On March 27, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the latest EB-5 bill. S. 727 or the “Invest in Our Communities Act” aims to increase worldwide levels of employment-based immigrants and proposes permanent reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center program.
S. 727 provides some much-needed Congressional support, which has largely been on the defensive from both legislature and the Fourth Estate in recent months. S. 727 highlights specifics of the Regional Center program’s promotion of economic growth, including increased exports, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital.
The bill also tackles program uncertainties that have been particularly problematic for prospective Chinese EB-5 applicants. One of the bill’s provisions amends the existing Immigration and Nationality Act to remove the per country visa cap for the EB-5 visa category. Another provision adds that an applicant’s spouse and children would not count toward the numerical limitations of the cap. These draft provisions address current EB-5 visa backlogs for Chinese applicants that have reached record levels and increasingly unpredictable processing times.
S. 727 further extends a long line of enhanced integrity measures from previous bills with an oversight requirement that mandates each regional center to monitor, supervise, and maintain all records and data relating to securities. The bill would compel extensive amounts of information be made available to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Secretary of Homeland Security upon the receipt of an SEC subpoena.
The effort to curb the program of bad actors is also clear and plainly stated with lengthy provisions prohibiting direct or indirect involvement of individuals that fall under a laundry list of violations rooted in moral turpitude.
While the latest EB-5 bill is unlikely to be enacted into law in its current form, its divergence from the Senate’s abrupt S. 232 may compel Congress to have a much-needed dialogue to work out a long-term EB-5 legislative resolution.