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February 28 2022

Update on EB-5 Regional Center Program

As I explained in my last newsletter, the EB-5 Regional Center (not the Direct EB-5 program) statute lapsed on June 30, 2021.  USCIS and the Department of State have frozen in place all I-526 and adjustment and immigrant visas.  I-829 removal of conditional resident status may still be granted.
I received a message from a colleague who is involved in the effort to extend the EB-5 Regional Center program and he said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the EB-5 program will be extended with the March 10 budget bill.  I hope he is right.
The new law, it is rumored, may increase the investment amount to a minimum of $750,000; allow “enterprise zones” to be Targeted Employment Areas; and may allow for fast track of EB-5 applications for investors in government projects.  Again, these provisions are not certain at all.
There are a few lawsuits that have been and will soon be filed against the government by EB-5 applicants.  One argues that while the Regional Center law expired, the basic visa allocation law has not lapsed and those with approved I-526s should have their case completed without the Regional Center law.  We will see how the courts react to that concept. 
USCIS is also rumored to have decided to deny applications (not I-829s) in mid-March if Congress does not extend the law.  I bet the lawsuits mentioned above will try to stop that from happening.
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, there is a proposal to grandfather pending Regional Center applications under the old law, if the Regional Center law is not re-authorized.
The USCIS is also slowly granting work and travel permits to EB-5 applicants who previously filed adjustment of status (Form I-485). 
Nothing is certain with EB-5 right now with the exception that people can file in Direct projects (that create 10 full time jobs per EB-5 investor).