American Dream webinar discusses EB-5 Regional Center Program reform and reauthorisation

On 31st March 2022, American Dream held an informative webinar to discuss the changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program that US Congress signed into law on 11th March 2022. The webinar addressed current and future investors on how the new regulations impact their application process and provided key insight by professionals in the industry on how the new regulations bring about positive changes to the program, further enhancing the integrity of the EB-5 visa category.

The webinar kicked off with Leon Versfeld, Partner and Senior Immigration Attorney at Versfeld & Hugo, based in the USA, explaining what the EB-5 visa is and how the EB-5 Regional Center Program was founded.  He shared why the program lapsed on 30th June 2021, and why it was necessary for congress to reform and update the previous structure to put in place integrity measures for Regional Centres, many of which were not aligned at national level. Regional Centres will now be subject to an audit every 5 years and will have to meet certain criteria to remain part of the program. Measures were also put in place to protect investments should the project run into difficulty and funds be re-deployed. This is a win for investors who will now see the benefits of these protection measures carried out as their application progresses.

Current investors, with applications pending, can be reassured that their applications will move forward with an update on the status expected from the Regional Centers within the next 60 – 90 days. Versfeld shared that those who have filed will not have to pay any further fee to align with the new investment amount and, their children’s status, for those who had filed when their children were under 21 will have the age remain as is on the application and will be processed as such. As a current investor, your Adjustment of Status will be processed concurrently with the i-526 going forward, it is advised that you get in touch with your attorney to enact this.

The new investment amount for Targeted Employment Areas (TEA’s) is $800 000. The amount has been adjusted for inflation and will likely stand until the program is reviewed in September 2027. This is good news for investors who have seen the amount increase from $500 000 to $900 000 in recent years. The EB-5 visa category is a prestigious route to citizenship for High Net Worth Individuals and the considerable sum is not taken lightly by US Congress or the EB-5 Regional Centers. In this regard, integrity measures have been put in place following the new legislation, to ensure the protection of investors and mitigate the risk involved in the process. In the webinar, Garth Wellman, Managing Partner at Caleo Capital, shared his experience partnering with investors and touched on the various finance mechanisms that are available to South Africans, especially as each investor will approach their investment with a unique vision.

The promise of a better life with access to superior healthcare, education and career prospects is high motivation when it comes to choosing the best immigration opportunity for you and your family. Stuart Ferguson, Founder and CEO of American Dream, has worked closely with families who are interested in pursuing the EB-5 visa and can provide you with invaluable resources and access to the right professionals to assist you in the application process. If you are a new investor exploring the immigration landscape or if you are a current investor looking for clarity on the new regulations of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, we encourage you to watch our webinar and contact American Dream to assist you in your journey.

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