On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its second EB-5 hearing of the year, "The Distortion of EB-5 Targeted Employment Areas: Time to End the Abuse." The day before, on April 12, 2016, the SEC filed a complaint against Jay Peak, its principals, and their controlled entities, alleging misuse of investment funds.
Despite the obvious benefits that the EB-5 Program has brought to cities and states throughout the United States, some politicians prefer to delve in what they refer to as ‘controversy.’ The controversy partially questions the location of the new EB-5 created jobs.
Extell Development isn’t just giving Asian buyers the first crack at buying apartments at its forthcoming condominium in Lower Manhattan. The firm is eyeing Asian investment in the project, dubbed One Manhattan Square, through the EB-5 visa program.
The Gary Barnett-led firm is hoping to raise between $100 million and $200 million for the 815-unit project through the popular – and controversial – program, which offers foreign investors a U.S. green card in exchange for a $500,000 investment.
After a three-year investigation, the first criminal charges have been filed in the state's EB-5 case.
Joop Bollen, the owner of the South Dakota Regional Center in Aberdeen, is now facing felony charges for misusing federal funds intended to recruit foreign investors for the EB-5 program for the Northern Beef Packers plant.
The investigation into the state's EB-5 program began in April of 2013, but before charges could be filed, Richard Benda with the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development died of suicide in October 13.
The EB-5 Visa Program Placed Under Microscope in Senate Hearing
On December 15, 2015, Congress extended the current EB5 Regional Visa Program. None of the expected changes were enacted. Two days after the extension of the program Senators, Flake, Cornyn and Schumer, introduced bill S.2415, known as the EB-5 Integrity Act of 2015. This bill aims towards a permanent reauthorization of the EB5 investor program and proffered changes in job requirements, business plan pre-approval, EB5 integrity fund, reporting, to name a few.
All approved EB-5 Regional Centers with a designation letter dated on or before September 30, 2015, must file Form I-924A, for fiscal year 2015 no later than December 29, 2015.
There is no filing fee for Form I-924A.
Regional Centers are required to submit Form I-924A every year to demonstrate continued eligibility for the regional center designation. 8 CFR 204.6 (m)(6).
As a reminder Regional Centers may be terminated for:
Historically, the EB5 Visa Investor Program has not been a popular immigration path to US. However, within the last several years, interest in the program has increased dramatically. In fact, 2014 was the first year since the program began in 1991 that USCIS issued all 10,000 EB5 visas that it was permitted to issue in a year. Specialists in the field are predicting that this cap will be reached again in 2015, thus increasing the likelihood that this visa program will begin to experience a backlog.
Last week, U.S. media outlets reported that Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed to end EB5 Visa Investor Program by opposing an extension of the program beyond December 11, 2015. The expiration will not touch the EB5 program itself, only the Regional Center program which accounts for more than 90% of all investor applications