On February 7, 2019, U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) and Ken Buck (R-CO-04) introduced H.R. 1044 ‘Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019.’ The bill will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to eliminate the per-country caps to all employment-based immigrant visa categories, including EB-5.
The EB-5 Regional Center trade organization IIUSA has analyzed the proposed bill and its effects on EB-5 investors and investments. IIUSA concludes that:
“While the elimination of per-country caps may make sense for some categories, the elimination of the per-country cap for EB-5 will be to the detriment of the [EB-5 immigrant investor] program,” stated IIUSA Executive Director Aaron Grau. IIUSA data concludes the elimination of per-country cap for EB-5 will eliminate any new EB-5 economic development investment to the United States for at least 10 years.
“In the past year alone, the EB-5 program is responsible for over $3 billion in new economic development and over 100,000 jobs in the United States. Not excluding EB-5 from this proposal will put this type of new investment at risk,” stated Grau.
A few of the key points found in IIUSA’s detailed analysis and report on the effects of removing per-country caps include:
1) Removing the per-country cap would make the EB-5 visa immediately unavailable for all existing EB-5 investors from the countries that are not currently experiencing the visa retrogression issue – including Brazil, South Korea, and the rest of the world (except for China and Vietnam). Hypothetically, in the first five years of the elimination of the per-country cap, we forecast that over 96% of the annual EB-5 visa allocation would be used by the existing Chinese EB-5 visa applicants and their qualified family members while the remaining 4% would be consumed by the existing EB-5 visa applicants and their family derivatives from Vietnam.
2) Without the per-country cap, all existing EB-5 investors from all countries other than China would face a longer wait to receive conditional permanent residency. Existing EB-5 investors from Vietnam and their family members would need to wait three (3) to five (5) years longer for their EB-5 visas; while existing Indian EB-5 investors and their qualifying family derivatives would face an increase of six (6) years or longer for their EB-5 visa waiting time.
3) New EB-5 investors from all foreign countries would have to wait for 11 years or longer to receive their conditional permanent residency if the per-country cap is eliminated. In contrast, under the per-country cap, these investors (except for the ones from China and Vietnam) and their qualifying family members currently can proceed for an EB-5 visa as soon as their I-526 petition is approved by USCIS, without any additional delay.
4) Removing the per-country cap would shorten the EB-5 visa waiting time for new EB-5 investors from China from 16 years to 11 years, a reduction of 31%.
IIUSA first reported on this proposed bill here: https://iiusa.org/blog/legislation-eliminate-per-countrylimits-employment-based-visas/
David Hirson & Partners, LLP (“DHP”) is a proud member of IIUSA. DHP’s experienced team of immigration professionals are here to help you determine the best plan for you and your family’s immigration to the U.S. Contact DHP here or call us at +1-949-383-5358 to schedule a consultation.