After all, The EB-5 Program Will Change in 2019?

Looking back on the nearly-30-year implementation of the EB-5 program, the rules and procedures of this immigrant investment program seem to remain the same, without any big changes. However, investors who are concerned about this program might find that, in two recent years, there has been a lot of information related to the EB-5 program, as well as further analysis from the leading immigration experts on its future. The most notably is the EB-5 Modernization Regulation which was proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in early 2017.

Recently, the President and Congress finally passed FY2019 spending bill and gave the EB-5 Regional Centre Program another extension by September 2019. At the same time, USCIS has done with the EB-5 Modernization Regulation and made its way to the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for final review. Once the OMB reviews the regulations, it will publish the Final Rule, which will then go into effect.

The proposed EB-5 Modernization Regulation reflects change areas of minimum investment amount, Targeted Employment Area (TEA), and more, for instance:

  • An increase in the minimum investment amount from $1.0 million to $1.8 million (+80%) for projects not located in a TEA and an increase from $500,000 to $1.35 million (+75%) for investment in projects located in a TEA.
  • Major reforms to how TEAs are designated and defined.The authority to designate TEAs within an MSA will be assigned to DHS, not to states and the guidelines will be more limiting.
  • Priority date retention for foreign investors. In case an investor must refile an I-526 petition (due to the termination of a regional center, material changes to the project, or other unforeseen and uncontrollable events), the original filing date, not the date the new petition is filed, is retained. This is really helpful for investors facing years-long backlogs and is necessary in regard to the recent increase in regional center terminations because of their inactivity.
  • Dependents can file Form I-829 separately from the principal investor when they are not included on the principal’s petition. 

The first two changes are the most debated aspects of the EB-5 program and have been becoming major sticking points stalling legislative progress. Those in favor of major program reforms claim that the current minimum investment amounts are far too low and don’t reflect the current market. They also state that TEA designation under the current regulations is prone to “gerrymandering” and in practice does not reflect the original intent of the program. Whereas, those opposed argue that substantially raising the minimum investment will result in a drastic decline in the number of EB-5 investors.

We won’t know until the OMB approves the changes and the final rule is published. Final approval is expected within three months, but it could take longer. Also, we do not know how exactly the EB-5 program will be changed.

There, it is NOW – the GOLDEN TIME – for investors interested in the EB-5 program to start with their investment. This is also a wise decision to take advantage of the current minimum investment amount before those amendments come into effect.

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RSCC will keep you updated with the latest information about EB-5 program. For further information, please contact:

Hotline: 090 3031 578

Office: Unit 3, Level 6, Tower 1, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi Blvd., Dist. 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

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