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December 23 2016

Winter Work – unlike past years for EB-5

Typically, the period from mid-December to mid-February is quiet for EB-5 visa applications due to the celebration of the holidays in the U.S. followed by the Lunar New Year in China and other Asian countries. However, the first quarter of 2017 will not be like those of the past for EB-5 visa applications.

The regional center statute, along with the current funding levels for the federal government, is set to expire on April 28th. There will be a push by Senator Grassley for Congress to pass his restrictive EB-5 statute. If it were to pass as it is drafted today, it would:

  • Increase the minimum investment amount to $1 million for most projects (by changing the TEA rules) by October 2018
  • Impose an annual fee of up to $20,000 on regional centers
  • Not increase investor visa numbers

Senator Grassley will have an ally on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Feinstein (D-Calif.) who will be the new minority chair person. Senator Feinstein wants to end the EB-5 program altogether. Her opposition appears to be related to a failed EB-5 funded charter school project many years ago.

We will see in January who is appointed by the new administration to manage immigration affairs. New appointees will include the head of USCIS and the White House advisor on immigration issues. Both president-elect Trump and his son-in-law have partially funded real estate projects with EB-5 investment capital. We will have to see how this will play out with the extension of the EB-5 program.

Given the April 28th deadline and possible changes to the statute (which I am actively opposing), many will want to invest at the current $500,000 level. January is the time to get the word out – this may be the best time for EB-5 investment and immigration in general, for the rules will probably be more restrictive in the future.