EB-5 Investor program growing in popularity

More and more wealthy individuals who are interested in moving to the United States are looking at applying for an EB-5 investor visa, as more restrictions are placed on H-1B visas.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is open to individuals who invest a minimum of US$1 million in capital, which can be in the form of cash, equipment, inventory or other tangible property. For those looking to settle in a ‘Targeted Employment Areas’ (an area of high unemployment or a rural area), the amount they need to invest is reduced to a minimum of US$500,000.

One of the main appeals of the program is that it automatically grants Green Cards to the investor, their spouse and their children if aged under 21.

According to some immigration experts, the EB-5 program is slowly catching up in popularity to the H-1B visa, due to increased restrictions being placed on the temporary skilled worker program over the past year.

Not only is it now harder for companies and individuals to apply for work visas to fill specialty occupations in the US, but in December, the Trump administration also announced plans to revoke permits that allowed the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work legally in the US.

Applicants for the EB-5 visa currently predominantly come from China, with Chinese investors making up about 80 per cent of the program’s total intake. South Korea, Vietnam, Brazil and India are other countries which also have a sizable number of such investors.

There is currently around an 18-month processing time for EB-5 visas, although this backlog is set lengthen as popularity in the program increases.

Article published 22nd March 2018