EB-5, or the Immigrant Investor Program, was established as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 passed by the United States Congress. It drastically restricted the immigration system in the country and altered the non-immigrant visa categories. In addition, this act changed deportation rules while increasing legal immigration limits.
Why Create the Immigrant Investor Program?
According to Realtimecampaign.com, Congress created this program to help stimulate the economy. It wanted to provide foreign entrepreneurs with a path to live and work in the country permanently by investing in a commercial enterprise in America.
Three years later, Congress established the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program to bring more attention to the Immigrant Investor Program. With the creation of this program, EB-5 Regional Centers were established to administer these investments and create jobs. To learn more about the Immigrant Investor Program, read here.
1990s Program Reforms
During the late 1990s, the EB-5 program underwent major reforms. Lax enforcement of the regulations and fraud in the investments brought about the reforms. This led to the Administrative Appeals Office making changes to the requirements in 1998. Investors were now required to provide proof that their investments come from lawful sources. Furthermore, the investor must have personal involvement with their project and they cannot guarantee an investment return.
The agency attempted to apply the regulations retroactively. Courts determined it was unable to do so. However, when the requirements changed, fewer people applied to the program.
The Administrative Appeals Office works to ensure all regulations are applied to new applications evenly. Several precedent decisions were made in the 1990s to make certain this is the case. The decisions now oversee such things as which commercial entities can take these investments and how the investments are administered.
Program Reforms During the Early Part of this Century
In 2003, Congress attempted to revitalize this program by passing the Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion act. This act led to the Government Accountability Office being made to investigate the program.
During this investigation, it was found that only a small percentage of the visas allocated for this program were actually granted in any given year. To change this, the Investor and Regional Center Unit was created in 2005. This unit now oversees the program. It develops regulations, creates policies, and audits cases. The EB-5 program is better coordinated and more reliable thanks to the creation of this unit.
In 2009, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service centralized processing. Now, this processing takes place solely in California. In addition, the EB-5 direct investment is now a permanent part of United States law, Foreign investors benefit greatly from this program. However, help may be needed in understanding the regulations. A company such as EB5 Capital can provide this help.
Recent Changes to the Program
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service updated the rules in 2019. Investors must put more money into their investments, among other things. In addition, the EB-5 Regional Center program has been reauthorized until 2027 as part of the EB-5 Program Changes Under Reform and Integrity Act.