After a majority vote in the United States Senate and a nearly unanimous vote by the United States House of Representatives, President Obama as signed the bill to extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program by three years, allowing the program to continue to provide opportunities for Foreign Investors to invest capital into U.S. projects and receive conditional permanent residency through 2015.
Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX), Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) all spoke in favor of the EB-5 Regional Center Program re-authorization on the floor of the House, according to an IIUSA press release.
“I am very excited that the EB-5 Regional Center Program has been extended,” said U.S. Immigration attorney Edward C. Beshara. “The program is not only of great benefit to U.S. EB-5 projects, businesses, entrepreneurs, and the U.S. economy, but also provides an immediate opportunity for foreign investors to continue to participate in the program to obtain conditional permanent residency and, eventually, full permanent residency.”
Beshara, who has 30 years of U.S. Immigration law experience and particular expertise with the Regional Center Program since its inception, says that the extension will allow investors to continue to participate with, now, a renewed sense of confidence.
“It is clear that the U.S. government continues to see the many benefits of the EB-5 program,” Beshara said, “especially the requirement for U.S. employment creation.
In addition to the renewal of the program, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service have announced the creation of a “new office to oversee all administration of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program,” in order to manage the increased popularity of the EB-5 program. Already, twice as many investor applications have been approved in this fiscal year than all of the year before.
USCIS has recently added eight expert economists, and a new “Chief of Immigrant Investor Programs” to handle the amount of interest in the program, including a three-fold increase in I-526 petitions.
Beshara, also an adjunct professor of business immigration law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville, FL, believes that these USCIS changes are wonderful news under the right circumstances.
Beshara states that the continued lack of clarity from the USCIS EB-5 unit in regard to the EB-5 rules, regulations, and procedures make it very difficult for the EB-5 Regional Centers and EB-5 projects to prepare the appropriate and approvable legal and financial infrastructures for the foreign national investors.
“With an understanding of what the rules and policy directives are, and the fact that there should be very clear and transparent requirements,” Beshara further stated, “the adjudicators and decision-makers – which could include the securities attorneys, economist, and supervisory officers – will be able to provide consistency in the adjudication process which in turn will lead to a prompt decision-making process.”
“This would allow the EB-5 adjudicators to make favorable and quick EB-5-compliant decisions,” Beshara added. “This clarity ould allow the EB-5 project principals and foreign national investors to know with more certainty as to what projects will be legally approvable.