In the April 2016 issue of Global Perspectives, we covered the trials and tribulations of reauthorizing the U.S. EB-5 Regional Center Program.
To recap, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is designed to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In exchange for making a minimum investment into a new U.S. business that results in the creation of at least 10 jobs, foreign investors may secure legal residency for themselves and their families.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program was originally set to expire last September. Six distinct reauthorization bills were introduced in 2015, all attempting to usher in reforms that would make the program more transparent, accountable, and permanent.
In spite of intense negotiations with the EB-5 Investment Coalition (NAR is a member of this coalition) and other stakeholders, it became clear that the details of a complex and difficult EB-5 immigration reform bill could not be resolved prior to the deadline. At the last moment, the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program was extended until September 2016, giving the U.S. Congress more time to hammer out permanent reforms.
Where are we now?
On September 28, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government operations through December 9. This includes the EB-5 Visa and the EB-5 Regional Center Program. With only two days to spare before the end of the fiscal year and a government shutdown, the bill passed with rare bipartisan support, with a Senate vote of 72-26 and a House vote of 342-85. The CR funds almost all federal agencies and associated programs and projects at fiscal year (FY) 2016 levels and prohibits federal agencies from starting new programs, projects or activities.
For the EB-5 program, NAR will be working in coalition with other stakeholders to work with Congressional leaders in the upcoming “lame duck” session to reauthorize the program for the long term and make sure the program is viable, transparent and accountable for the funds that it invests in economic development projects.
Stay tuned! More updates to come in December as Congress revisits the EB-5 visa program.
Cindy Fauth (CIPS, ePRO) is Director of Global Marketing & Communications for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial & Global Services division. She joined NAR in September 2009, and lends her expertise to the promotion and growth of the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, At Home with Diversity certification, and International REALTOR® membership, along with the many other programs NAR Commercial & Global Services offers.