In my lectures in China and the United States, I have been expressing the opinion that a significant increase of the required EB-5 investment amount is inevitable. Congress created the EB-5 program in 1990, setting the investment amount at $1,000,000.00, or $500,000.00 if the business was located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). Two years later, the “Pilot Program” was created, authorizing the EB-5 Regional Center program, setting the same investment amounts. The Pilot Program is selected as the method of investment by the vast majority of EB-5 applicants because of its typical investment amount being relatively smaller at $500,000.00 and because of the flexibility it affords families to live and work where they choose to in the US.
The Pilot Program is scheduled to sunset on September 30, 2015. Despite it’s controversies, this program has created substantial growth in the economy and job market. Because of the benefits it has provided since its inception, it is my firm belief that the program will either be renewed for three more years or hopefully even made permanent. However, all indications are that one key change will be made before it gets renewed: the increase of the investment amount.
Increase in Investment Amount
The increase in the investment amount is difficult to predict. Because the investment amounts were established 25 years ago, we can assume that the increase will be significant. Most predict that the increase would be tied to inflation, in which case we would see investment amounts increase by approximately 70%.
Likewise, it is not easy to determine other specifics of a potential increase, such as when the increase will occur or how the increase will be implemented. Some think the change will be gradually phased in, while others think the change will be set for a particular date. One thing we do know it will not be retroactive. This means that if your investment is made and your application is filed before the change comes into effect, your investment amount will not change.
Department of Homland Security Official Letter
To understand how imminent this increase is, I think it is instructive to look at a recent letter from Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security to Charles E. Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Patrick J. Leahy. The letter states:
“Because the minimum investment amounts have not been adjusted since the program was created 25 years ago, the statutory minimums should be increased both for investments into TEAs and for investments in other areas. USCIS intends to exercise its authority to raise the minimum investment by regulation, but an increase in the statutory minimum investment would ensure that these increases endure. In addition we encourage Congress to consider linking minimum investment thresholds to widely accepted inflation indices, so that future applicants will be held to consistent requirements for program participation.”
There were many recommendations in the letter, but the one that has the most immediate relevance to the investor is the potential increase in the investment amount. Remember that if the investment increases you will be paying 70% more for the same Green Card.
If a Green Card is important to you and your family, I would recommend you consult with a qualified Investment Immigration Attorney today. Waiting to see what Congress does could prove to be a very expensive option.
If you want to learn more about the future of the EB-5 Program, contact Jatoi & de Kirby, APC. Our attorneys want to give you the critical information you need to make the most effective EB-5 investment possible.