Preparing for the Regional Center deadline June 30, 2021

2/17/2021 Update: Please visit my new Reauthorization Page, which collects resources and information for the advocacy effort.

The EB-5 regional center program is currently authorized through June 30, 2021. Reauthorization happened almost by default in recent years but cannot happen by default this year, since unexpectedly separated from the appropriations process. Reauthorization will require extraordinary action by industry (in education and advocacy) and Congress (in managing to act on EB-5 legislation).  

If the regional center program permanently loses authorization, then the U.S. economy will lose a major engine for economic development and job creation, and all past regional center investors plus family who do not yet have conditional permanent residence (over 80,000 people) risk losing the chance for EB-5 visas, even as their funds were already taken and spent in the U.S. economy. Congress and the public are not well educated in either of these consequences. There is urgent work to do.

IIUSA has hosted a helpful webinar and published articles that addressed many of my EB-5 advocacy questions from last month.  If you have a stake in the regional center program and questions about what’s going on with reauthorization and what you can do before June 2021, review this information:

According to IIUSA, the likely only path to reauthorization is a forthcoming “EB5 Reform and Integrity Act” to be introduced by Senator Grassley and Senator Leahy. Apparently we have a tiny window before this introduction to suggest “technical changes” to the language that a few people negotiated in secret last year. (With the secrecy being at Grassley/Leahy staff request, IIUSA leadership says.) Here is the language of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act disclosed last December, and a section by section summary of the bill. If you have a constructive suggestion for change to that language, be quick to make it known. (I assume it’s too late to address the overall weakness: that the bill targets the regional center program of 2015/2016, not the entirely different landscape that exists today. But the bill could be worse, and some detail fixes might make it more workable.)

I believe the message that supporting Grassley/Leahy’s ill-informed but at least motivated effort for “EB-5 reform” is simply the only option to get to regional center program authorization within the next few months. Back when billions of dollars were at stake in on-going/future raises, more people got involved with competing advocacy. Those motivating new dollars aren’t there anymore, in the post-regulations and post-retrogression landscape. Now lingering advocacy has to be mainly motivated by good faith — including good faith with past investors whose funds were already spent but who don’t have visas yet. It’s hard for me to imagine the old New York EB-5 advocacy faction hustling now just for the sake of good faith. And even if they did, it would be solitarily behind closed doors, judging by history, and not a factor in community efforts to make reauthorization happen. Once Grassley and Leahy introduce their EB-5 reform bill, I will support it as the only choice for the near-term reauthorization objective. If I become aware of any other choices, I will report on them. In the meantime, I have added my name to a new advocacy group that IIUSA has created: Coalition to Save and Create Jobs. Take a look at the site, and consider signing up. It’s a good concept, and anyone can join for free. (Paying to join IIUSA is also an option of course.) I will be delighted if this coalition succeeds in informing and organizing stakeholders for positive action. Time to compensate for the sad failures in association-building, education, and advocacy that lead us to today’s challenges.

I foresee a lot of volunteer labor in the coming weeks. (For the dire state of current Congressional education about EB-5, see this 2021 Congressional Research Service report. ) I am currently working on a white paper designed to highlight an overlooked talking point: the past responsibility implicated in regional center program authorization. Most people in Congress, including Senator Grassley, have not understood that EB-5 investments do not in fact “buy” green cards, and thus have not in fact resulted in visas yet for tens of thousands of people whose money was already invested and spent long ago, but who are still in-process immigration-wise and dependent on regional center program authorization to prove job creation. Surely Congress wants to avoid finding itself guilty of a fraud scheme that dangled possible visas as bait to invest in U.S. businesses and create U.S. jobs, only to — after successfully attracting billions of dollars and helping U.S. project finance and job creation through a recession – change the law to prevent the visa incentive from ever being granted. I will do my best to shine a light on that pitfall, to help Congress avoid it.

It’s also important to highlight the positive: what EB-5 has done and can do for future economic development and job creation. A dozen flashy old scandals still dominate EB-5 news and the program’s image – the boring reality about the majority of EB-5 projects is not told, and must be told. EB5 Investors Magazine started work last year on an EB5 Projects page, and I look forward to additional efforts in this vein.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

19 Responses to Preparing for the Regional Center deadline June 30, 2021

  1. Andrea says:

    Can I ask your opinion on what might happen to applicants that passes 526 and waiting for visa if regional Center were not authorized? Will be visa still issued?

  2. How about pending I-829s if EB5 loses reauthorization?

    • After having obtained conditional permanent residence, EB-5 investors enjoy some leeway for change. The USCIS Policy Manual is silent on the potential impact of regional center program sunset, but it does specify flexibility in the case of individual regional center termination. If an investor’s particular regional center sponsor is terminated, that investor will not automatically lose conditional permanent residence status, and at the I-829 stage “will continue to have the opportunity to demonstrate compliance with EB-5 program requirements, including through reliance on indirect job creation.” Assuming that the policy created for individual regional center terminations could be generalized to a regional center program sunset situation, then regional center program sunset should not be fatal for investors in the stage between green card and I-829 approval.

      • Thank you so much Suzanne! But hopefully the new laws can pass before 630, even if it is not perfect.

        It would be better to adjudicate both new and pending cases more efficiently, such as pay extra fees for pending 526 and 829s. Waiting 2-3 years for a decision is a torture.

  3. Kim says:

    I was there at the IIUSA webinar and wanted to thank you Suzanne for all the excellent questions you raised. I filed my I-485 earlier this year and this situation is horrifically stressful.

    I’ve been keeping close track of the situation (in no small part thanks to this blog!) so there wasn’t a ton of information at the webinar that was new to me, but one of the things that surprised me was how much of Congressional action happens in secrecy behind closed doors. Why was reauthorization only extended to 6/30 and why was the Grassley/Leahy bill not included in the omnibus? Nobody really seems to know, not even the director of IIUSA.

    It’s irritating to think that even the politicians who have tried to reform EB-5 don’t really know its specifics and seek to paint it as a program where mostly money launderers and terrorists try to hide their money (or something like that). I have already been living in this country for literally decades and EB-5 was a last-ditch attempt after every other option for permanent immigration was closed to me. The money I put in is, quite frankly, a life-changing amount of money for me. I would never have put it at risk had I even the slightest inkling that Congress would eliminate the program.

    Anyway, thank you so much Suzanne for all your advocacy work and for maintaining this blog! This feels like one of the few places (maybe the only place) that I can find candid and detailed information. I anticipate coming back here often in the coming months.

  4. Katherine Bleach says:

    Hi Suzanne

    Thank you for another thoughtful and concise analysis.

    Could you give your source for the figure of 80,000+ existing EB-5 investors who do not yet have conditional permanent residence, please?

    Many thanks,
    Katy

  5. sapna PARIKH says:

    What is processing time for Indian investors , with priority day October 2019

  6. Sri says:

    Good Morning Suzanne, how are you doing today? Could you please advise is there any chance of EB-5 Investment decrease from $900,000 to $500,000 as before in current economic crisis?

    Thanks

  7. KT says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    In the worst case scenario, what should EB5 investors do to reduce our investment loss due to regional center program authorization elimination? My funds were re-deployed in 2019 and I don’t think I would be able to withdraw the fund anytime soon.

    Thanks,

    • I don’t believe that there are good options for pre-CPR investors or regional centers if the regional center program permanently loses authorization. Even if the RCs all wanted to offer investor exit strategies right away, that might not be practically possible. So the focus is on making sure that authorization loss doesn’t happen. Certainly, if Congress can be educated about what depends on RC program authorization, the program should be reauthorized again as it was before. When I have more solid information about how to support advocacy, I will post it here.

      • Charlie says:

        I could be very naive here, but I don’t think congress needs much education on what’s on the line? Despite frauds, even Republicans are on board with the program despite their distaste for pro-immigration policies in general. Trump’s visa suspension exempted EB5 last year was a massive sign on this for me. There must be no shortage of industry lobbyists knocking on every congressperson’s door.

  8. Charlie says:

    It’s a bill supported by both parties. Surely there’s a fair chance to be passed swiftly once brought to the floor, right?

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