On July 14, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order regarding Hong Kong’s preferential immigrant visa chargeability. EB-5 investors who were born in Hong Kong will see their visa availability retrogress from current (C) to a backlog priority date of July 2015.
Previously, investors born in Hong Kong were not subject to the mainland China retrogression line under the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMACT 90). This act recognized Hong Kong as a separate foreign state under the U.S. rules for chargeability. Furthermore, Congress passed the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, which confirmed Hong Kong as a separate foreign state but also gave the president authority to suspend treatment of Hong Kong as a separate foreign state if Hong Kong was not sufficiently independent to justify separate treatment.
The Executive Order terminates Hong Kong as a separate foreign state under the rules of chargeability, removes Hong Kong from the list of countries that may participate in the Diversity Visa Program, removes Hong Kong from the list of countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, and applies the visa availability schedule of China to those born in Hong Kong.
The Executive Order instructs all federal agencies to commence all appropriate actions to further the purposes of the order within 15 days. Unless Congress passes legislation to provide relief for those born in Hong Kong, or the president rescinds the Executive Order, individuals born in Hong Kong will be subject to the backlogs in the China preference categories.