Just to update you on USCIS's proposal to increase the minimum required
investment amounts under the EB-5 program, immediately upon taking office,
President Trump placed a moratorium on all regulations proposed by federal
agencies. Therefore, USCIS's proposal to increase the required investment
amount to $1.3 million in TEAs and $1.8 million in non-TEAs is on hold
until further notice, and might ultimately be abandoned.
In the meantime, I have spoken with a manager at a leading regional center
who is actively involved in lobbying efforts in Congress, and has extensive
knowledge of what is being discussed and negotiated among members of Congress.
This person explained that USCIS may have been motivated to propose such
an extreme increase in the EB-5 investment amount in a concerted effort
with Congress (or in an effort to please Congress) to motivate regional
centers and their lobbyists to make their peace with more moderate investment
increases being proposed in Congress. In more recent negotiations in Congress,
in an effort to reach compromise between members of Congress from urban
and rural areas, who have been locked in a relentless conflict over reforming
rules for designating TEAs, a proposal was made to lower the minimum required
investment amount in non-TEAs to $650,000, and to raise the minimum required
investment amount in TEAs and rural areas to $600,000. This arrangement
would then not disadvantage to such a great extent urban areas that might
no longer qualify as TEAs under more restrictive rules for designating
TEAs that have figured prominently in the recent proposals for EB-5 program
reform from members of Congress from rural areas who are in leading positions
on the Judiciary Committees, in the House and Senate, and have been pressing
hard for such changes to the program, in an apparent attempt to make their
rural regions more attractive for EB-5 projects at the expense of urban
areas, which have thus far attracted the vast majority of EB-5 investment.
We will keep you posted as further, more concrete details emerge.