Biden signs EB-5 visa reforms into law
President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, on March 15. It included the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA), which makes sweeping changes to EB-5
· It reauthorizes and extends the Regional Center (RC) program to 2027
· High unemployment Targeted Employment Areas (TEA), which traditionally have high unemployment, are now identified by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and not the state.
· There is an increased minimum investment from $500,000 to $800,000 in TEA.
· There is an increased standard amount in non-TEAs from $1 million to $1,050,000.
· Pre-enactment investors who used I-526 and/or I-829 processing are grandfathered in.
· It allows concurrent I-485 Adjustment of Status for pending and approved I-526 and provides 245(k) protections.
· It creates new visas set aside for specific projects in rural areas, areas of high unemployment or in need of infrastructure.
· It creates new reporting and disclosure requirements by RCs to USCIS and programs investors.
· It requires overseas agents and promotors to register with USCIS and report their fees.
· It requires RCs to pay into an EB-5 Integrity Fund used to fund investigations and visits to regional center operators, commercial enterprises and job-creating entities.
What does it mean?
The basics of EB-5 policy change little or not at all — it is still about job creation by the investor.
The changes were done for many reasons, but it does appear to be an attempt to reinvigorate the EB-5 program that had been a wildly popular program until 2017. Among other things, the standoff between the Trump administration and the Chinese government (who wanted to keep money in the country) led to its cooling down. There will now be more oversight as well.
New regional center filings are not accepted until May 14. It is unclear if any further action is necessary for applicants who filed before these changes were signed into law. We will keep a close eye on any new requirements for cases that are currently pending and post as soon as the details become available.