Many things are happening in the market that could directly or indirectly affect existing or prospective EB-5 clients. Could you please give a brief synopsis?
Many things are happening in the market that could directly or indirectly affect existing or prospective EB-5 clients. We are anxiously waiting for the fate of the Regional Center (RC) program. Do you think it will be part of the March 11th omnibus bill? Could you please give a brief synopsis?
We are all waiting for an agreement to be reached between lawmakers and EB-5 stakeholders in time to include a reauthorization bill in the March 11th omnibus appropriations bill. Previously, we thought that, if passed, there would be an up to 90-day grace period enabling investors to get in at the current investment levels. It now seems less probable that there will be such a grace period. There is a good chance that with a reauthorized RC program, the required investment amount for targeted employment area (TEA) projects will increase immediately from $ 500,000 to $ 700,000. If that happens, non-TEA projects could see a decrease from $ 1 million to $ 850,000 making urban projects once again a desirable choice.
Manhattan Regional Center reported a couple of other significant events to its investors. They said that on February 19, 2022, the Behring Regional Center filed a lawsuit against USCIS, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of State (DOS) in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. They sought a court order declaring that the EB-5 Regional Center Program is not expired and that DHS and DOS should continue processing EB-5 petitions and visas.
Also, on February 17, 2022, a group of current EB-5 regional center investors has filed a lawsuit against USCIS. They argued that USCIS is required to process their applications despite the EB-5 reauthorization status.
AIIA, the industry group formed to protect the rights of existing EB-5 investors, is getting increasingly nervous that the investors' rights are being severely compromised. We agree with AIIA. Regardless of what happens to the RC program, Congress should legislate to protect existing investors' rights. In the absence of any long-term reauthorization of the EB-5 program, we strongly support their effort on FIFPA, The Foreign Investor Fairness Protection Act. FIFPA protects job-creating foreign investors from loss of immigration benefits under the EB-5 Program, due to the expiration of temporary legislation or from future amendments to the statute.
In summary, we agree that a lot is happening. We also wish that Congress and influential members of the EB-5 stakeholders' group will take the necessary steps to prevent a large-scale calamity. We advocate bringing back the EB-5 RC program many depend on by all sides prepared to compromise to arrive at a long-term solution.
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