The US EB-5 investment immigration program faces a make or break month over calls for it to be terminated.US legislators have call for an end to temporary extensions that have kept the program going for several years. The latest extension expires on April 28, 2017.
Now key players at US Citizenship and Immigration Services want to see the EB-5 USA immigration program reformed or discontinued.
Several bills have been tabled with plans for EB-5, including raising investment levels and changing how a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is defined.
Current US EB-5 Investment Requirements
- An EB-5 investor must invest in a new commercial enterprise.
- The investor must invest at least $1 million when investing in a general area of business or at least $500,000 when investing in a targeted employment area (“Regional Centres”).
- Within two years of admission as a Conditional Permanent Resident, the investor must create or preserve at least 10 full-time, direct or indirect jobs belonging to qualified US workers.
- See Tax Implications of Gaining Permanent Residence Through US EB-5 Visa.
But none has gained significant traction, leaving lawmakers unsure about what to do with the controversial investment immigration program.
The uncertainty has caused a rush in applications, particularly from Chinese candidates, who are central to the USA immigration program’s success.
The strained US-China relationship under Donald Trump is also a cause for concern.
Candidates do not know if the program will exist after April 28, and are hoping applications submitted now will be honoured.
A similar situation is seen among US developers, who are rushing to fund their projects before the potential termination of the program.
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Senator Rand Paul submitted a new plan to expand the program at the end of March, although full details are yet to emerge.
A March 8 hearing was convened to consider many of the tabled proposals, during which Republican Jim Sensenbrenner said: “The days of last-minute extensions in continuing resolutions are over.
“Let me repeat that, no more extensions in CRs. It’s time for all parties to come together to the table so the Congress can do the often-dirty job of legislating.”
There have been calls for the investment threshold to increase, with separate proposals suggesting $800,000 and $1.3 million respectively as the minimum requirement, but nothing has gained significant traction.
It has faced criticism from several sources, who want it abolished. There are several ongoing court cases linked to potential EB-5 fraud. There are calls for a body to be formed to oversee these transactions, to ensure transparency.
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