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EB-5 Pilot Program Popular in China

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on September 13, 2011

According to public records, more people who are seeking U.S. visas under the EB-5 Pilot Program for foreign investors in domestic enterprises are from China than from any other country now.

Each year, there are 3,000 visas set aside for the Pilot Program that come from the 10,000 visas allocated in total to the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 program generally requires foreign investors seeking visas to invest $1 million in any venture in this country that will create at least 10 full-time jobs, pursuant to the Immigration Act of 1990.

If a foreigner’s new commercial venture creates employment in a “targeted employment area,” as defined by regulation, then their investment need only total $500,000; and such targeted employment areas generally include rural areas and areas experiencing high unemployment equal to at least 150 percent of the national average.

What is different about the Pilot Program is that it focuses on targeted employment areas, and it focuses on investments in regional center projects within the targeted employment areas.

The growth in EB-5 visa participation among Chinese investors is due in large part to the rising number of wealthy entrepreneurs from China. According to a recent study by China Merchant Bank and domestic consulting firm Bain & Company, the number of Chinese with investable assets of more than $1.5 million is expected to approach 585,000 people this year.

That presents a wonderful opportunity for cross-cultural economic exchange and U.S. investment via the EB-5 program, but it also presents opportunities for unsavory individuals who call themselves “immigration agents.” Many of these people have no legal training, no license to conduct an immigration practice and no concern for those who are paying them for “processing” of paperwork.

Reportedly, some agents even advertise that a regional center project will be “safe” because the investment is “secured” by the U.S. government, which is clearly false. Such projects are merely facilitated by statutes allowing foreign investors to obtain U.S. visas under specified conditions.

If you are a foreign citizen who wants to invest in the U.S. and is seeking visas for you and/or your family, please do not hesitate to call our offices at (847) 564-0712 for an appointment and check out our Website for additional information.