EB-5 is an investor immigration program that allows investors to become permanent residents of the United States. Investing in a business that creates jobs and benefits the economy is one of the most effective ways to obtain an EB-5 visa.
The EB-5 program is oversubscribed, and the demand for EB-5 investment has increased recently. To meet that demand, DHS is considering increasing the minimum EB-5 investment amount.
The EB-5 program is an effective means of attracting foreign investment that can create jobs. The program has played an essential role in creating and sustaining projects critical to the U.S. economy.
The number of EB-5 visas available is capped at 10,000 per year, which can be used to bring in new investors and support job creation in the United States. In addition, a limited number of visas are set aside each year for specific projects such as rural areas and priority urban investments.
To qualify for these visas, a project must demonstrate that it will create or retain ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers within two years of the EB-5 investor’s initial investment.
EB-5 regional center projects must also show indirect and induced employment. Induced jobs are created when employees spend money on goods and services within the geographic area where the EB-5 investment is located.
Under the EB-5 Reform Act, some visas can be reserved for immigrant investors who invest in rural or priority urban investment areas or infrastructure projects. However, this benefit will be quickly used up by existing EB-5 projects since these set-asides are not guaranteed.
Premium Processing is the process through which a petitioner can obtain an expedited decision from USCIS when filing an EB-1C or EB-2 NIW (national interest waiver) green card. The process can reduce the time needed for a green card from several months to a few weeks.
Premium Processing such as EB-5 premium processing is an opportunity for EB-1C Multinational Executives and Managers and EB-2 National Interest Waiver petitioners to expedite the review of their green card applications. It is a service that allows for adjudicating certain forms within 15 days for an additional fee of $2,500.
USCIS will offer Premium Processing for EB-1C and NIW immigrant visa petitions starting on January 30, 2023, to reduce the backlog in its overall immigration system. Specifically, the agency plans to set new agency-wide backlog reduction goals, expand premium processing to additional form types, and work to improve timely access to employment authorization documents.
The expansion is also expected to help EB-5 regional centers (R.C.s) that specialize in projects in rural areas. Lawyers predict this will reduce the time it takes for R.C.s to file their EB-5 cases by one to two years.
As a result, investment projects in rural locations may be favored over tasks that are located in urban areas. This is because investment projects in rural locations will likely be in TEAs designated for premium processing.
It is important to note that while premium processing can increase the chances of getting your EB-5 case approved quickly, it is only sometimes the case. Most EB-5 cases are reviewed and approved on First-In-First-Out (FIFO) basis.
The EB-5 program, under Section 203(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), allows qualified foreign investors to obtain an employment-based green card. Its primary purpose is to stimulate the United States economy by attracting foreign capital, leading to job creation and economic stimulus.
EB-5 investments are typically made into individual businesses or regional centers approved by USCIS based on a proposal to promote economic growth in certain designated areas. The EB-5 program has become popular recently because it can be a highly lucrative investment option.
A critical element of the EB-5 process is that an investment must create at least ten direct and full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of an immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident (“CPR”).
However, the EB-5 program is unique because it counts indirect and induced jobs as long as the business meets its total budget. This makes it easier for real estate projects likely to come in significantly under budget to count a substantial number of jobs, which was previously discouraged by the requirement that only direct jobs are included.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) EB-5 Reform Act proposes five significant categories of revisions, including increasing the minimum investment amount, establishing a new TEA designation, and reworking the TEA designation process. These changes are expected to increase demand for EB-5 investment and encourage more project development. They are also anticipated to speed up the processing of Form I-526s for projects ready to begin operation.
Ease of Doing Business
A significant reason for the EB-5 program’s lower utilization was a series of administrative obstacles and uncertainties that undermined stakeholder confidence. These factors included delays in the program; changes in guidance; concerns of insider access; and suspicions of abuse, misrepresentation, or fraud.
Fortunately, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is implementing a new premium processing program for EB-5 visas to significantly improve the process for investors and project developers. The further premium processing will allow EB-5 regional centers to pool investment amounts from multiple investors and speed up the process for various projects.
Another positive impact of the new premium processing will be encouraging EB-5 investors from China to invest in more rural TEA projects because these will receive much faster EB-5 visa approval. Unlike standard TEA investments, rural projects will qualify for priority processing so Chinese investors can get their Green Cards in less than a year and a half!
EB-5 investors should also be careful when deciding which business projects to invest in. Ensuring that the business plan for a new commercial enterprise includes ample job creation potential is essential. This way, the investor can be assured that their capital will be returned and that the new commercial enterprise will be successful. In addition, it is a good idea to complete a due diligence questionnaire before investing in a new commercial enterprise. This will help you avoid a risky investment that may not create the estimated number of jobs.