New proposal on EB5 reforms may become law soon

A bipartisan group in Congress has reached an agreement to change the current EB5 laws.  Here are the main points.  It is expected to pass Congress soon, maybe next week as the current regional Center law will expire on December 11, 2015.

Extend the program through September 2019; 

Provide increased authority to DHS to deny or terminate applications where there is fraud, criminal misuse, or a threat to public safety or national security; 

Establish an “EB-5 Integrity Fund” in which regional centers and investors would pay fees to be used by DHS to conduct audits and site visits to detect and investigate fraud in the United States and abroad; 

Require background checks of regional center and project principals; 

Require more disclosures to investors regarding business risks and conflicts of interest; 

Require more oversight of projects and closer monitoring for securities compliance; 

Strengthen the incentives for investment in distressed areas so more capital investment reaches urban poor and rural areas, as Congress originally intended; 

Raise the lower investment threshold to $800,000 to ensure more money goes to the areas that need it, and provide a mechanism for automatic adjustments going forward; 

 Improve how jobs are calculated to ensure that EB-5 projects truly create the statutorily required 10 jobs per investor; 

 Improve accountability and transparency by requiring that DHS employees document certain communications and by prohibiting preferential treatment; 

And decrease petition processing times, which have been plagued by massive delays, by providing premium processing and requiring fees be adjusted to the rate necessary to achieve efficient processing.