The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, often referred to as RIA, is a federal law that makes changes to the EB-5 program, including increasing the minimum investment amounts, creating a set-aside for rural areas and urban distressed areas, and adding integrity measures to combat fraud and abuse.
The legislation included provisions to encourage investment in rural and high unemployment areas. Under the new law, the minimum investment required for projects located in these areas is $800,000, compared to the standard minimum investment of $1.05 million.
To qualify as a rural area, the project must be located outside of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or outside of the outer boundary of any city or town with a population of 20,000 or more. To qualify as a high unemployment area, the project must be located in an area where the unemployment rate is at least 150% of the national average.
The lowered investment threshold for rural and high unemployment areas is designed to encourage investment in areas that traditionally have had difficulty attracting capital. The hope is that by making investment more accessible and attractive in these areas, it will lead to job creation, economic growth, and other benefits for the communities in these areas.
In addition to the lowered investment threshold, the new legislation also established a set-aside of up to 3,000 visas per fiscal year for projects located in rural areas or areas with high unemployment rates. This set-aside is designed to ensure that these areas receive a fair share of the available visas and to encourage more investment in these areas.
Overall, the benefits to rural and high unemployment areas in the new EB-5 legislation are aimed at promoting economic growth and job creation in areas that have traditionally struggled to attract investment. By lowering the investment threshold and creating a visa set-aside, the legislation hopes to encourage more investment in these areas, leading to new opportunities for businesses and workers in these communities.
The new law requires greater oversight of regional centers and their associated projects. The USCIS is also authorized to conduct unannounced site visits to regional centers and projects to investigate fraud and abuse.