I intend to invest in EB-5 with $500,000. If it changes to $1 million, this will make things difficult for our family. What EB-5 program changes will happen on September 30, 2015? If my family receives a file number before September 30, how will our EB-5 case be affected by program changes after that date?
Congress may likely pass a bill to extend the EB-5 Pilot Program beyond this September 30, 2015. However, nothing ensures that the minimum amount of capital will not be increased. If you are fully invested and filed the I-526 petition before September, you would not be subject to an increased amount.
The EB-5 direct category and Targeted Employment Area (allowing $500,000) will continue beyond September 30, 2015. That is, you can invest in a direct EB-5 project and receive U.S. permanent residency.
We will not know for sure the answer to your question unless and until the U.S. Congress passes an EB-5 bill and the President signs it into law. It is likely that any significant changes to the EB-5 law will apply to future cases only and not cases already filed.
It is impossible to predict with any certainty what kind of changes Congress may enact before the regional center EB-5 program expires in September 2015. However, such changes in law typically do not apply retroactively. If you file your petition before then, you will most likely not be affected by any change.
While it is true there is a "sunsetting" date of September 30 of 2015, the EB-5 industry fully expects a renewal. It is extremely unlikely that any changes to the program would affect those petitions already filed that are currently being processed.
As of now, no changes have been planned after 09/30/2015. The only notable event is that the EB-5 Pilot Program is again up for renewal at the U.S. Congress, which is widely believed to pass without much trouble. Even assuming the investment threshold is indeed raised after the filing of your I-526, your application should be safe, as it will be grandfathered by the rules applicable at the time of I-526 filing.
The changes contemplated for September 2015 are to extend the EB-5 Pilot Program for Regional Centers for three years, not the amount of the investment.
Please note that currently, the EB-5 investment amount is $1 million, not $500,000. In order to qualify for the exception to the rule of $500,000, the business must be in a Targeted Employment Area. Because there is nothing concrete out there for any imminent changes, it is hard to gaze into a crystal ball to say what will happen. However, in most situations when a law or rule changes, the effectiveness of that new law/rule is for how the cases are handled in the future and rarely applies retroactively. Thus, more than likely, even if the law changes to increase the TEA investment amount, if you already have invested fully and filed the I-526 petition, then you would be grandfathered in under the old law/rule.
If you file your I-526 petition for a TEA project before there is a change in the investment minimum, then you will not be subject to the increase. So using your example: if there is a change beginning October 1, and you file the petition on September 30, then you will not be subject to the change.
I have not seen any projects change to $1 million where your case is already on file.
There is a very good chance that the program will be extended or made permanent. If you file, you will be subject to the dollar amount in effect when you file. If the program is not renewed - no one at this time can predict how the adjudication will change. In 2012 they did say that direct employment would be applied to regional centers. This is an important question you should discuss with your investment immigration attorney and your general securities principal.
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