Congress gave final approval last Friday to a $1.1-trillion funding bill, keeping the government running through September 30, 2016 (the end of the fiscal year). Tucked into the law is a provision to extend a key part of the EB-5 investment immigration scheme. The provision extends the pilot program for regional centers through September 30 with no changes. This extension means that nothing related to the program will change, such as minimum investment amounts, definitions for Targeted Employment Areas, or other reforms. All I-924, I-526, and I-829 petitions will continue to be accepted, processed, and adjudicated as normal, until a new reform bill is passed or until the program’s sunset on Sept. 30, 2016.
Over the last year, five bills seeking to reform the EB-5 program have been introduced in both the House and the Senate, all proposing different measures for reform and improvement. When the EB-5 program was due to expire on Sept. 30, 2015, it was temporarily extended through a temporary government funding bill, a “continuing resolution,” until Dec. 11, 2015. In November 2015, a discussion draft produced by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees was widely circulated through the EB-5 industry, expanding upon S.1501, a Senate bill that was introduced in June 2015.
As the deadline of Dec. 16 quickly approached, the House and Senate leadership recognized the need for more work on the bill as voices of the EB-5 industry were heard, and as a result, an extension of the EB-5 program until Sept. 30, 2016, will be included with the omnibus appropriations bill, along with the other expiring immigration programs (R-1 visas for religious workers, the Conrad 30 waiver program for J-1 medical workers, and the E-verify program.)
Sources: Chorodow Law Offices & GT EB-5 Insights