Visa Relief: What are the possibilities in EB-5?
Many EB-5 stakeholders and potential investors consider the visa backlog to be the primary deterrent to the program. As such, there have been numerous attempts by stakeholders and politicians in support of EB-5 to provide visa relief, or extra visas to help reduce the backlog, through legislative changes.
A primary argument that advocates for visa relief make is that Congress when congress created the EB-5 program, it intended to issue visas for 10,000 investor families annually and not 10,000 principal petitioners as well as their derivative family members. Because each EB-5 petition results in about three visas for a family, 10,000 families would amount to about three times the EB-5 visas issued each year and go a long way to eliminating the significant backlogs from retrogressed countries.
One idea for visa relief is to recapture unused EB-5 visas from previous years. Though most EB-5 visas have been used since 2014, a substantial number have gone unused prior to that date and recently, because of the pandemic’s impact on processing.
And it has also been proposed to reallocate visas from other categories. Of course, this proposal would draw opposition from proponents of any such categories that would be giving up visas to EB-5.
Eliminating country caps is another means of providing relief to backlogged countries and several legislative proposals have attempted to do this. This seeming solution would tremendously benefit backlogged countries but would be detrimental to visa wait times for investors from any other country.