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What are the barriers the EB-5 legislation proposed by United States Senator John Cornyn faces?

John Cornyn proposed that 10,000 visas a year should not count family members. If reasonable bipartisan reform (TEA, minimum amounts, etc.) can be reached this year, would there be any other barriers in Congress to resolving the visa number shortage? We hope John Cornyn''s proposal will be taken seriously and not be treated just as a bargaining chip that may be abandoned later in the negotiation. Given that Congress will be likely to set aside visas for rural areas, if the total available number is not increased, the waitlist for Chinese investors will certainly become significantly worse or even doubled it will be neither practical nor healthy for the EB-5 Program.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You definitely make excellent points. There proposals are not yet laws. Some of the proposals will be well-received. It seems, even though there are long time delays, people still file EB-5 petitions. Substantially long time delays will cause the Chinese investor to obtain residency in other countries with Residency by Investment programs.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I, along with the most of us in the industry, share your hope that this provision will survive. I think there would be likely backlash about giving preferential treatments to people with money cutting through red tape over other immigrants. Currently, the visa numbers are counted in most other categories as the main applicant/beneficiary, with applicants'' families all being counted separately to reach their cap. One notable exception is the H1B cap, in which the 85,000-cap is for workers only. Another push back could come from those who do not want one country dominating the immigrant pool, which is how the per country quota came into being.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB-5 is a highly politicized visa program. Senator Cornyn faces opposition from some ranking legislators that seek to limit the visa number allotted for this category or even abolish the program altogether (ie., Sen Grassley (R-IA) and Sen Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced legislation to abolish EB-5). However, the Program is working and has many supporters.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A proposed legislation by nature is fungible and unpredictable. It is subject to all kinds of social, political and economic special interest group agendas. Senator Cornyn's legislative efforts will go through the same process. There are anti-immigration forces both in and outside the Congress who want no part of his proposal. Just as well, there are pro-reform groups who want a law that will ease the current waiting period for all potential petitioners, especially those from China. However, there is no guarantee that what comes from Congress will satisfy either the Senator or other interested parties. My advice would be to avoid planning any EB-5 plan on just a piece of proposed legislation. Also, advisably, base your plan on the existing law which has been extended until the end of September this year.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The language in Senator John Cornyn''s (R-TX, Majority Whip of the United States Senate) legislation that would make the dependents of the petitioner not count against the quota. This solution is very welcome. If such language is included in the final EB-5 Regional Center reform legislation, it would have a very favorable impact on reducing the backlog under the EB-5 preference for Chinese investors. There are several major obstacles in having such language included in any final legislation, however. Within the Senate, particularly among the Republican majority, there is a general consensus that there should be no overall increase in visa numbers and this legislation would have a small increase in the total visa numbers proposed under the quota. Secondly, there are many U.S. Senators who may not be supportive. It is unclear whether or not U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley would support these propositions, assuming everything else in the legislation was to his satisfaction. Finally, there are those who will argue that, if dependents under the EB-5 employment-based preference are not counted against the quota, then dependents in the other employment-based classifications should not count either. At any given time, there are significant backlogs under the employment-based quotas, particularly for nationals from India and China. Furthermore, some will say if you apply this language to the employment-based classifications it should equally apply to the family-based classifications, which in turn also have significant backlogs. However, it is the hope of many who support good EB-5 Regional Center reform legislation that Senator Cornyn''s language will survive in the final legislation and that an exception will be made given the importance of bringing more foreign capital to the United States creating more jobs.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The barrier is the Republican position that they will not increase visa numbers. This Cornyn proposal is amazing and we are delighted that a powerful Republican like Cornyn has taken the lead on this issue. By the way, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has also proposed a bill that resolves the problem and is even better because it removes the per-country limitation of 7.1%.

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