Will the EB-5 Visa program get an extension from Congress before December 21, 2018?
Current Status of the EB-5 Program
All eyes are on Congress as the current sunset date of December 21st approaches for the EB-5 Regional Center immigrant investor visa program. Short-term solutions hinge on the Democrats and Republicans agreeing to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded and avoid a shutdown. At the crux are two key factors: President Trump’s insistence that DHS funding include funds for “The Wall,” and Democrats assumption of power in the US Congress in January.
What happens if we don’t see an EB-5 extension or there is a government shutdown?
If Congress cannot agree by December 21st to pass a bill to fund DHS or to pass a CR to keep the government funded, the EB-5 Regional Center Program will be in a state of limbo until they do. There are several potential consequences of a government shutdown: any pending I-526 and I-924 petitions would not be reviewed; no immigrant visas overseas would be issued; and no final action on adjustment of status would be taken. Any incoming petitions would likely be denied or remain pending indefinitely. See more at Lucid Text.
What should we be watching for?
Congress changes hands on January 3rd. The Democrats reportedly have a DHS funding bill that offers a compromise to President Trump for funding of a border fence and provides a year-long CR to keep DHS funded. This presumably would be a clean extension without any changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program. See more at TheHill.com Note, however, any CR extending DHS funding would not preclude USCIS from issuing final regulations modifying the program.
What are the final EB-5 regulations that are being considered?
Everyone is expecting USCIS to issue final regulations substantially modifying the EB-5 Program. First and foremost is the proposal to increase the minimum investment amount to $1,800,000 and $1,300,000 in a TEA. USCIS has also proposed to re-define TEA eligibility criteria and have DHS, rather than defer to state government labor authorities, to determine if an EB-5 project qualifies as a TEA.
Our sources are expecting either a short term, stop-gap spending bill that could be as short as 2 weeks allowing the Congress handover to complete, or even a “kick-the-can” response issuing a straight extension until the end of the next fiscal year (September 30, 2019).
What do EB-5 investors do now?
Behring is keeping abreast of these developments. We are encouraging all investors that are currently in the process of filing I-526 petitions for the Graduate Student Housing EB-5 project to expedite their processes as much as possible to secure their priority dates. Should you have questions about the extension of EB-5 Regional Center Program, appointments can be made here by clicking the link at Behring Appointment Scheduler.