The EB-5 program, which was set to expire at the end of this month, has been extended until the beginning of December.
The controversial visa program, which was due to reach the end of its six-month extension period on Sunday, Sept. 30, has been reauthorized through Dec. 7.
President Trump signed the extension Friday at noon, as part of a spending package to avoid a federal government shutdown. The U.S. Immigration Fund, a regional center that has raised money for EB-5 projects, first announced news of the extension.
A favorite of New York developers as a means of raising cheap capital from overseas investors, the EB-5 program was salvaged in March when it was included in a federal omnibus bill. The program gives green cards to foreign investors in exchange for a $500,000 investment and has seen a series of short-term extensions.
“This time around, there are zero chances for a longer-term legislative solution,” said Daniel Lundy, an EB-5 lawyer at Klasko Immigration Law Partners. “Nobody’s working on it as far as we know. The stakeholders are still interested, but the usual suspects in Congress are not talking about it.”
The EB-5 program has also been controversial, with Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa one of the most outspoken critics. Developers and industry players have said the senator’s failed EB-5 Reform Act would have damaged the industry. It would have upped the minimum investment amount and set aside more than 1,000 visas for projects in rural areas.
“I suspect that sometime next year we might have regulations from USCIS that address the investment amounts, eligibility requirements,” Lundy said, “and some of the compliance and integrity measures that have been in previous drafts of the bill.”
Keith Larsen contributed to this report.