New Rulemaking Brings Significant Changes to EB-5 Program
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule on July 24 that makes a number of significant changes to its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The final rule will become effective on Nov. 21, 2019.
New developments under the final rule include:
- Raising minimum investment amounts
The standard minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million. The minimum investment amount in a targeted employment area (TEA) will increase from $500,000 to $900,000.
- TEA designation reforms
The final rule outlines changes to the EB-5 program to address gerrymandering of high-unemployment areas (which means deliberately manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency). Gerrymandering of such areas was typically accomplished by combining a series of census tracts to link a prosperous project location to a distressed community to obtain the qualifying average unemployment rate. As of the effective date of the final rule, DHS will eliminate a state’s ability to designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as high-unemployment areas; instead, DHS would make such designations directly based on revised requirements in the regulation limiting the composition of census tract-based TEAs. These revisions will help ensure TEA designations are done fairly and consistently, and more closely adhere to congressional intent to direct investment to areas most in need.
- Clarifying USCIS procedures for removing conditions on permanent residence
The rule revises regulations to make clear that certain derivative family members who are lawful permanent residents must independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence. The requirement would not apply to those family members who were included in a principal investor’s petition to remove conditions. The rule improves the adjudication process for removing conditions by providing flexibility in interview locations and to adopt the current USCIS process for issuing Green Cards.
- Allowing EB-5 petitioners to keep their priority date
The final rule also offers greater flexibility to immigrant investors who have a previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition. When they need to file a new EB-5 petition, they generally now will be able to retain the priority date of the previously approved petition, subject to certain exceptions.
Source: AILA Doc. No. 19072361.