By Sonia Mann, Attorney at Parikh Law Group
This article is for editorial discussion purposes only. Please do not interpret the content contained herein to constitute legal advice or be an interpretation of any laws or statutes. As always, seek counsel with an attorney with regard to your specific legal issue.
The EB-5 foreign investor visa program, which was set to expire on September 30, 2018, has been extended to allow acceptance of applications through December 7, 2018. The controversial program, a favorite of developers utilizing overseas capital as a means of funding investment projects often worth several millions of dollars, has been under scrutiny by Congress and critics for some time. Also known as the Immigrant Investor Visa, the EB-5 program has been around since 1990 and has provided a way for foreign investors to become permanent lawful residents by investing money into a U.S.-based commercial business that will employ American workers. In the last decade, the program has brought an estimated $18 billion into the U.S. economy, which was of particular importance in project financing after the 2008 financial crisis. Some critics have opined that the program creates a 2-tier immigration system giving an unfair advantage to wealthy foreigners to obtain green cards over individuals with less means, such as asylum seekers and refugees, despite the program’s focus on furthering development in rural areas and creating American jobs. The program was salvaged in March of this year, after a series of short-term extensions, when it became included in a federal omnibus bill. President Trump just last week signed the most recent extension as part of a federal spending package in an effort to avoid government shutdown. It appears that this time around, however, there will be zero chances for a longer lasting legislative solution. Currently, there is no plan to address the subject matters that have been the focus of negotiations for the embattled visa program among lawmakers. Combined with an administration that has been quite vocally conservative on the subject of immigration from the start, it appears that the program is nearing its extinction. With new immigration reforms being considered as replacements for several programs, such as the RAISE Act, it appears that Congress is moving towards a more conservative, merit-based point system.
It may take several years for new legislation to be signed into action and to become implemented with USCIS. Until then, the only option for interested persons and their attorneys is a wait-and-see approach. The attorneys at Parikh Law Group have handled hundreds of EB-5 visa applications on behalf of principal applicants and their dependents during times of uncertainty. We are happy to address any questions or concerns our clients may have regarding their current immigration options. Please call PLG at (312) 725-3476 to discuss your immigration matter with one of our experienced attorneys today.