After months of uncertainty, it was announced on March 11th 2022, that the EB-5 Regional Center Program is back up and running. Since the lapse, on June 30th 2021, there has been hesitation around the investment program for current investors and those seeking to join. Subsequently, the time since expiration has allowed US Congress the chance to update the program for the first time in 30 years, providing positive changes to the legislation.
The much-anticipated decision brings with it numerous changes to the holistic program. These welcomed changes include the adjustment of the minimum investment amount, new compliance guidelines for Regional Centers, updates on the Targeted Employment Area (TEA) regulations and protection for future investors and new applications.
“It is our great pleasure to announce that the EB-5 Regional Center Program will be reauthorised with the omnibus on March 15, 2022. The text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 was released and Division BB, includes the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. The omnibus also includes our FIFPA language (Section 108 of Division BB) which will ensure that investors will not have to suffer through this ordeal ever again,” explains Ishaan Khanna, co-founder of the American Immigrant Investor Alliance.
Investors with pending applications will now move forward as advised and new investors will be able to proceed with their applications under new legislation. In the event of the program lapsing again, investors can rest assured they will still be eligible to continue with their applications through the new grandfathering clause within the Act. New applicants will have a minimum investment amount of $800 000 in a TEA or $1 050 000 for standard EB-5 investments, with spouses and kids still being able to benefit from the program. In terms of funding an application, gifts are still permitted, and are not restricted to family members. Overall, the investor and their family members will still enjoy the benefits of the Green Card, as well as permanent residency while the new legislation will ensure a stricter and more transparent system.
“The program’s reauthorisation provides enormous relief to those who have already filed and we expect approvals within the coming months,” says Leon Versfeld, founding member and immigration attorney at Versfeld & Hugo, LLC.
“The last few months have been incredibly challenging and frustrating for our clients who have been waiting in the wings to realise their American Dream. We can now breathe a sigh of relief and get back to completing their final steps for application, while we also look forward to helping new investors who have been eagerly wanting to start the application process. With the additional integrity measures working in investors’ favour, we expect to see a surge of families and individuals looking to explore alternative living and investment opportunities in the USA,” shares Stuart Ferguson, Director of American Dream and 12 Star Capital.
After being established in 1993, the program created EB-5 Regional Centers to increase foreign investment, aid job creation and boost the economy within the country. This assisted both the country and immigrants seeking opportunities within the USA.
According to new regulation, indirect jobs will account for up to 90% of the job creation or up to 75% where construction of the project is less than two years. There will also be a change to visa allocations where 20% of the total will be reserved for individuals who invested in projects that are considered as rural and will be given priority processing, 10% in high unemployment areas and 2% for infrastructure projects. These changes are to take effect immediately, providing much needed clarity for current investors waiting on answers for their ongoing applications. While these changes come into effect, Regional Centers will be reauthorised with an additional 60 days after the official announcement. These centers will still be overseen by USCIS & DHS and under new regulations, will have to undergo an audit once every 5 years.
“The EB-5 Investor Program has proven to be a catalyst in economic foreign investment reform into America, while providing an extraordinary pathway for business owners and wealthy families to truly become part of the American life. The reauthorisation will not only allow us to get on with processing and completing final approval steps, but it will also give new investors more benefits,” explains Ferguson.
According to USCIS there are 632 approved Regional Centers as of October 2021. With the Reform and reauthorisation of the EB-5 Investor Program, there is no doubt that there will be more centers in the future along with a range of varied opportunities in different locations. With 50 states within the United States to choose from, there will be a place for all types of investors. “With 100% application success, we will continue to facilitate a seamless application and immigration process for the investor and their families who register their interest with American Dream,” adds Ferguson.
Get in touch with American Dream to learn more about the changes and start your EB-5 Investor Program application today.