EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program Reauthorized  

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | Mar 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

Congress has passed the “EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022” as part of its Omnibus spending legislation. Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, individuals can apply for permanent residence if they make the necessary monetary investments and create at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for American workers.

The EB-5 Program has been reauthorized through September 20, 2027. Grandfathering laws require USCIS to continue processing EB-5 petitions if the EB-5 Program lapses in the future, as long as the petition has been filed by September 20, 2026.

This bill notably increases the minimum investment amount from $500,00 to $800,000 for investments in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) or infrastructure projects and $1,000,000 to $1,050,000 for investments in non-TEAs. Only the Department of Homeland Security can designate a TEA, which will be valid for 2 years. The bill also sets aside 20% of total EB-5 visa numbers for investments in rural areas, 10% for high unemployment areas, and 2% for infrastructure projects. Unused visas “carry over” in the same category the immediately following year.

Pending immigrant petitions will not be subject to the new rules or higher investment amounts for existing investors. I-526 petitions, applications for adjustment of status, and consular procedures will resume. Investors can concurrently file their I-526 petitions and I-485 petitions to a conditional permanent resident if a visa is available. The new legislation also requires the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a study on how to achieve the processing goal of under six months for I-526 petitions and under one year for I-829 petitions.

Regional Centers (RC) are also undergoing reforms affecting their operations and owners. Caps on indirect and construction jobs have been placed. RCs must be audited by USCIS at least every 5 years. Subject to regulations, possible redeployment may be permitted outside the RC area.

RCs and investors will pay new fees to cover the costs of a new integrity enforcement fund. The payments cost each regional center $20,000 annually, and there is an additional $1,000 investor filing fee.

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