The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program earned another extension earlier this month as part of another continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress. It was the fifth CR of the fiscal year as both sides of the Capitol carry on debating a range of budgetary items, including immigration, in an effort to pass a bill that would fund the government through September 30th.
As with previous CRs, this one has a short shelf life. The CR will expire March 23rd, and it could again cause a government shutdown. But for now, the EB-5 program will keep the lights on, and the popular program continues to have a large backlog of visa applications.
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 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A TEA is an area that is either rural or has unemployment over 150% of the national average. An EB-5 investment must be at least $1,000,000 if the project is not located in a TEA.
The program has long been under the watchful eye of lawmakers who want to see changes to fight corruption and ensure that the jobs are being created in areas of the country that need them most. Over the past year, Congressmen from both sides of the aisle proposed changes that would raise the minimum investment levels, update how TEAs are calculated, and add more oversight to EB-5 projects.
However, all of the bills aimed at changing the program failed to gain any traction. As a result, the EB-5 program will continue on for now with no changes. Congress is now working on a fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill that needs to be passed by the March 23rd deadline. That bill could include the EB-5 program, funding it and the rest of the Federal Government through the end of September. Discussions on immigration reform are also occupying a large portion of Congress’ time, and it’s possible that the EB-5 program could eventually be wrapped into an immigration bill.
In the meantime, overseas investors are still flocking to the popular program. India now boasts the third-highest amount of EB-5 investors, behind only China and Vietnam. Over the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 354 investors from India entered the program. This year that number could reach 500. A bulk of those investors from India are in the medical and financial fields, as well as IT professionals.
The EB-5 program has long been in the crosshairs of Congressmen, who either want to change it or get rid of it outright. However, there’s no denying that it’s been a boon to local economies and provided jobs. Will the program continue unchanged or will Congress decide to change some of the requirements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.