evade the potential delays that come with consular processing.
- Employment generation: The reform bill has set restrictions on the number of indirect and induced jobs that can be generated by regional center ventures. Such jobs are permitted to constitute up to 90% of the total employment quota; constructions jobs lasting less than two years are permitted to constitute up to 75%.
- Investment threshold: The new investment minimum amount for ventures in TEAs is $800,000. All other ventures need a minimum amount of $1,050,000.
The changes made by this reform bill will certainly introduce a welcome era in the EB5 investment industry.