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EB-5 Regional Center Program Bill is Extended

In one of our previous immigration law blog entries, we discussed some of the reasons why EB-5 visas are controversial among legislators and immigrants alike. In particular, some people believe the system allows citizenship to be purchased with enough money – if you can invest any amount between $500,000 to $1 million in a new business, you essentially can get into the United States without much resistance. With the Congress’s recent decision to pass the Omnibus Bill, the EB-5 Regional Center Program has been extended until the end of September 2016. The question on the minds of many remains: “Why would Congress approve a bill so universally divided?”

On the surface, this is not a total loss for those who wanted to see the program retired or changed; instead of it receiving the usual 5 year extension, it was only given 1 year with the promise of further review. But many believe this motion is nothing more than political hot air and a way to sweep the issue aside for the moment with no intention of actually considering future change.

Where There is Opposition, There is Also Support

Supporters of EB-5 visas state that it is a boon for many American industries, in particular the construction and real estate markets. Foreign investors usually have a stake in these industries, especially hotels and living complexes that can turn a quick profit with the right management. In an arguably shaky economy, an extra one million dollars from a foreign investor who wants to oversee a project from American soil is certainly no detriment.

Opponents to the EB-5 Regional Center Program believe it only invites lobbyists into the proceedings, and that where there is money, there is ultimately undue influence. To curb the chances of the system being abused, they wanted to give the government the power to tell investors where they could start their new businesses with the aim of supporting developing areas. They also wanted 2,000 of the 10,000 potential EB-5 visas granted in a year to be allotted for rural areas only, and another 2,000 for impoverished zones. But with the extension of the program, which also came along with extensions to the Conrad 30 J Waiver Program and the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Programs, changes are unlikely without serious reform this year.

The Patel Law Group will continue to keep an eye on this story as it develops and do what we can do bring you important updates. In the meantime, if you need help with immigration law of any sort, feel free to contact us at 888.223.8176, or fill out a case evaluation request form online, and one of our Washington D.C. immigration attorneys will get back to you as soon as possible.