Last summer, Congress let the EB-5 regional center program end. However, industry watchers thought that it might quickly be reauthorized. Yet, this still hasn’t happened. This program offered permanent residency to investors if they met certain criteria, and the lack of this program has had some unfortunate effects.
Some advocates of the program still hope it will be revived, possibly as a part of a February 18th spending bill. The program also seems to have a lot of support in Congress.
Senators Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy were the main supporters of the program when it came time to renew it last summer, but it is unknown what their thoughts are on the potential for renewing the program at this time.
One reason there is so much interest in reviving the regional centers is that there are thousands of investors that invested $500,000 or more in projects while the program was operating, but now are not sure what is going to happen. Because the program ended, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is no longer evaluating I-526 applications.
With the uncertainty surrounding the programs, projects are not moving forward, and investors may end up wanting their money back soon. This would mean lost jobs and likely lawsuits as well.
One reason for the delay in renewing the program could be the other important issues Congress was dealing with at the time, such as COVID-19 and the Build Back America Bill. Additionally, controversies concerning immigration could cause even further delays. There have also been arguments over how to allocate the investment money.
However, if the program is renewed, there will likely be changes made to the program. One of these changes could be a higher minimum investment. The minimum investment has been $500,000 since the program started 30 years ago. There was a previous attempt to raise the minimum investment to $900,000. But, the change was challenged in court, and a federal judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security did not have the authority to make the change.
Whether any changes are made or not, supporters want the program revived soon. They believe the delay in renewal has already hurt the program’s reputation. However, they believe the negative view of the program could fade over time if the program is revived soon because many people that have the assets to be a part of the program are still interested in moving to the United States.
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