Long-overdue reforms in the investment visa program safeguard national security, deter fraud, and promote urban and rural economic development
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Real Estate Roundtable commends Congress for including the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 in the omnibus appropriations bill that funds the federal government through Sept. 30 and passed the Senate last night. The Act culminates years of hard work by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives who negotiated a pragmatic solution to modernize the EB-5 investment visa program. The measure reauthorizes EB-5 “regional centers” for a five-year term. (See The Roundtable’s EB-5 Fact Sheet)
The regional center program expired last July. Since then, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) put a freeze on EB-5 visa adjudications pending congressional reauthorization. As a result, tens of thousands of overseas investors who committed capital to American economic development projects have seen no progress on their green card applications, worsening a visa backlog that has already dampened foreign investment coming into the U.S.
The act gives USCIS authority to restart its visa review process and address the backlog of petitioners. The EB-5 overhaul will also deter fraudulent schemes that have plagued the program and enhance national security protections with even more robust safeguards on inbound capital. Reauthorizing regional centers for five years also creates stability that will encourage legitimate overseas investors to direct their financing resources to the U.S., and ultimately, spur the job growth needed to recover fully from the COVID pandemic.
“The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act gives our country a competitive edge in the global marketplace for foreign capital and it will attract investments from abroad to create jobs here at home,” said Real Estate Roundtable Chair, John Fish [Chairman and CEO, Suffolk]. “American workers in low-income neighborhoods, downtown business districts and rural markets will benefit from EB-5 modernization because it will bring critical financing to support infrastructure and other economic development projects throughout the country.”
“The Roundtable has advocated for years to clean up the regional center program, and we applaud the passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act,” said Roundtable President and CEO, Jeffrey D. DeBoer. “Its enhanced measures will amplify existing programs to trace foreign investment dollars to legitimate sources and protect investors from fraud. The Act strikes a bipartisan compromise to get the program back on track – and reduces the litigation risk from existing investors who have been waiting in limbo on their visa applications since the program expired last July.”
“We thank House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for their bipartisan, bicameral agreement to include comprehensive EB-5 reform in the omnibus appropriations package,” DeBoer continued. “As the authors of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are to be commended for crafting a product that has the support from a diverse stakeholder coalition.”
The Real Estate Roundtable brings together leaders of the nation’s top publicly held and privately owned real estate ownership, development, lending, and management firms with the leaders of major national real estate trade associations to address key national policy issues relating to real estate and the overall economy