The regulatory environment in the EB-5 industry is ever-changing—especially since March 2022, when major reforms to the immigration program took place. When Congress passed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, its prime goal was to make the process more transparent and fair for everyone, as well as more efficient and helpful.
Adjusting for Inflation
From minimum wage to jury duty compensation, Americans have grown more aware of institutions that do not keep up with inflation. The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 has changed the program’s minimum investment requirements to reflect economic adjustments. The new minimum investment for an EB-5 Green Card is $1,050,000—which is lowered to $800,000 for projects in targeted employment areas (TEAs). The act intends these new figures to reflect the updated cost of living and inflation rates in the United States.
Since the EB-5 program’s primary aim is job creation, investors must still prove their investment, directly or indirectly, created or preserved at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. citizens. These jobs will in turn aid economic growth in their areas, while foreign nationals have a wide range of investment opportunities.
Targeting EB-5 Capital
To encourage investment in areas with high unemployment rates and economic distress, the reform act further prioritizes projects in TEAs. The aim is to promote economic growth, enable job creation, and revitalize struggling communities.
TEA investors now get access to exclusive set-aside visa categories. These can allow Chinese and Indian investors to immigrate years faster than otherwise possible.
The act also renews the EB-5 Regional Center Program, which can periodically expire. Now the program extends to September 2027, supplying stability and continuity for investors and developers involved in regional center projects. This reauthorization also offers reassurance to participants in the EB-5 program and supports investor confidence.
Ensuring Faster and Easier Access
In addition, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act has further sought to make the application process more efficient and open. Chiefly, the reform calls for a designated point of contact within the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to supply information and updates to applicants.
To further make the “investment” part of the EB-5 program more effective, the act allows for concurrent visa filing. This enables individuals to apply for an adjustment of U.S. resident status (I-485) while also filing a petition for the EB-5 program (I-526E). This will boost efficiency and make it easier for foreign nationals to live while their paperwork is in progress.
Thanks to concurrent filing, EB-5 investors can get an employment authorization document (EAD) and travel permit in as fast as 60 days.
Meanwhile, because of concerns about fraud and national security, the act includes stronger measures to protect the program’s integrity and objectives. The legislation mandates background checks for regional center leaders, project developers, and other associated individuals. Adding further bite, the act empowers the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct inspections, ensure compliance, and deter illegal activity.
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 is a sweeping, holistic reform of the EB-5 immigrant investor program.
With revised investment amounts, streamlined adjudication processes, and enhanced security measures, the new legislation aims to improve the program’s effectiveness, integrity, and economic impact. These changes provide both challenges and opportunities for investors and developers taking part in the EB-5 program, as well as contributing to the overall economic growth of the United States.
For more information on the EB-5 visa, schedule a free consultation with EB5AN.