Special Interest Groups Pressure Congress on Regional Center Program Reauthorization under the EB-5 Legislation

Special Interest Groups Pressure Congress on Regional Center Program Reauthorization under the EB-5 Legislation
September 8, 2015

MAJA, the More American Jobs Alliance, is taking a stand against special interest groups which seek to undermine the benefit of the Immigrant Investor Program (known as ‘EB-5’) to the United States economy and American workers. The Regional Center (‘RC’) program, a sub-category of EB-5 that requires the immigrant investor to create 10 “indirect jobs”, effectively 5 or fewer real jobs, as opposed to 10 real or direct jobs under the original EB-5 program, is due to expire on September 30 this year. Large developer groups, which have utilized the RC program as a cheap source of capital, are putting pressure on Congress to renew the RC program and include a grandfather clause that will allow their projects to devour the EB-5 quota for years to come, rendering new legislation futile.

“The intent of the EB-5 program is to create real or direct jobs and spur economic growth in underserved areas and communities that have a high rate of unemployment,” says Ron Rohde, Secretary General for MAJA. “If Congress caves in to the pressure brought on by a handful of large developers and allows the grandfathering clause to pass through legislation, they will consume the next 5 years or more of the EB-5 quota. These special interest groups are manipulating the program to suit their needs, and not the needs of the American economy and its workers.”

This year the annual quota of 3,000 families (or 10,000 visas) is out-demanded by 15,000 families in the queue. But the outdated RC law continues to allow the 10 “indirect jobs”, instead of 10 real or ‘direct jobs’ per EB-5 investor under the original EB-5 program. In order to maximize the creation of real jobs by the EB-5 program, the RC program should be allowed to expire, as there are more than enough direct job projects in the country to take up the annual quota of EB-5 visas.

To date, there is a bill in the Senate and 3 bills in the House of Representatives, all calling for a continuation of the Regional Center program. One bill would grandfather-in not just the 15,000 investors, but also certain projects, and allow such projects to continue to accept investors at the $500,000 investment threshold instead of the new $800,000 threshold applicable to all others, effectively swallowing the EB-5 quota for the next generation.

As the deadline nears, MAJA continues representing American workers in discussions with key members of Congress, calling for the elimination of the grandfathering clause. MAJA is also asking Congress to let the RC program expire so all EB-5 projects can create real jobs for the U.S. economy and its workers.

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