The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is one of the fastest and easiest ways to immigrate to the United States. Since its creation, the program has helped thousands of foreign nationals receive U.S. green cards and begin their future in the United States. To be eligible for the EB-5 program, an applicant must invest $1.8 million in a qualifying EB-5 project, but if the project is in a targeted employment area (TEA), the minimum investment amount is reduced to $900,000. Aside from the minimum investment requirement, the investor must be able to prove that their investment capital was acquired from lawful sources and that their investment will lead to the creation of 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
Those who choose to make an EB5 investment can invest directly in a new commercial enterprise (NCE), or they can choose to invest through an EB-5 regional center. Choosing to invest through a regional center is by far the more popular option because of the advantages it offers to investors. Regional center EB-5 projects are much more likely to be located in a TEA, which allows the investor to invest the smaller required amount. This route also relaxes the job creation requirement and allows the investor to sign on as a limited partner, allowing them to avoid engaging in the day-to-day management of the NCE.
Even though the regional center program is extremely popular among EB-5 investors, the program’s permanence is not guaranteed. The program continues to be renewed by Congress for periods of one year or less. The program was set to expire on September 30, 2020, but it was expected that it would be renewed with minimal changes, if any.
The Continuing Appropriations Act Passed by the House
The House of Representatives passed the Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 8337) on September 22, 2020, which extended government funding for multiple government programs. Among these programs was the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act was also included in this legislation, which moved to increase premium processing fees for some types of immigration. This rise in fees was put forward to help United States and Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) cover its operating costs. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration has significantly decreased, and because USCIS is funded largely by filing fees, the agency has struggled to adequately cover its operating costs. Fortunately, USCIS was able to avoid a planned furlough in August 2020 by cutting back on expenditure and increasing revenue and receipts.
Regional Center Program Extended to December 11, 2020
Eight days after the House passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, President Trump signed the resolution, extending the government programs until December 11, 2020. The passing of this legislation allows multiple government programs to continue and prevented a government shutdown. This extension is good news for regional center managers and those who have made an EB-5 investment. All of those involved in the EB-5 program should stay up to date on EB-5 news so that they do not miss any new information on the state of the EB-5 Regional Center Program after December 11, 2020.