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How will the new Trump administration impact the EB-5 program?

I have read about the potential effects of the regulatory changes proposed by the DHS to the EB-5 program. How could the Trump administration affect the ability of the DHS to make these changes? Do you expect to see any changes to visa processing times, quotas of visas or the investment amount?

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I do not anticipate the Trump Administration will impact int he EB-5 program in any negative or positive way. It has been well-recorded that Donald Trump''s companies have utilized EB-5 financing, thus you would assume that President Trump has personal familiarity with the EB-5 program. However, any real substantive change in the program would be most likely to come from Congress, although it is possible that the Trump Administration could either withdraw, amend or issue new EB-5 regulatory changes. There is no reason to think that the Trump Administration will take any negative position. In terms of visa processing times, the Trump Administration will hopefully provide increased funding for more EB-5 examiners, but that is far from certain. The Trump Administration cannot change the quota with respect to the annual visa cap of 10,000 or the required investment amount of $1 Million (unless in a TEA which would then be $500,000) without first the Congress of the United States legislating such changes.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Many expect the Trump Administration to be favorable of the EB-5 program because it is in line with his platform. In the last 3 years, almost $20B was invested in return for admitting about 3,000 families a year who invest in homes and businesses at no cost to the taxpayer. It also creates jobs, which is the cornerstone of his policies. In addition, many EB-5 projects benefit infrastructure. Finally, both President Trump and his son-in-law are New York developers who have seen how this has benefited NY and the economy. So, I am hopeful they will improve the program by allocating more numbers and improving processing times. However, President Trump is a businessman, so I expect to see him push up the price of investing, as the $500,000 amount was established over 25 years ago and is cheap compared to the investment programs of other countries (i.e. the United Kingdom at 2 million pounds and Australia at 5 million AU dollars).

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    Robert V Cornish Jr

    Securities Attorney
    Answered on

    There is currently a significant debate in the United States as to the what the investment amount for EB-5 should be, which is up for reauthorization on April 28. So, investing in EB-5 before April 28 should preserve your ability to take advantage of the $500,000 amount. There has been talk of the amount going up from anywhere to $750,000 to over $1 million, with some incentives or set-asides for projects in rural or distressed areas to have accelerated processing (note there is already a national emergency provision in EB-5 that has been used to build addiction clinics and similar projects in poor inner-city areas). There is not much talk about increasing the visa number (even by proponents of the program), although USCIS is in the process of adding staff to ease processing times. Much of how EB-5 may proceed will depend upon whether the Trump Administration wants EB-5 as an investment vehicle for infrastructure development or for projects where jobs are needed. His son-in-law currently uses EB-5 for various projects, but the rhetoric from many in the U.S. Congress has expressed frustration with a few aspects of the program. These include the gravitation towards projects in ritzy urban areas, fraud and the ability of people to use the program for illicit purposes, such as industrial espionage. In short, the EB-5 program will likely be reformed in some manner in the near future to address all of these issues, all in tandem with the overall objectives of the White House.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This is a very good, timely question to which there is no easy, clear-cut answer. The regulatory proposal by the DHS, which would increase the investment amount and specify how TEAs should be designated, was done by the Obama Administration when all the high-level officials were on their way out. Because of this, the Trump Administration could pull the proposed regulation and state that they need to further review before making the proposal. They have not done so yet and it is not clear if they will. Congress also could enact a new statute specifying the new investment amount and TEA parameter that will effectively prevent the currently proposed DHS rule to take effect, as those rules were promulgated under the old statutory parameter. However, Congress has not done anything yet, either. Thus, if neither the Trump Administration nor the Republican-controlled Congress takes action to change what DHS has proposed in January, there is a chance that the proposed rules could become final rules and take effect as early as this summer.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    All guesses at this point, but it is most likely that his administration will continue the EB-5 Program with a few changes (ie., increasing of the minimum capital requirement, changing the TEA designation process, etc) since he has a real estate developer background with a personal interest in keeping the program going. For instance, Trump uses the EB-5 program to raise funding for Trump Bay Street, a 50-story luxury rental apartment building in New Jersey.

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