President Obama signed the Continuing Resolution (CR) on September 29th, continuing the EB-5 program at least until December 6th, 2016, with no substantive changes to the law. If you aren’t familiar with the CR, it is a short-term plan by Congress in order to keep the government open. This included programs funded by the government such as the EB-5 Regional Center program, government agencies, and other additional aid such as funding for the Flint water crisis. The President and Congress should come to a decision on the budget for the entire fiscal year (through September 30, 2017) by the December 6th date.
What Happens with the EB-5 Program?
So what does this mean for the EB-5 Regional Center Program? By signing a Continuing Resolution, the president agreed to keep the EB-5 program running without changes or stipulations throughout the year until Congress can come together and reconvene after the elections. This does, however, increase uncertainty in relation to the Regional Center Program, in that short term continuations into a lame duck session tend to lead to more short-term extensions of the program, rather than independent reform and long-term reauthorization. In the past, a flood of applications have hit USCIS each time a new deadline approached, and this instance is likely no different. It also tends to decrease foreign confidence in the program’s viability, which can make selling the investments more difficult.
What does the future hold?
While there is widespread support for the continuation of the EB-5 program, there are outliers within the senate and house of representatives that feel differently. Some congressman would prefer to either see certain restrictions put into place within the Regional Center program, while others volley to see it discontinued altogether. Now more than ever is an important time for proponents of the EB-5 Regional Center program to contact their state representatives and express their support for it, as well as common sense reforms to protect against the abuse of the program both by those inside the United States, and by foreign individuals seeking to launder money or otherwise inappropriately transfer funds into or through the United States.