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US Government’s offer of EB-5 Residency Visa at decreased $500,000 investment

The immigration landscape of the United States is experiencing a plethora of changes positively affecting people seeking to secure a stable future for the benefit of themselves and their families by immigrating to the US. This desire to provide a secure future for the family is the driving force behind so many foreign nationals from the GCC participating in the US immigrant investor program (EB-5 programme), which allows foreign investors, their spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 to obtain US residency and their green cards through a qualifying investment in the United States.

While for many years since the inception of the programme by Congress in 1990, the minimum capital investment requirement was at $500,000, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Trump administration increased the required investment amount to $900,000 in November 2019. In late December 2020, Behring Regional Center filed a complaint against the DHS requesting a federal court to block implementation of the EB-5 Modernization Rule and seeking to have the investment requirement be reduced from $900,000 back to $500,000.

The case is currently before a US magistrate judge, Jacqueline Scott Corley, who implied in a hearing held in March 2021 that vacating the rule and bringing down the investment amount back to $500,000 would not be disruptive as “someone who couldn’t apply under the new rule now could apply.” Based on her line of questioning, many legal experts have drawn the conclusion that she is open to the decreased amount and vacating the rule based on economic and procedural factors.

The American Legal Center, a top immigration consultancy firm based in Dubai, helps individuals and families take a step towards their goal of achieving the American dream by serving as active guides to their clients undertaking the EB-5 programme. Given the many changes occurring in the US investment immigration landscape, the US licensed lawyers and professionals at the American Legal Center are urging those interested in immigrating to the US to act now. Especially since when the regulations are overturned by the Court, there may only be a short window of opportunity to catch the $500,000 investment threshold before regulators bring back the amount to $900,000.

All eyes in the EB-5 community and those seeking to secure a better future for themselves and their family members by immigrating to the United States are on the outcome of this case. Given the increased investment amount and the adverse impacts of the pandemic in 2020, the number of worldwide applicants for the EB-5 programme had dramatically decreased.

Despite the overall challenges, the decrease in the number of applications did have a positive effect for Indian applicants who are no longer facing long wait times due to Indian retrogression. The reduced waiting period coupled with the expected reduced investment amount makes the time ripe for Indian nationals wishing to start their immigration journey to the United States by way of making an investment through the EB-5 programme.

It is important to keep in mind that even if Corley does invalidate the decision of the acting secretary of DHS under the Trump administration and the investment amount is reduced to $500,000, the change is not expected to be long-lasting as the current secretary of DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas, can ultimately reinstate the implemented rules. Therefore, any foreign national seeking to immigrate to the United States through investment is highly encouraged to act fast and to take advantage of the reduced investment amount once the decision of Corley is formally announced.

Shai Zamanian, the director of the American Legal Center, a US licensed lawyer and EB-5 expert in Dubai, is actively collecting documents in preparation for these changes so that applicants can catch this filing window. “It’s imperative that families considering this program from GCC countries should collect their documents and be more proactive. Taking a reactive approach may or may not pan out,” says Shai Zamanian. The team at the American Legal Center is readily available to assist all those seeking expert advice on immigrating to the United States by way of making an investment in the US economy.

The EB-5 industry is impatiently awaiting the news of the reduction of the investment amount because of the positive impact that the decreased capital requirement will have on middle class families, allowing them to once again partake in the programme and realise their goal of achieving the American dream. While we are all hopeful, even if the fight to lower the investment threshold is not successful, the EB-5 programme will always remain a viable option, as one of the easiest ways to immigrate to the United States, for those families seeking to secure the future of their children and provide them with a good quality of life and education above all else.

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