A major milestone has been created in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act in 2022, which has raised the expectations of the people. Although the reform had come into effect in 1990, the reason for such intense hype created around the United States regarding the developments in the EB-5 investor visa reform is because it has been long pending and debated on several occasions, notably since 2015. The main points of concern regarding the EB-5 program are :
- The minimum amount to be invested has remained unaltered since 1990.
- There is a lack of access for the relatively less developed and rural areas to directly appeal to foreign and large-scale investment.
- The integrity of the visa program from a futuristic point of view.
Since originally the program was meant to be a model without a vision of permanence, the model has gained attention over time. Gradually, it has led to its expansion within a time period of three to five years, accordingly as short extensions.
In 2015, it had been noticed that the program had reached its summit in terms of popularity, thereby bringing forth several discussions concerning it. A glaring reason for the popularity of the EB-5 is due to the ten-year waiting period associated with it instead of the longer periods required to acquire an employment-based US citizenship green card.
And after eight long years, the discussions, legislative formalities, and debates had led to significant changes from the end of 2021 to the early phase of 2022. The turbulent changes which have been applied in existence in the recent development are –
- The regional center program has been revived for five years at higher pricing, undergoing a United States Immigration and Citizenship service audit. According to the investors, the Regional Center program is a more popular route for potential EB-5 visa applicants.
- Shorter processing duration for the investments, preferably six months for the issuance of I-526 petitions and I-829 petitions within a year. This step still requires a clear study from the Department of Homeland Security on the process of achieving it.
- Rising the investment amount up to $800,000 for high employment investments and rural areas, i.e., in the TEAs (Targeted Employment Areas), whereas $1,050,000 for other ventures and plans, i.e., the non TEAs.
- 20% of the visas granted in a year will be petitioned for the newly formed rural categories, 10% for areas of high unemployment, and 2% for investments in infrastructure projects and plans.
- There is a new addition of two fees: $20,000 for the annual regional center fee and $1,000 for investor filings.
- Safeguarding the existing investors against the expiration of the program of EB-5 immigrant visas in the future days, thereby eradicating any probable uncertainty faced by the applicants in the last eight months.
- Concurrent filing of the EB-5 program by the ones already living in the States but under a different visa category.
It can be hoped that these developments will give rise to a positive change in the program and will lay a worthwhile opportunity for the potential future immigrants of the United States for a better tomorrow. Another route for the pursuance of an EB-5 visa is the golden visa, which requires an investment of $500,000 in the employment sectors of America.