But long-term uncertainty continues to dampen the investor visa program’s charm.
The EB-5 investor visa program, which was extended until March 23, 2018, last month, may get another extension today. The program has been extended about half-a-dozen times in the past few years.
“A draft EB-5 bill, introduced approximately two weeks back, appears to have fallen through prior to going for a vote,” Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr’s EB-5 attorney Rohit Kapuria told The American Bazaar. “The draft bill both startled as well as infused a great deal of energy into the EB-5 industry. While the bill did contain several welcome and positive changes, it also failed to allow for a handful of crucial industry requests, such as a provision increasing the total number of EB-5 visas.”
The draft bill would extend the program until September 2023 giving investors some certainty.
However, the visa program is likely to get just a 6-month extension, which would end in September 2018.
The EB-5 program was introduced by Congress in 1990 “to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investor,” explains US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website.
Kapuria said that an extension will save the program from falling off the cliff and will continue to push demand at least for investors from India.
“For the time being, absent unfavorable legislation, it is anticipated that demand from Indian EB-5 investors, who are not projected to face a backlog until sometime in 2020, will continue to rise,” Kapuria said.
He cited the relatively short processing time it takes to get a green card or permanent residency when compared with other visa options as one of the advantages of EB-5. “Importantly, in spite of the lengthy adjudication periods for EB-5 applications, the timeline for attaining permanent residency remains shorter under the EB-5 path as compared to the EB-2 and EB-3 paths for applicants born in India,” Kapuria said. “The cost benefit analysis for the Indian applicants’ falls down to comparing the transactional cost for an EB-5 visa, which are the investment amount and the project risk, as compared against the backlog for the EB-2 and EB-3 Indian born applicants and the ongoing changes to the H1-B program currently being imposed by the Executive Branch.”
However, there is no denying the fact that the repeated short-term extensions do affect the investor confidence who struggle to ensure certainty. “Conversely, the continued short term extensions of the EB-5 program, does result in EB-5 fatigue and will, at some point, dampen interest in the viability and attraction of the EB-5 program,” Kapuria added.