The long-awaited news that the EB-5 Regional Center Program was reinstated by Congress on March 11, 2022 through passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, which was attached to the massive 2022 federal government ‘omnibus’ spending bill.
This reauthorization is for 5 years, and the following are the highlights of the bill:
- Pending investor immigrant petitions will not be subject to the new rules or higher investment amounts.
- Adjudication of these petitions and adjustment of status applications, and consular processing will resume upon enactment of the bill.
- The required investment amount will go up to $800,000 for targeted employment areas (TEAs) or “infrastructure projects”. Otherwise, the investment amount will be $1,050,000.
- Grandfathering provisions direct USCIS to continue to process EB-5 petitions if there is a future EB-5 program lapse, as long as the EB-5 petition is filed by September 30, 2026.
- The bill sets aside 20% of total EB-5 visa numbers for investments in rural areas, 10% for investments in high unemployment areas, and 2% for investments in infrastructure projects.
- The bill provides protection for dependent children aging-out in certain circumstances.
- Concurrent adjustment of status filings are permitted with investor immigrant petitions.
- Gifts are still permitted, and not limited to familial relations.
- Source of funds requirements apply to capital investments, administrative fees, and any fees “associated” with the investment.
- There is a mechanism for switching projects if a regional center or new commercial enterprise (NCE) is terminated.
- Caps are placed on indirect and construction jobs.
- An exemplar application must be filed before individual investor immigrant petitions may be submitted.
- TEA letters are valid for 2 years.
- Regional Centers (RC) must be audited by USCIS at least every 5 years.
- Redeployment may be permitted outside RC geography (subject to regulations).
- Prohibitions on RC involvement for persons who have committed certain crimes or have been subject to orders or sanctions by certain state or federal enforcement agencies.
- Disclosure required of third-party agent fees and involvement in a project, which will impact how much “commission” the migration agent will receive.
- Direct and third-party promoters must register with the USCIS.