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The EB-5 Industry Ushers in a Wave of New Regulations After the Signing of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act

The Visa Bulletin for April 2022 At a Glance

On March 15, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the omnibus spending package into law, which included the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. This act brings significant change to the EB-5 industry, most of which is welcomed by stakeholders. Placing a greater emphasis on transparency, efficiency and protection for investors and project developers alike, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act may mark the most extensive reform that the industry has seen in its history.

Below is an overview of the revised regulations brought on by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act.

  • The EB-5 Regional Center Program has been given a long-term reauthorization. Rather than just a few months, the program has been reauthorized through September 2027. A grandfather clause was added to grant the adjudication of any I-526 petitions filed by regional center investors on or before September 2026. Investors whose petitions were put on hold can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their petitions will move forward, and all regional centers can resume operations.
  • Rural targeted employment areas (TEAs) will now be given priority processing status, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will now be responsible for designating high-unemployment TEAs.
  • Forms I-526 and I-485 may now be filed concurrently. This is a major advantage for foreign nationals who are residing in the United States under a different visa (such as the H-1B). Should they make an EB-5 investment, they now no longer have to wait for their Form I-485 to be approved before filing Form I-526. This will make the process much more streamlined and efficient.
  • Limitations on meeting the job creation criteria. Previously, indirect and induced jobs could make up 100% of the job creation criteria for regional center projects. Under the new regulations, indirect and induced positions can only count for 90% of the job creation criteria. Within that, only 75% can be construction jobs lasting less than two years. This means that there must be at least one direct, W-2 position created by each regional center EB5 investment project.
  • The investment thresholds have increased to $800,000 for projects in TEAs and $1,050,000 for projects outside of TEAs.

This reform, while extensive, is welcomed by the EB-5 investment industry with excitement. It marks the beginning of a new era in the industry, promising to make the EB-5 visa process more efficient than ever. Foreign nationals who plan to make an EB5 investment should contact an immigration attorney for guidance. EB5AN, one of the leading consulting firms in the industry, is always available to answer questions and offer guidance.