Written by Shareholder Richard J. Block
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) released yesterday in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking a set of proposed changes to the EB-5 immigrant investor program, increasing the required investment amounts from $1 million to $1.8 million for direct investments, and from $500,000 to $1.35 million in targeted high-unemployment areas (TEAs) where most regional centers are located.
Although the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had been mulling over possible "regulatory and policy changes" regarding the EB-5 program for quite some time, this level of increase in the minimum investment amounts was not anticipated. The Notice said “The increase would ensure the program requirements reflect the present-day dollar value of the investment amounts established by Congress in 1990.” The proposals outline other major changes to the program including removing the ability of states to designate high-unemployment areas. Under the new rules, that power would be reserved for the DHS. Stakeholders have been given until April 11, 2017 to comment on the proposals. It will likely be another 2-3 months after that before DHS issues a final rule with an effective date for all the proposed changes.