Road to the USA: Paved by EB-5 Following Executive Order restricting H-1B And Other Visa Categories

On April 20th, 2020, President Trump signed the initial executive order which largely limited immigration into the U.S. (i.e., entering with an immigrant visa).

One month later on June 22nd, 2020, President Trump again signed an executive order that significantly expanded the previous immigration restrictions to include a number of guest-worker programs, including the H-1B visa.

EB-5 investors continue to remain exempt from the executive order. For our investor families who are already in the queue under the EB-5 program or who are considering proceeding with the EB-5 program, this is good news and should be received as a vote of confidence in the EB-5 program by this administration, especially as the world deals with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are the key highlights of the June executive order:

  • The executive order is effective immediately (as of June 22nd).
  • The proclamation expires on December 31, 2020, and may be continued as necessary.
  • Entry into the United States of any alien seeking entry pursuant to any of the following nonimmigrant visas is hereby suspended and limited, subject to section 3 of the proclamation:
    • H-1B or H-2B visas, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien;
    • J visas, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien; and
    • L visas, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien.
  • The exceptions to the executive order include:
    • EB-5 investors
    • Spouses and children of U.S. Citizens
    • Physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals involved in treating or research related to Covid-19
    • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
    • Applicants for certain Special Immigrant Visas
    • Individuals whose entry into the United States would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State. 

Road to the USA: EB-5 is The Direct Route

Despite two Presidential Proclamations drastically limiting the availability of visas to the United States, the EB-5 visa remains one of the few categories of immigrant visas presently available for individuals wishing to immigrate to the United States. The EB-5 visa category is the only broadly available employment-based visa category to receive a blanket exemption. While there may be visas available for people seeking EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 visas, those individuals would have to show that they qualify for one of the limited exceptions, and the standards for qualifying have not yet been established or made public.

The U.S. EB-5 program is widely seen as one of the easiest ways to obtain a permanent green card and eventual citizenship in the United States. It continues to expand in popularity for investors around the world due to the immense advantages that are not present in immigration platforms found in other countries.

Value and Benefits of EB-5:  

  • One Investment: Investors, their spouses, and children under 21 years of age can all receive U.S. green cards by funding a single project with a single investment, with direct access to U.S. citizenship after five years.
  • Education: Attend American Universities at Lower “In State” Tuition Rates
  • Flexibility: Live, work, and retire anywhere in the U.S., and travel easily to other countries.
  • Healthcare: Gain access to the same high-quality healthcare available to U.S. citizens.
  • Passive Investment: Third parties manage your investment and all aspects of the project.
  • No Language Requirement: Proficiency in English is not necessary to participate in the EB-5 program.

Confidence in EB-5: A Favored Government Program

The EB-5 program, unlike many other immigrant visas, directly benefits the U.S. economy by creating jobs using foreign direct investment at virtually no cost to the U.S. taxpayer, successfully infusing billions of dollars into the nation’s economy. While there have been unsubstantiated rumors circulating for years about the EB-5 program and its potential to be shuttered or severely restricted by this or previous administrations, its exemption from this executive order yet again shows that the Trump administration recognizes the positive impact that the EB-5 program and EB-5 investment can have on the U.S. economy.

At its core, the EB-5 program is a win-win-win for all parties involved. The U.S. economy receives a profoundly needed injection of foreign capital and verified job creation from the developers and regional centers governing the projects, the developers receive capital to deploy in their projects at discounted rates relative to commercial bank loans, and investors receive a clear way of obtaining a permanent green card and eventual citizenship that may not have been possible via alternative immigrant visa options.

The Proclamation is subject to extension by the President if he is still in office in 2021.  Nevertheless, should the Proclamation be extended, it is likely that EB-5 will continue to be exempted because it is a job-creating visa category.

EB-5 Will Continue to Provide Jobs to Distressed Communities Across the Country

In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, EB-5 is needed more than ever. History presents the EB-5 Visa Program as a benefit to the U.S. economy. When the U.S. hit a recession in 2008, developers could not obtain funding through traditional means, but the EB-5 Program provided a critical capital investment to the U.S., boosting the economy in its time of need.

The U.S. EB-5 program has a history of providing a capital lifeline in economic downturns. And, as more people face sudden unemployment, the EB-5 investor program will continue to provide jobs to distressed communities across the country.

Unlike other forms of economic stimulus, EB-5 is the only program that creates jobs at no expense to the US taxpayer. Looking back on the jobs created or saved by the financial crisis stimulus, estimates suggest that each job cost U.S. taxpayers between $540,000 and $4.1 million. Therefore, given the magnitude of this crisis, it’s in the country’s best interest to boost EB-5’s momentum – hence its favorable treatment regarding the recent Executive Orders that keep EB-5 running.

Unique Opportunities for Investors

While the EB-5 program is currently backlogged for nationals of China and Vietnam, the EB-5 program for India and the rest of the world will be current as of July 1, 2020.  This means that those with an approved EB-5 visa petition may be in the unique position of being able to obtain an immigrant visa abroad, and may possibly benefit from shorter wait times, as the U.S. Consulates abroad will be able to process fewer types of visa applications for the next six months, and may have more availability to work on EB-5 visa applications.

Refining Our EB-5 Marketing Strategy

Given the win-win-win nature of EB-5, we will continue to develop EB-5 projects and provide pathways for families to pursue their immigration goals. While policies continue to change around the world, the only change for our team will be an adaptation in our strategy that includes Coronavirus and how we can effectively share this information to our potential investors. Through everything we do, from selecting and promoting our projects, to monitoring job creation and immigration needs, we have set up a structure to provide security and stability for our investors. From our corporate office, we have set up our facility to promote our projects, our investments, and our regional center, Florida Equity and Growth Fund Regional Center (“FEGFRC”) to its fullest capacity.

Current and prospective EB-5 investors can remain confident in the EB-5 Investor Program, as it continues to be one of the only viable options for high net worth individuals seeking to obtain a green card quickly, as compared to other, and now restricted, visa categories such as the H1-B and L1 visas.

Christian Tyler Properties wishes families in areas impacted by this virus to be safe and healthy during this difficult period. Should EB-5 investors have questions about the impact the coronavirus pandemic may have on the EB-5 visa process or the commercial real estate industry, please feel free to reach out to us at info@ctp-fl.com.