** LEGAL UPDATE **
Although the actual rule hasn't been finalized yet, it appears increasingly likely that the U.S. government will raise the amount of financing needed for an immigrant entrepreneur to receive an investment-based EB-5 visa. This visa provides access to lawful permanent residence (a green card) to wealthy people who will pump money into the U.S. economy by investing in a business that creates U.S. jobs.
In late 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally published a proposal to update its regulations concerning the EB-5 program. More recently, DHS sent its proposed rule to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review and publication.
Under the proposal, the minimum investment amount would rise from $1 million to $1.8 million for EB-5 applicants seeking to invest in high-employment areas. The minimum investment would rise from $500,000 to $1.35 million for EB-5 applicants seeking to invest in a new commercial enterprise that principally does business in an area with lower employment levels (called a targeted employment area or TEA).
The proposed rule contains other changes, including altering the method by which TEAs are designated and the application process for EB-5 visa entrants to eventually become lawful permanent residents.
Experts believe the rule will become final in late spring of 2019, though many protest that it will reduce overseas investment and thus U.S. job growth, and both the U.S. Congress and the General Accounting Office must weigh in.
The rule is also expected to contain a grace period before investors at lower amounts are locked out entirely. No matter what, however, expect a rush in EB-5 applications in early 2019 and corresponding agency backlogs in handling petitions in this immigrant visa category.
Effective Date: February 26, 2019