Immigration Law

Groups Urge EB-5 Investor Visa Program Reform - Letter to Congress

IIUSA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Real Estate Roundtable, EB-5 Investment Coalition, and American Immigration Lawyers Association, July 5, 2016- "IIUSA joined leading EB-5 trade associations/coalitions (U.S. Chamber of CommerceReal Estate RoundtableEB-5 Investment Coalition, and American Immigration Lawyers Association) as signatories on a letter to Senate and House Judiciary Committee Leaders and Members expressing support for extending the EB-5 Regional Center Program and recommending reforms to enhance program integrity and effectiveness as a economic development tool.   This is a significant milestone for the EB-5 industry, which accounts for billions of dollars of investment and tens of thousands of American jobs annually, as diverse interests come together to ensure EB-5 can continue to its important work in the economy.  Industry stakeholders should be encouraged that these developments will likely be helpful in advocacy efforts with Congress and are encouraged to provide a copy of the letter to their representatives.  Download a copy of the letter here.

The letter highlights support for:

  • Integrity measures.  To address fraud, national security, as well as additional measures to protect good faith investors and provide for procedures that would – based on fact patterns consistent in EB-5 related enforcement actions by the Securities & Exchange Commission – help identify and/or prevent fraud.
  • Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”) Policy & Investment Level Difference.   A TEA designation system that conditions project eligibility on a set of objective, publicly available criteria that will result in TEA eligibility being the exception, not the rule, and a smaller differential between TEA and non-TEA investment amount requirements than the 100% difference today so projects in both categories have the opportunity to compete for EB-5 investors.
  • Visa Capacity & Backlog Reduction.  Encourage backlog reductions for petitions pending at U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and solutions to growing wait time for investors for visa availability.

  • Grandfathering/Transition Period.  For individual Investors: No retroactivity or changes to filings for investors who have filed I-526s approvable at the time of filing.  For projects and Regional Centers: Reasonable implementation of effective dates that allows EB-5 related economic activity to continue as reforms are turned into policy.

  • Extension of the Regional Center program.  A longer term extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, which is now suffering from the uncertainty that comes with short term action by Congress, with the ultimate goal of making it permanent."