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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finally released its proposed new regulations concerning the EB-5 Visa.  Dubbed the “EB-5 Modernization Rule”, the regulation provides proposed sweeping changes to the EB-5 Investor Visa in several key areas.

The most significant change would appear to be the proposed increase in the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $1,350,000 for investments in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and from $1,000,000 to $1,800,000 for investments in areas of high employment.  As justification for the increase, DHS explained that the minimum amount had not increased since the inception of the program in 1990.  Accordingly, the increase of more than 250% would be akin to the levels of inflation over that time frame.  DHS will also retain the right to raise the minimum levels of investment every five years based on inflation levels and other factors over that time frame.

The proposed regulation also redefined and restricted the designation of TEAs in an effort to further geographically limit the scope of Regional Center projects to low employment areas.  While previously States had broad discretion to designate an area of low employment and to determine the TEA, under the new regulation DHS itself would make this determination under newly crafted restricted standards.

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Notably, the DHS regulation is not finalized at this time and does remain open for public comment until April 11, 2017.  The Rule will not become final until some point after that period.  This period almost directly corresponds with Congressional authorization of the EB-5 program which, currently, allows the program to continue only through April 28, 2017.  One positive from the proposed rule provides that the increased investment amount of $1,350,000 will only be required for EB-5 petitions filed after the effective date of the new regulation (likely at some point in the Summer of 2017).  Accordingly, it would appear that EB-5 petitions filed currently and prior to April 11, 2017 will be able to take advantage of the lower investment amount of $500,000 for a TEA.

Based on this apparently narrow window of opportunity for filing at the lower $500,000 level, potential EB-5 investors may wish to seriously consider finalizing investment selections in the near future in order to avoid the increased minimum investment levels and narrowed TEA designations.   At Colombo & Hurd, we continue to monitor the further actions of DHS on this issue and will advise as to any additional updates or developments.  If we can be of assistance to you in the EB-5 Process or should you have additional question concerning the minimum investment increase please do not hesitate to contact us for further guidance.

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Contact the EB-5 Visa Lawyers of Colombo & Hurd

The Tampa immigration attorneys of Colombo & Hurd will continue to monitor developments in this matter to better serve our immigration clients. To discuss your immigration needs or concerns call our Orlando or Miami law offices at 800-659-7142 today or contact us online.

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