Congress in the coming weeks will address what to do with the EB-5 visa program, which will expire at the end of April if not extended or made permanent, and lawyers say a host of unknowns — including what President Donald Trump thinks of the program — means developers and investors are on tenterhooks about what they'll need to do next.
Among the areas of the program that could change if Congress doesn't simply extend it until September are the minimum investment thresholds and the ways in which targeted employment areas are drawn.
TEAs by definition have 150 percent of the national average unemployment, and EB-5 has tried to bring capital and jobs into such high unemployment areas. But the question of how those areas are drawn has been a contentious issue since gerrymandering has designated many downtown cores where developers build luxury towers as TEAs.
Some lawyers are optimistic that EB-5, unaltered since the early 1990s, is ripe for reform this time around while others believe Trump and Congress have not been able to devote the time needed to make changes and may simply kick the can down the road by giving the program another temporary extension.
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