June 26, 2019

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Bi-Partisan EB-5 Legislation Introduced in Senate

EB-5 Investment Coalition Applauds Bipartisan Effort on Reform

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced bi-partisan legislation to extend and  improve the job-creating immigrant investor visa program, known as EB-5, which is set to expire in September.  The American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act would reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center program for five years and add measures to improve the program’s integrity.

We now have bi-partisan bills introduced in both the House and Senate.  The bill will, among other things:

  • Extend the program for five years;

  • Provide increased authority to DHS to deny or terminate applications where there is fraud, criminal misuse, or a threat to public safety or national security;

  • Establish an “EB-5 Integrity Fund” in which regional centers would pay an annual fee to be used by DHS to conduct audits and site visits to detect and investigate fraud in the United States and abroad;

  • Require background checks of regional center and project developer principals;

  • Require DHS to vet EB-5 projects earlier in the process, before investors submit applications;

  • Require increased disclosures to investors regarding business risks and conflicts of interest;

  • Require more oversight of projects and closer monitoring for securities compliance;

  • Amend the definition of “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA) to favor more investment in  areas with high unemployment and rural areas;

  • Raise the investment threshold to $800,000 for TEAs and $1.2 million for non-TEAs; and

  • Decrease petition processing times providing for expedited business plan approval and requiring fees be adjusted to the rate necessary to achieve efficient processing.

There is yet a lot of work to be done in both the Senate and the House to reach the right balance in this reform legislation.

The livelihood of many of the EB-5 stakeholders is hanging in the balance as the expiration of the program draws near. 

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About this Author

Laura Foote Reiff, Greeberg Traurig Law Firm, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Labor and Employment, Immigration Law Attorney

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to...