Reauthorization

The EB-5 regional center program lapsed on June 30, 2021, and requires Congressional action to reauthorize the program.  This page organizes resources and information specific to reauthorization, and will be updated regularly. (For updates on other EB-5 law/policy issues, see my old Washington Updates page.)

Last updated: October 1, 2021 (updated throughout)

  1. What’s Happening?
  2. Advocacy Groups and Actions
  3. Proposed Legislation
  4. Advocacy Events
  5. Articles from Industry and Media
  6. Articles from Congress/Government
  7. Investor Data Links
  8. Law and Policy Links

What’s Happening?

The regional center program expired on June 30, 2021, and requires Congress to pass reauthorization legislation.

Advocacy Groups and Actions

  • IIUSA advocates on behalf of regional centers, and the broad-based and long-term health of the regional center program. They welcome regional centers, service providers, and investors as paid members (sign up here). IIUSA initially advocated for Grassley/Leahy reauthorization legislation, including by establishing the Coalition to Save and Create Jobs. IIUSA announced in late September 2021 that it now supports an “industry consensus bill” spearheaded by U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Updates from IIUSA are available at https://iiusa.org/blog/
  • EB-5 Investment Coalition also advocates on behalf of regional centers. This July 1 video and the Pathways Vimeo site presents EB5IC’s advocacy messaging.
  • Other parties involved in EB-5 advocacy have included U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Real Estate Roundtable. I do not know of public information about their advocacy, other than Senator Grassley’s negative opinion (e.g. in these articles from 2016 and 2015).
  • The American Immigrant Investor Alliance (AIIA) advocates on behalf of EB-5 investors. See https://goaiia.org/ to read news and updates, sign up for the newsletter, share your story, and get involved. AIIA provides donors with regular video call updates on their advocacy efforts. Videos on the AIIA Youtube channel describe their advocacy efforts.
  • The American Alliance for Economic Development (AAED) advocates specifically on behalf of Chinese interests, particularly with respect to the EB-5 backlog. See https://www.aa-ed.org/
  • Another China-focused group that hasn’t responded to me, but may be active: http://eb5ai.org/
  • Know of others who should be mentioned here? Please email suzanne@lucidtext.com

Proposed Legislation

Articles from the Industry and Media

Articles from Congress/Government

Advocacy Events

Investor Data Links

The population of past regional center EB-5 investors still waiting on green cards is estimated at over 40,000 people ($20+ billion dollars), or over 80,000 people including investors’ family. Continued regional center program authorization is necessary to protect this population.

Estimate of Pre-CPR EB-5 Investors: As of April 2020, USCIS reported 16,633 pending I-526 petitions for EB-5 investors, and 24,005 approved I-526 petitions for EB-5 investors who did not have visa availability yet according to the visa bulletin. A third category of investors is unreported, but likely in the thousands: approved I-526 with visas available but not yet issued. Over 95% of these pending and approved I-526 are likely for regional center investors, judging by past experience. The regional center category accounted for 95% of EB-5 visas issued from 2012 to 2019. References: “I-526 Performance Data FY2020 Q1” and “Count of Approved I-140, I-360 and I-526 Petitions as of April 20, 2018 with a Priority Date On or After May 2018” and “Annual Report of the Visa Office”

Estimate of Total Pre-CPR EB-5 Applicants: Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control & Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, estimated a grand total of 83,003 prospective EB-5 visa applicants in process as of October 2020. This estimate includes applications on file at the National Visa Center and estimated applicants associated with I-526 petitions pending at USCIS. It does not include EB-5 applicants with pending I-485 status adjustment petitions: a population in the thousands. Over 95% of the estimated total EB-5 applicants are likely associated with regional centers. (The regional center category accounted for 95% of EB-5 visas issued from 2012 to 2019.) See slide 9 of “Part 1: A discussion with Charles Oppenheim” (November 19, 2020) 2020 IIUSA Virtual Forum

Law and Policy Links

  • Current regional center program authorization is in Public Law 116-260 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division O, Title I Immigration Extensions (PDF page 967) in this sentence: “Section 610(b) of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note) shall be applied by substituting ‘June 30, 2021’ for ‘September 30, 2015.’” This refers back to Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Public Law 102-395) Section 610(b) (PDF page 47), which originally established the regional center program.
  • To review the regional center statute from P.L. 102-395 together with amendments up to 2012, see this link from USCIS EB-5 training materials. Note that the statute defines the conditions under which visas are set aside for investments associated with regional centers. The statute permits aliens admitted under the regional center program to rely on regional center job creation, including economic methodologies and jobs created indirectly. The statute does not offer any path for people reliant on indirect job creation and economic methodologies (as all regional center investors are) to be admitted to the U.S. absent regional center program authorization.
  • To review the history of regional center program authorizations, see my chart of past authorizations
  • To review USCIS policy with respect to regional center sponsorship, see the USCIS Policy Manual Vol. 6 Part G. Chapter 1(B)2 defines the difference between regional center and direct EB-5. Chapter 2(D) discusses regional center job creation. Chapter 4(C) explains why change in regional center sponsorship is a “material change” that will cause I-526 to be denied or revoked for regional center investors who have not yet received conditional permanent residence status. Chapter 5(C) specifies that an investor who has received conditional permanent residence status has opportunity to continue the immigration process, even in case of regional center termination.
  • For an example of Department of State Policy for regional center visa applications in case of a temporary shutdown, see the note in Section E of the December 2020 Visa Bulletin. “Pursuant to the continuing resolution, the immigrant investor pilot program is extended until December 11, 2020. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 11, 2020, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases after December 11, 2020. If there is legislative action extending these categories, the December dates would be applied for the entire month. If there is no legislative action extending this category, the category will become “Unavailable” effective midnight, December 11, 2020.”
  • For an example of past USCIS guidance for EB-5 form adjudications in the case of a temporary lapse in regional center program authorization (which occurred December 21, 2018 to January 26, 2019 in connection with a government shutdown), see USCIS Guidance Impact Lapse EB-5 Program.