The controversial EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is set to expire at the end of the month. Congress extended the program last year, just days before the deadline to continue it. At the moment, a pair of bills re-authorizing EB-5 are moving through Congress.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows those living in other countries to obtain a U.S. visa by investing a minimum of $500,000 into a new business venture that must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The bills introduced in Congress would make changes to the program that would increase oversight to fight fraud and require higher investment levels. Several groups that work with EB-5 participants wrote to Congress asking them to extend the program.
However, time is running out. Congress has until September 30 to re-authorize the program, with or without changes. In recent months, several incidents of fraud have been reported, and that has caused some in Congress to suggest the program be shut down.
For now, the future of the EB-5 program is up in the air. However, a new proposal would still allow foreign investors to put money into new businesses, but the applicants would not become permanent residents of the United States as they do under the EB-5 program. Instead they would receive parole, or temporary permission to be in the U.S., for two years, with the possibility of an additional three years.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed the new International Entrepreneur Rule. The proposal states that foreign entrepreneurs with at least a 15 percent stake in a startup can qualify as long as they:
- Received at least $345,000 in capital from qualified U.S. investors who have a record of successful investments
- Received at least $100,000 in awards or grants from certain organizations on the local, state, or federal level.
- Provide other evidence of the startup’s potential for growing and adding jobs.
The rule extends to any startup from the past three years.
The International Entrepreneur Rule will not replace the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
“This proposed rule, when finalized, will help our economy grow by expanding immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment and generating revenue in the U.S.,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez in a press release.
The International Entrepreneur Rule will be published in the Federal Register, and the public will 45 days from that point to comment on the rule.
What do you think of the International Entrepreneur Rule? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.