U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule regarding changes to the EB-5 Immigration Investor Program that applies to immigrants who want to become U.S. investors. The rule became effective on November 21, 2019.
What Is the EB-5 Immigration Investor Program?
The EB-5 program allows individuals to apply for conditional lawful permanent residence within the United States if they make a qualifying investment in a U.S. commercial enterprise and either preserve or create 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers who are also qualified.
As of November, USCIS made changes to this program, including:
Increased Minimum Investment Amounts
The USCIS’s final rule for the EB-5 program raised the standard minimum investment level from $1 million to $1.8 million to account for inflation, which is the first time it’s seen an increase since 1990. This rule also maintains a 50% minimum investment differential between a targeted employment area (TEA) and non-TEA, increasing the TEA amount from $500,000 to $900,000. Subsequently, the minimum investment amount will further adjust for inflation once every five years.
TEA Designation Reform
The final rule also outlined certain changes to the EB-5 to cover the gerrymandering of areas with high unemployment, i.e. manipulating electoral constituency boundaries. Historically, gerrymandering of these areas was achieved by merging a number of census tracts in the attempt to link prosperous project locations to less prosperous communities in order to achieve the qualifying average unemployment rate. The rule would ensure that the Department of Human Services (DHS) would directly make TEA designations to help maintain fairness and consistency.
Detailed Procedures for Removing Permanent Residence Conditions
The final rule also revised regulations to clarify that derivative family members who are also lawful permanent residents are required to independently file to remove permanent residence conditions. This requirement isn’t applicable to family members who appear in a principal investor’s petition for the removal of conditions.
Enabling Petitioners to Maintain the Priority Date
The final rule grants more flexibility for immigrant investors with an EB-5 immigrant petition that’s already been approved. When filing a new petition, these individuals will now be able to keep the priority date of the previous petition with a few exceptions.
Individuals interested in becoming immigrant investors in the U.S. can visit the USCIS website to learn more about the changes that the new EB-5 final rule will bring.