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What is the Status of EB-5 Reform?


Many have called for reform to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program since the introduction of long processing times in 2014 and the beginning of continual, short-term reauthorizations for the popular EB-5 Regional Center Program in 2015. However, reform has never come, and as of March 2021, the EB-5 Regional Center Program remains a temporary program that needs continual reauthorization. Foreign investors looking to permanently immigrate to the United States can make their EB-5 investment directly in the new commercial enterprise (NCE) or through an approved regional center, and given that most opt for the regional center route, industry stakeholders are desperate to keep the regional center program safe.

Many laypeople have largely unfounded concerns that there is extensive fraud in the EB-5 investment program. EB-5 reform legislation, such as the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, would put those concerns to rest while also reauthorizing the program for a significant period.

The EB-5 Regional Center Program’s sunset date of June 30, 2021, looms in the not-too-distant future. Many EB-5 industry representatives fear that reform is vital to secure the program’s reauthorization. Fortunately, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) formally introduced the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act on March 18, 2021. The prominent EB-5 industry trade association Invest in the USA (IIUSA) has long advocated for the bill, believing it may be the only key to regional center program reauthorization.

Industry Leaders Are Optimistic About the Bill’s Chances

Leahy and Grassley worked with IIUSA to draft the bill, which focuses on several areas in the EB5 investment program and aims to increase its integrity and transparency. The bill would add additional security measures for investors, project developers, and regional centers.

Notably, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act would also temporarily end the EB-5 Regional Center Program’s reauthorization issues. If the bill passed, it would reauthorize the regional center program until 2026, which would encourage more foreign nationals to make EB-5 investments, as there would no longer be fear that the regional center program might be terminated soon. It would also mean that the United States could continue to receive billions in foreign capital from the program.

As the EB-5 investment program has a sunset date of June 30, 2021, the time for reform is now. EB-5 industry representatives consider the introduction of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act a major step in the right direction and remain hopeful that the bill will be passed into law.