EB-5 Visa Backlog: Calls for Relief and Legislative Proposals
Many EB-5 stakeholders and potential investors consider the visa backlog to be the primary deterrent to enrolling in 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.
Advocates for visa relief argue that when Congress established the EB-5 program, the intention was to issue visas for 10,000 investor families per year, not 10,000 individual EB-5 visa recipients, including principal petitioners and their family members. If visas were issued to 10,000 EB-5 families annually instead of principal petitioners and their family members, the number of visas issued each year could triple, eliminating significant backlogs from retrogressed countries.
Ideas for EB-5 Visa Relief
Unused EB-5 visas from previous years can be recaptured as a means of providing visa relief. Although most visas have been used since 2014, a significant number remain unused prior to that date, and the pandemic has further contributed to this trend.
Another proposed solution to visa relief is the reallocation of visas from other categories. However, this proposal has faced opposition from supporters of those categories that would have to give up visas to the EB-5 program.
Legislative proposals have attempted to eliminate country caps as a solution to provide relief to backlogged countries. While this solution would benefit backlogged countries, it could worsen visa wait times for investors from other countries.