Will the U.S. Residency by Investment EB-5 Program be Competitive Globally in 2018?
I am positive the Direct EB-5 and Regional Center EB-5 program will continue even though the program is in a state of flux and the predictability of the date of proposed changes is uncertain. There are hundreds of EB-5 Regional Center projects that have started and continue to receive EB-5 investors so that the investors may achieve their U.S. permanent residency for the minimum investment amount of USD 500,000.
In 2017 we saw proposed changes either by legislation or by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service) new regulations that could take effect in 2018. There is still no certainty as to the date when they would occur in 2018. The most current proposed legislation refers to an increase in the minimum investment amount in a Target Employment Area (TEA) or Rural Area from USD 500,000 to USD 925,000. If the project is not in a TEA or Rural Area, then the investment amount will be USD 1,025,000. In addition, the USCIS has the authority to propose and initiate new EB-5 regulations. The new EB-5 regulations states that the minimum investment amount (in a TEA or Rural Area) will be an estimated USD 1.4 million and if the project is not in a TEA or Rural Area then the amount will be an estimated USD 1.8 million.
The EB-5 industry as a whole prefers the proposed new legislation over the new USCIS regulations. That is, the increase from USD 500,000 to USD 925,000 is a smaller increase than to USD 1,400,000. Also, the difference between the minimum investment and the non-TEA amount is only USD 100,000. It is preferable that the new legislation take effect soon as it would take precedent over any new USCIS regulations initiated. That is, if the USCIS regulations are initiated in early 2018 and one month later there is new legislation, then the new legislation minimum investment amount would take control. President Trump also has the authority to stop any new regulations from taking effect, but to date this has not happened. The consensus of the EB-5 industry is that even though there may be changes to the EB-5 program, they would be accepted if there is a legislation authorizing the EB-5 program for a longer period and this would lead to immediate predictability for the U.S. developer and foreign national investor.
Author: Edward Beshara, Managing Partner, Beshara Global Migration Law Firm, USA