Congress is set to pass omnibus spending legislation that includes reauthorizing the EB-5 Regional Immigrant Investor Center program, suspended since June 2021.
The regional center program allows eligible investors to apply for green cards if they make the necessary monetary investment and create or preserve at least 10 full-time permanent jobs for American workers – even if those jobs are created indirectly. The Regional Centers offer a unique opportunity for foreign investors, giving them access to high profile developments in the United States in which they otherwise could not invest, with the added bonus of a green card for themselves and their immediate family members. . Most regional center offerings are available at the lower minimum investment amount of $800,000 because they invest in areas identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as rural or urban distressed or in certain infrastructure. A project outside of these defined parameters will cost an EB-5 investor the highest minimum investment amount of at least $1,050,000.
The new legislation re-emphasizes the enforcement procedures that USCIS has focused on for the past decade: record keeping, notices, audits, and site visits. The targeted application of these areas gives investors additional assurance that their investment funds are being used correctly. In addition, only DHS will have the authority to designate targeted employment areas. A calculation of census tracts has been used to determine them in the past.
When the Omnibus legislation is passed, USCIS is expected to begin processing pending applications. As existing investors begin to receive decisions, new investors are encouraged to file as soon as possible to reserve their place in the notorious processing queue at the USCIS Investor Immigration Program office.
Applying for a green card through the EB-5 program is a complex process and requires careful planning when choosing the appropriate project and sourcing funds from an investor.