Limits on Foreign Investment Could Stall Texas Real Estate Development

A visa program attracting international investment will get more restrictive on Thursday, Nov. 21, and may hinder future Texas real estate development.  

The new rules will make it harder for immigrants to invest in job-creating projects under the EB-5 visa program, said Christian Triantaphyllis, an immigration lawyer with Jackson Walker LLP. 

“Since 1990, the program has provided a way for foreign-born entrepreneurs to invest in certain projects in this country as a way to obtain permanent legal residency. And it has led to several prominent high-rise residences and mixed-use developments across Houston,” he noted.  

“Most of those taking advantage of the EB-5 program are already here on temporary work visas. And they cobble together all their savings to reach the $500,000 investment minimum required for projects built in high-unemployment zones. On Nov. 21 the minimum jumps to $900,000.  

“It will be incredibly difficult for many of these people, often small-business entrepreneurs, to reach that target, shattering their dreams of permanent legal status,” Mr. Triantaphyllis said.  

In addition, for projects not located in high-unemployment zones, the required investment jumps from $1 million to $1.8 million. An added hurdle is that the “targeted employment areas” will be determined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, not local authorities, he said. 

The stricter requirements could lead to fewer wealthy foreign investors settling in the United States. Mr. Triantaphyllis wonders if potential investors will instead choose other countries that offer similar immigration investment programs. 

For more information, contact Kit Frieden at 800-559-4534 or 

Are you ready to get started?