Foreign investors are closely monitoring the changes to the United States EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme like never before. Over the past four months, the US EB-5 programme, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, has witnessed dramatic changes. Consequently, there has been a surge in demand for immigration to the US by way of investment.
The first major regulatory update to the EB-5 programme in almost three decades, as reported by the Office of Policy and Strategy of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, took place on November 21, 2019 by way of the EB-5 Modernisation Rule, pursuant to which the minimum required capital investment was raised from $500,000 to $900,000 per file. Prior to the effective date of the EB-5 Modernisation Rule, the 12-month receipt average for EB-5 petitions was 366.
With the implementation of the EB-5 Modernisation Rule and the increase in investment amount, the 18-month average receipt for EB-5 petitions declined to 22. The dramatic decline in the number of EB-5 petitions being received by USCIS was mainly a result of the increase in investment amount; however, the coronavirus pandemic surely also played a huge role in decreasing demand for immigration to the United States.
Interested investors were met with positive news when on June 22, 2021, the US District Court for the Northern District of California, in the case of Behring Regional Center v. Wolf, vacated the EB-5 Modernisation Rule, which effectively reduced the investment amount back down to $500,000. The news of the reduction in capital investment coupled with the then-looming sunset of the EB-5 regional center program led to a rush in which foreign nationals, especially expats in the UAE, rushed to file their applications. As such, June 2021 witnessed the filing of 445 EB-5 petitions, which was a record high number as compared to the November 2019 rush.
What should you do now?
At the moment the EB-5 regional centre programme, which is the most popular route for investors, has been placed on hold until it receives reauthorisation from Congress. Investors are highly anticipating the reauthorisation of the EB-5 regional centre programme. Industry experts claim that the programme will be reauthorised on September 30, 2021, during which time investors will have a short window of opportunity to file their applications at $500,000.
If you are an investor looking to apply to obtain green cards for yourself and your eligible family members, including your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21, your next step is to contact an experienced immigration consultancy to guide you through the process.
Once you have found the right firm to work with, you will need to start gathering your documents. The list of required documents differ for every individual investor depending on their source of funds to be used for EB-5 investment purposes. Hence, the importance of contacting the right advisors.