Merit-based immigration is primarily associated with the H1-B visa program, however, there are alternative avenues leading to legal permanent residency in the United States such as the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” a proven job-creating program that is gaining popularity.
The EB-5 visa category was developed by the United States Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The underlying policies of the EB-5 investor visa are designed to benefit the U.S. economy overall including economically disadvantaged communities, American workers, and the foreign national investors. The goal of the EB-5 investor visa program is to generate a “win-win” scenario for all parties involved or affected.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services administers EB-5 investor visas, which is the only investment based visa that allows for direct application of permanent resident status in exchange for a significant investment into the U.S.
Although the EB-5 visa is sometimes criticized as “citizenship for sale,” it is, without a doubt, a job growth tool that has been proven economically effective and has even been described as the purest form of a merit-based system.
The program has resulted in an estimated $22 billion in foreign direct investment in the U.S. since 2008 and created about 276,000 jobs, according to the EB-5 trade group, Invest In the USA (IIUSA).
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is set to expire at the end of September 2018, but experts predict it will be extended through December when Congress is expected to raise the minimum investment amount of $500,000 to $1.35 million and the $1 million investment to $1.8 million in order to account for inflation over the past 28 years as the investment price has remained constant since the program began in 1990.
For potential investors, putting large sums of money at risk in a foreign economy and having citizenship determined by the long-term business success as well as the ability to create at least 10 U.S. jobs is a high-stakes decision that requires due diligence.
The type of investment project is perhaps the most important decision an applicant must make, as the enterprise choice affects whether or not the application is approved and the degree to which financial success is achieved.
There is a wide range of investment options that have the potential to meet USCIS conditions for approval. When calculating the most suitable type of business to fund, potential investors must ask themselves, “Do I want a larger return on my investment or am I investing primarily to meet the basic requirements for obtaining a green card?”
Acceptable EB-5 enterprises exist across a wide variety of fields and industries from medical facilities, manufacturing, agriculture, and real estate development, to hotels, restaurants, casinos, and stadiums.
With so much riding on the choice of commercial entity, it is imperative that foreign investors asses the risks associated with the type of business and the strategy for meeting USCIS requirements, such as job creation.
Giving proper consideration to the type of investment can be a daunting task, especially for those without a background in business, economics or a specific industry.
To help potential EB-5 investors navigate the legal and financial landscape, Online Visas has partnered with Velie Law Firm and NMS Capital Advisors, LLC of Beverly Hills, CA, to provide legal immigration advice combined with investment advice based on comprehensive insight into Regional Centers, developers, and projects.
Our EB-5 network offers a complete team of professional U.S. immigration attorneys and an experienced licensed broker-dealer, who has evaluated numerous regional centers and tax advisors, to ensure proper assessment of options, strategies, and particular issues that applicants may face.
About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas.com., the intelligent Immigration platform. Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-310-4333 office or 405-821-5959 mobile.