The May and June visa bulletin have been published and are currently being analyzed by the EB-5 industry stakeholders. These bulletins contain updated visa allocation information for the EB-5 program since the reauthorization of the Regional Center program. On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the Omnibus bill, which included the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (“RIA”) and subsequently reauthorized the EB-5 immigrant investor Regional Center program. The enactment of RIA provided the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) with the authority to proceed with processing EB-5 immigrant investor Regional Center applications. Since the enactment, USCIS has announced that they have resumed processing EB-5 visas for all Regional Center applicants that submitted before 30 June 2021. This means that as EB-5 visas are now allocated it is important for prospective investors to monitor the change in visa availability.
Pursuant to the policy updates of RIA, the U.S. Department of State has updated the visa bulletin to include information on the set-aside (reserved) EB-5 visas. The bulletin indicates that of the available EB-5 visas 20% has been allocated to rural investments, 10% to investments made in a high unemployment area, and 2% for investments made in infrastructure projects. Since USCIS has not officially started accepting EB-5 applications, all set aside visas indicate that the category is current for all nationalities, including China mainland and Vietnam. For nationalities that have a major backlog such as China mainland and Vietnam, they could invest in a project located in a rural area or a high employment area and receive their visas much sooner than the conventional EB-5 route (using unreserved visa categories).
Once the reauthorization of the program was announced, there was a surge of increased interest from prospective investors. The almost 9 month suspension of the program created a huge demand from families seeking to migrate to the west for better opportunities for their families. Some have expressed concern over the possibility of a visa availability backlog once USCIS fully starts processing all applications in the system and new applications coming in. It is important that investors are reminded that under the new “concurrent filing” provision of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, USCIS now accepts adjustment of status applicants from EB-5 investors with an approved or pending I-526 case.
Now more than ever it is important for prospective investors to align themselves with EB-5 consultants that are fully aware of the constant changes that are occurring within the program. There are many exciting and positive elements that have been introduced, that will ensure faster access to the U.S. and more investor protections. Essentially the program is better than before the reforms were introduced. Families that are still seeking to participate in the EB-5 program should contact the team at The American Legal Center, where they will receive detailed information regarding the program and new applications.
Also published on Medium.