Why Don’t More Foreign Investors Utilize the EB5 Program?

The EB5 Program: An Overview

As a brief description of the Eb5 Visa Program, foreign businessmen and investors may obtain legal residency through a capital investment between $500K and $1M in a commercial enterprise anywhere within US territory. This new enterprise must allow for at least ten full-time jobs for legal American workers within at least two years of the alien’s admission into the country.

The US Congress currently has around 10,000 EB5 Visas active, including the ones for spouses and children. However, in reality, there are currently less than one thousand visas being issued annually due to a number of factors, including a dynamically changing economy and the program’s relative instability. The program was designed to help attain more capital investments in the U.S., but it is currently underutilized.

Competition from other developed nations’ green card investor programs (like in Australia and Canada) has also decreased enrollment in this program. According to statistics, from years of 1998 to 2007, the federal government has issued less than one thousand EB5 visas per year. During those same years, Canada issued a minimum of 3,000 visas each year for its Immigrant Investor Visa, and issued an all-time high of 10,000 immigrant investor visas in the year 2005. Unlike the U.S. EB5 Program, the Canadian Green Card Investor Program doesn’t require aliens to establish a business or hire employees. The investment itself is already assumed to stimulate significant economic activities and also create jobs. The AAO precedent acts further restricted the Immigrant Investor Program in the country. This has significantly affected foreign investors’ behavior towards investing their money in the U.S. compared to other developed countries.

The USCIS has recently announced its intention to bring back the excitement for this Green Card Visa program in hopes of increasing the interest of foreign investors in participating in the program. After the program was implemented originally, there was a huge economic expansion in the United States. However, recently, obtaining an EB5 Green Card Visa has become a tedious process for many. As the current economy continues to struggle to pull itself out of the recession, Congress should ask Homeland Security to review their policies on foreign investors in hopes of opening up more doors for the EB5 Program to help stimulate the economy.