The United States Congress’s passage of the Omnibus Bill to fund the federal government this December 15, 2015 represents an important, if unexpected, extension of the EB-5 foreign investment program.
With a history of over 25 years, the EB-5 program has been under heavy scrutiny this current Congressional session. Concerned with potential abuse and fraud in the program, the program reforms would have raised the minimum investment thresholds for EB-5 consideration, changed the current definition of Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) – which are the primary regions of investment the federal government wants to direct EB-5 investment towards, and adding additional oversight to the program (in particular, the regional centers that manage EB-5 project funding).
However, due to the inability of Congress to reach any common consensus regarding EB-5 reform before the deadline to pass the Omnibus Bill, the United States government has effectively preserved the EB-5 program in its current form for another year. This means that the $1,000,000 minimum investment for the EB-5 ($500,000 investment for TEAs) is preserved, as is the annual 10,000 visa cap.
Congress is expected to revisit the program because this extension only lasts one year instead of the typical 5-year extension period. As the program currently stands, the extended rules will last through September of 2016.
Buda Law Group urges parties who are considering the EB-5 visa to make preparations and inquiries with the intent of filing before September of 2016. We anticipate that any Congressional action regarding the EB-5 program in 2016 will result in a stricter definition of TEA investment areas, higher minimum investment thresholds, and higher USCIS fees associated with the application.
John B. Buda, Esq.
1201 W. Huntington Dr. Suite 209
Arcadia, CA 91007