The EB-5 Immigrant Investor program has had a 10,000 yearly visa cap per year.
That number always referred to individuals. However, many investors want authorities to redefine the EB-5 Visa cap.
Currently, the cap looks at both investors and accompanying family members. But, there has been a lawsuit of investors wanting the cap main applicants only.
What’s the Ruling for the Interpretation?
Early this July, the US Court of Appeals (for the District of Columbia Circuit) confirmed the prevailing definition.
This has dashed investors’ hopes of loosening EB-5 visa caps. If the new interpretation would be accepted, visa issuances would effectively triple.
The Court has issued its reasoning for the cap interpretation, as explained by Circuit Judge Walker.
It comes down to the Department of State’s interpretation of visa issuances. The Department actively considers accompanying applicants in the final quote.
For example, it assumes that of the 10,000 issued visas, 3000 are given to main applicants, with the rest to spouses and children.
With that, Congress has made no attempt to change the method of counting visas since 1990. As a result, the court chose to uphold the current interpretation, dismissing the lawsuit.
How Are Experts Reacting to the Ruling?
Aaron Grau (IIUSA’S Executive Director) views the ruling as disappointing.
He also stressed that the EB-5 investor visa program’s goal is to fuel job creation and economic development and that laws should be interpreted to that end, which would be creating as many investor visas as possible.
Evolution of EB-5 This Year
Overall, the EB-5 visa has gone through multiple changes this year, with the current lawsuit being one of them.
Last June, the program had its Modernization Rule vacated, thus cutting the investment minimum from $900,000 back to $500,000.
However, just this July, the EB-5’s regional center program expired.
So while entry barriers for the program have been loosened, visa quotas have not. This gives the program a bump in competitiveness, which should be seen in application numbers in the following months.