EB-5 visa programme under threat

An American newspaper believes that one of the country’s investor visa programmes may struggle gaining re-authorisation when it comes up for renewal later this year.

According to the New York Observer, a change in America’s political climate could see the EB-5 visa programme scrapped, or heavily amended, with the now Republican-controlled Senate thought to be less keen on the system than the Democrats were.

The EB-5 visa – which offers a fast-track to permanent residency for non-US citizens who invest at least US$500,000 in approved projects that create jobs for American citizens – has been renewed nine times since its launch, most recently in 2012.

However, fervent EB-5 supporter, Senator Patrick Leahy, has been replaced as the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee by Republican Chuck Grassley, who is rumoured by the paper to be not so enamoured with the system.

The system currently allows for 10,000 EB-5 visas to be approved every year. According to official figures, by far and away the majority of EB-5 visas in the 2014 fiscal year were awarded to investors from China (8,308), followed by South Korea (162), Taiwan (99), Vietnam (92) and Iran (72). Only 25 British investors were granted an EB-5 visa during the 2014 fiscal year.