For the second time in three months, Congress passed legislation that keeps the EB-5 Regional Center Program running through April 28, 2017.
The EB-5 Regional Center visa program allows a foreign national and her or his family to get green cards by investing $1 million in a regional center that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. A regional center is a business—often a real-estate project—approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the regional center is located in a rural or high unemployment area, a foreign national only needs to invest $500,000. The job requirement remains the same.
EB-5 Reform Stalled
A last-minute attempt by lawmakers to devise a comprehensive EB-5 reform package prior to the temporary funding legislation vote failed. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) have pushed for changes to the program for years. Sen. Grassley serves as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Leahy is the committee’s ranking member. They contend fraud and the gerrymandering of EB-5 zones have diverted the program’s economic benefits away from the intended distressed areas of the country.
Instead, projects in well-off neighborhoods, such as in Manhattan and Miami, have benefitted. What’s more, many immigrant investors have been victims of fraud by project developers raising funds through the program.
Support from President-Elect
Advocates of the Regional Center Program expect continued support from President-elect Donald Trump.
Kushner Companies—run by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner—and KABR Group used EB-5 funds for the Trump Bay Street development. The 447-unit luxury apartment tower in Jersey City, N.J., opened last month.
EB-5 Regional Center Visas
Currently, USCIS is issuing EB-5 regional center visas to foreign investors from all countries except China, according to the January 2017 Visa Bulletin.
Take a look at my previous blog on how to choose a regional center. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the program or need help with other visa or green card options.