Investment is the lifeblood of any economy. This is true whether that investment is in the form of building a business, or buying property. As the global economy evolves, an increasing number of international investors are placing their bets on the American economy to grow. Since 1990, the US has granted visas to foreign investors who invest a minimum of $500,000 in government approved businesses and real estate.
While many see this as a positive to our economy, there are those that argue criminals are using foreign investor visas through the EB-5 program to commit fraud and “game” the system. Since inception, the program has become increasingly popular with over 9,000 visas granted in 2014.
“Critics argue that the EB-5 program is rife with fraud and creates national security problems. While a small handful of individuals have abused the program, the vast majority have not. Indeed, the investments EB-5 holders have funded have increased employment and strengthened communities across the country,” remarked Chicago immigration lawyer Ronald Shapiro.
The EB-5 program is set to expire in September of this year. Members of the United States Senate are currently debating whether the program should be extended or allowed to permanently expire.
“What is really at issue is where the investment is going and how it is being distributed across the nation. What is likely to happen is a compromise that will extend the EB-5 program while requiring a greater portion of investment be directed into rural areas that are currently not as attractive to foreign investors,” remarked Chicago immigration lawyer Ronald Shapiro.
The EB-5 program has widespread support and is indeed similar to investment visa programs offered in Asia and the European Union. Senators are aware of this and it is likely that any deals that are negotiated will be crafted in such a way as to better mirror these highly successful programs.