As we predicted last month, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Scheme has officially been extended by Congress until December with no changes.
However, speculation has begun about potential reforms which may take place as the scheme is reconsidered in the coming months. Here are a few points in the EB-5 program that could change, and what that might mean to future applicants.
Previous extensions to the scheme have been three years (up to 2015) and one year (up to 2016). The fact that the latest extension is only three months suggests changes may be imminent. There isn’t too much cause for concern: the fact that it has continued to be extended also means that it’s unlikely to be eliminated completely.
But several suggestions have been made that could improve the process and rewards for both the US economy and EB-5 investors.Throughout the deliberations, major developments across the US have continued to seek EB-5 investments with great success for all parties.
In Florida alone there are dozens of major developments being brought to fruition by foreign investors, including office buildings, apartments, restaurants and museums. The benefits are undeniable, and interest in the scheme has only risen in recent years, although figures for 2016 so far show a small decline.
There are certain adjustments however that are deemed to be necessary for a scheme not changed since 1992. The $500,000 minimum value of investment has been diminished over time by inflation.
As such some observers expect it to be raised to the region of $800,000 for high unemployment areas, and from $1m to 1.2m in low unemployment areas. The popularity of the scheme has also given rise to lengthy waiting lists, with proposals suggesting that it should be opened up to even more applicants.
It should be said that while there is some desire for reform of the EB-5 scheme in Congress, there is no visible lobby drumming up support; it is instead limited to a handful of representatives. It’s also anticipated that the eventual amendments will be coupled with a four year extension, running to the end of the incumbent President’s first term.
Given that both Presidential candidates are seen as pro-business, the future still looks rosy for the EB-5 visa. While Trump would appear to be anti-immigrant, he has also used EB-5 investments in his own projects, and seemingly recognises their considerable value in the business world. However, it may be safest for prospective immigrants to apply now while the scheme is still slightly more accommodating.