Review of 2018 Changes to EB-5 Part 2: Changes to the Regional Center Program
In my last article we discussed obstacles and issues that faced the EB-5 program in 2018. These issues have largely arisen due to larger political factors, which recently resulted in a 35 day government shutdowns that just ended last week and drove volatility into basically all immigration conversations.
The Regional Center Program has not been immune to these large scale political factors, for a number of reasons.
First, the Regional Center Program is not permanent, but is reauthorized from time to time by an act of Congress. Since its inception in 1992 under an initial 5 year term, reauthorization of the Regional Center Program has seen varied levels of friction. In 2018, we saw 5 separate potential end dates for the Regional Center program, as well as 2 temporary losses of authorization during the government shutdowns. Fortunately, the Program did not close for any major period of time and we expect to see continued operation of the Regional Center Program through September 2019, the end of the government fiscal year.
The only major legislation discussed this year to alleviate the Regional Center Program’s issues was a draft called the “EB-5 Reform Act” that was written by Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). This draft act was panned by a few key groups and never made it into the March appropriations bill. The bill would have provided a five year extension to the Regional Center program, which would have been very helpful during this period of political uncertainty. However, there were clear gaps in the bill that would have caused significant issues for investors looking to utilize the Regional Center program.
At this point, we are looking to Congress for indications of whether there is a clear path to a more solid extension of the Regional Center program in site. We are optimistic that Congress will be able to push something through, however we do not expect to see significant movement until there is more clarity on the future of the Southern Border security and, potentially, on DACA. We will keep a close eye on immigration news from D.C. to get a sense of what may happen this year.
As always, if you are interested in pursuing a US Green Card through the EB-5 program, we strongly advise the employment of an experienced immigration lawyer to guide you through the oft-changing EB-5 regulatory environment. Mark Ivener has practiced immigration law for over 45 years, the last 25 years guiding investors through the EB-5 process.