Last December, the U.S. Congress decided to extend the EB-5 visa program through Sept. 30, 2016, without making any changes to it, despite rumors that alterations – some of them drastic — might be in the offing. Reform measures had been proposed by the EB-5 Investment Coalition and members of the EB-5 industry, such as changes in the minimum investment amount and procedures for creating the targeted employment area. In the end, legislators OK’d the status quo extension and sent it to President Barack Obama in his omnibus budget package, which he signed.
It wasn’t that Congress didn’t try to reach resolutions. The move to extend the program came from the EB-5 community, which noted that recommendations for reforms and elimination of abuses need additional discussion and debate before final decisions can be made.
During the past few months, Congress has conducted hearings on proposals to realign and revamp the EB-5 industry and to eliminate abuse. Two sessions on these topics were conducted by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee: one Feb. 2, 2016 entitled “The Failures and Future of the EB-5 Regional Center Program: Can it be Fixed?” and the second, on April 13, 2016, was called “The Distortion of EB-5 Targeted Employment Areas: Time to End the Abuse.”
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