EB-5 Program win on the Hill

By now, I may be giving you ‘old’ news that Congress has passed the reauthorization of the Immigrant Investor program for regional centers by a whopping 412-3 vote in the House and a unanimous vote in the Senate. The President is scheduled to sign the Bill into law before the end of the month.

Why is this so important? First, it means that the EB-5 Bar as well as our lobbying organization, IIUSA, has done a masterful job in presenting our case to the members of Congress. We have it on good authority that an effort will immediately commence to make the program permanent. There is a broad support nationally. Logic and good sense have prevailed.

Second, the economy clearly has not allowed financial institutions to establish lending policies anywhere similar to pre-2008 levels. As such, it is our inclination that any significant commercial project funding will need to come from foreign sources through the EB-5 program.

In the last year, we had successively upgraded our prospects of the reauthorization of the bill. That is a reflection of the electorate for this job and capital generating program. However, USCIS continues to make life extremely difficult in the EB-5 unit. While the remainder of USCIS departments issue rational and logical decisions, the EB-5 unit, by and through its new economists, management and attorneys, seem to question some of the most logical and business sensed platforms above and beyond historical precedent and other USCIS procedures in other immigration procedures such as nonimmigrant investor visas and intra company transfers for multinational executives.

We have received clear direction from USCIS that any plan which is not accompanied by an impartial feasibility study will not pass muster. Further, all assumptions and conclusions must be independently supported. Many of the basic economic standards and formulae used in the past have been challenged. We hope that this will now level off as USCIS seems to have a reached a new high (or low, depending on your perspective) in expectations from EB 5 projects.

We are not sure whether these actions are intentional to discourage other applicants or just a super caution which is selfdefeating. Time will tell. In the mean time, we will continue to monitor and report to our clients and friends. As we have always stated, EB 5, with all its advantages, is not a linear or clear path and must be approached with skilled and steady hands.

Click here for more of the new legislation for your review.