While I am fairly confident that the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program will be extended because of the broad support it has garnered on both sides of the aisle in Congress, many clients often ask me- “What happens if it is not?”
Well if the program is not extended or if the provisions sunset before an agreement by Congress is reached, many regional centers and individual EB-5 applicants will suffer the consequences. No new regional center petitions or amendments applications will be accepted beyond the sunset date. All Form I-526 petitions received after the sunset date would need to demonstrate that the ten jobs created per investors will be direct, permanent, full-time (35 hours per week) jobs for qualified U.S. workers (i.e. U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, Refugees, Asylees or persons granted cancellation of removal or suspension of deportation).
Unless the program is extended, USCIS would hold unadjudicated Regional Center I-924 petitions and Regional Center affiliated I-526 petitions that were received before the provisions sunset in abeyance for an indeterminate period of time pending further action by Congress. If Congress did not reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program, final determinations would be made based on the evidence of direct job creation. The decisions would probably be made on either existing evidence submitted already as part of the initial filing or in response to a request for evidence. Denials would be issued to any pending Regional Center proposals.
The EB-5 visa is an important economic development policy that has created and has the potential to create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. It has also attracted and will continue to attract billions of dollars in foreign direct investment to the U.S. Likewise, it not only serves as a viable tool for many immigrant investors to gain lawful permanent residency in the U.S. but is also an important source of capital for many organizations. A permanent extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program would continue to meet these objectives.