The Senate Bill 101 introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa aims to reform the EB-5 program. It includes to correct weaknesses like the misdirection of money to prosperous areas. The senators said the bill would “help to restore the program to its original intent, by ensuring that much of the capital generated and jobs created occur in rural areas and areas with high unemployment.” In many areas, EB-5 projects are located in high employment urban areas benefitting the already prosperous areas rather than the needy areas with high-unemployment. In these instances, states have allowed the project promoters to meet the federal rule by stringing together a chain of high and low- employment census areas. The new SB 101 would end this according to Judiciary Committee Staff.
The bill is also expected to raise the minimum investment by an immigrant, from the existing $500,000 to $800,000 for targeted areas and $1.2 mn for the rest. Further, for EB-5 Regional Centers, stringent measures have been included to combat fraud through background checks, site visits and audits.
Senators Leahy and Grassley introduced bill to extend and improve EB-5 Program
Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley introduced bipartisan leislation to improve and extend the EB-5 visa program, which is about to expire in September. The American Job Creation and Investment Program Reform Act would reauthorize this program for 5 years and also enable changes to improve its integrity. Leahy said: “The EB-5 Regional Center program faces some challenges, but I have not seen any flaw inherent to the program that could not be remedied. And I have seen over the last two decades how the EB-5 program creates jobs and provides access to capital in communities in Vermont and throughout the country, all at no cost to American taxpayers. While our immigration system as a whole is broken, and only comprehensive reform will remedy its many injustices, reforming and reauthorizing the EB-5 Regional Center program warrants our immediate attention because the program is set to expire in a matter of months.”