March 18th, 2021, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senior Member, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2021.
The proposed bi-partisan legislation seeks to reform the EB-5 Program in meaningful, investor focused ways. A main goal of the legislation is reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, set to expire June 30, 2021.
The legislation proposes:
1. REAUTHORIZE THE EB-5 Regional Center PROGRAM
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act seeks to reauthorize the program through 2026.
2. ACCOUNTABILITY TO INVESTORS
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act seeks to provide investors greater accountability, through “annual statements to Department of Homeland Security and to investors, accounting for investor capital and certifying compliance with program requirements.”
Regional centers would “utilize a fund administrator or commission an independent annual audit to prevent the misuse of investor funds.”
3. TIMELY PROCESSING
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act would require the Director of USCIS to conduct a study of fees charged in the administration of the EB-5 program. The study would take place within a year. USCIS would then be required to set fees at the level that enables timely efficient processing of petitions.
The bill “protects against the age-out of the children of certain EB-5 investors whose petitions are terminated or whose applications to remove conditions are denied, by providing that if the immigrant investor petitions again, an unmarried son or daughter who has reached age 21 may still be considered a child of the EB-5 petitioner.”
4. INVESTOR PROTECTIONS
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act’s provisions regulate regional centers in an effort to curtail potential fraud. It seeks to preserve immigration benefits for victims, by allowing “good-faith investors who were defrauded the ability to continue participating in the program if they were not involved with the fraud and they associate with EB-5 entities in good standing and meet all other program requirements.”
The bill stipulates investors,’ and petitioners’ right to request “administrative appellate review of certain DHS decisions and adjudications.”
EB-5 investors with a regional center that has its designation terminated can preserve their priority date and would have 180 days to find a new regional center, and would be permitted to make an additional investment, “solely to the extent necessary to satisfy remaining job creating requirements.”
GreenAccess continues to update you about issues that impact the EB-5 program.