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Congress Passes Extension for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Donald TrumpMany involved in the immigration process were waiting to see what Congress would do with the EB-5 program, which faced a fast-approaching sunset date. The answer to this question came in the form of a House Resolution that the president signed into law in early September. For now, the EB-5 program will continue going forward under the same rules and criteria that had existed before, according to a National Law Review report. The fluidity of the rules governing immigrant investors is just one of many areas where it helps to have knowledgeable Florida immigration attorneys on your side who are up-to-date on every aspect of the law and its potential impact on you.

The EB-5 immigrant investor program faced a looming deadline, set to expire at the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, or Sept. 30, 2017. H.R. 601, a bill much more prominently known for providing federal relief to hurricane-ravaged areas and for raising the so-called federal “debt ceiling,” ended that deadline countdown. The legislation, signed into law by President Trump, extends the program through Dec. 8.

While H.R. 601 made no changes to the EB-5 program, the Review report said that the law did, however, hold open the door for Congress to enact a reform bill governing the immigrant investor program. H.R. 601 explicitly created three possible end dates for the program’s renewed funding. They are:  “1. The enactment into law of an appropriation for any project or activity provided for in this Act; 2. The enactment into law of the applicable appropriations Act for fiscal year 2018 without any provision for such project or activity; or 3. December 8, 2017,” whichever comes first.

Although no bills have become law, Congress has made multiple attempts at reforming the EB-5 program. Past efforts have included draft legislation that sought to accomplish various ends. One bill would have changed the definition of, or the necessary criteria for qualifying as, a targeted employment area, or TEA. Under the current EB-5 program, there are two types of TEAs:  high unemployment areas and rural areas. Here in South Florida, there are three locations that qualify as “high unemployment” areas:  Miami Gardens, North Miami, and Fort Pierce.

Other proposed reforms have involved altering the amount an immigrant investor must invest. One recent reform proposal, the RAISE Act, sponsored by two Republican senators, would increase the minimum investment amount from the $500,000 now required by the EB-5 program to $1.35 million. Additionally, that bill would oblige immigrant investors to actively manage the investments they use to gain entry.

Other possibilities for immigrant investor visa reforms include further limiting who is eligible for such visas. This might include declaring ineligible anyone convicted of fraud or banking/securities law violations within a stated period of time. Such an added hurdle could raise the possibility of additional background checks, fingerprinting, or biometric testing.

As noted above, though, none of these changes has passed Congress or become law.

If you are trying to navigate the immigration system, you need to make sure that you are armed with all of the information you need. You need experienced legal counsel on your side who is familiar with these laws and procedures. Contact the skilled South Florida business immigration attorneys at Stok Folk + Kon. Our attorneys have been helping people deal successfully with the immigration process for many years.

Contact us online or by calling (305) 935-4440 to schedule your consultation and find out how this firm can help you protect your interests.

More blog posts:

Federal Regulators Freeze Assets of South Florida Woman who Ran Alleged Immigration Scam, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, Dec. 5, 2016

Federal Immigration Authorities’ Proposed New Fee Schedule Could Significantly Affect EB-5 Applicants, Florida Investments, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, Nov. 11, 2016