The EB-5 scheme has been given another temporary reprieve, as President Trump looks for other ways to reduce immigration and ramp up deportations.
Following the prior extension of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program to December 22nd, the US House of Representatives has opted to extend the scheme once again. The new provisional deadline for EB-5 applicants is now January 19th 2018.
Congress is currently attempting to pass a stopgap budget extension, in order to prevent a total government shutdown – including the framework which manages the EB-5 program. It is not yet known whether the Bill currently being debated would also extend funding for the EB-5.
As previously noted, the deadlines set by Congress are for the phasing out of the Regional Center program, not the entire EB-5 visa framework. However, this is the predominant means by which most EB-5 applicants source investment when applying for visas.
It is strongly believed that the extensions are a precursor to changes in the fee structure of the EB-5 scheme, rather than it being sunsetted. The investments of either $500,000 or $1 million have not been adjusted for inflation since they were first introduced almost 30 years ago.
According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consultation from last year, new figures of $1.35 million within targeted employment areas (TEAs), or $1.8 million outside of these areas are being considered. No final decision has yet been made, however.
The extension comes at a time when President Trump is making good on pre-election promises to curb immigration, making the EB-5 one of the few remaining ‘safe’ immigration schemes. The President has just announced plans to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS), affecting as many as 200,000 Salvadorans on temporary visas.
DHS officials say that the decision is based on improving conditions in El Salvador, rather than any political agenda. The move follows a similar decision to end the DACA scheme for the children of undocumented immigrants, with 1000 deportations a day expected from March.
Another similar scheme for over 60,000 Haitian and Nicaraguan migrants was shuttered in November last year. A six month extension was however granted to 57,000 migrants from Honduras by the acting secretary of the DHS.
The EB-5 scheme has been a marked success, and is unlikely to be targeted by the Trump administration. In 2012-13, more than 11,000 successful EB-5 applicants invested $5.8 billion into hundreds of projects, creating 3.9 percent of all jobs in the country during that time.
The US economy has also been flourishing in recent months. Manufacturing output is at a 13-year high, with the construction and manufacturing sectors adding over 400,000 jobs in 2017. Trump’s $1.3trn tax plan is also expected to produce an economic windfall, with corporate tax slashed to 21%.
We’ll endeavour to keep you up-to-date with the latest immigration news from the US. For more information on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa read our EB-5 page, or feel free to contact us.