When Congress authorized the EB-5 investor visa program in 1990, the idea was to attract capital investments to the U.S. economy while encouraging foreign investors to create employment and jobs for U.S. workers. The program’s highest priorities are to facilitate the creation of new jobs for U.S. workers and save jobs of U.S. workers in failing businesses. All of these jobs benefit the U.S. economy at no expense to taxpayers. Since 1990 and up through 2019, EB-5 investors and their immediate family members have been allowed to obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status by investing $1 million anywhere in the U.S. or $500,000 in underserved geographical areas known as Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs). The end of 2019 saw the minimum investment amount increase to $1.8 million anywhere or $900,000 in TEAs.
According to various studies, the EB-5 program has had a substantial, positive impact on the U.S. economy. Several statistics presented by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other sources underscore the high value of EB-5 visas to the American economy overall:
- According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the EB-5 program brought in $5.8 billion for fiscal years 2012-13 and created an estimated 174,000 U.S. jobs.
- The WSJ cited another study that concluded that EB-5 investments had brought $20 billion to the U.S. economy since 2008.
- An assessment jointly released in 2019 by two think tank organizations, the EB5 Investment Coalition and Invest in the USA, asserted that EB-5 investors brought a total of $10.98 billion of capital investment to projects throughout the nation in the years 2014 and 2015 alone that supported more than 355,000 U.S. jobs.
Winds of change?
Recently, various political and economic trends have tightened requirements for EB-5 visa investors, most noticeably new regulations in 2019 that increased the investment amount to $1.8 million or $900,000 in TEAs. However, industrial voices and bipartisan efforts in Congress continue to encourage preservation and improvements to the program.
The influx of capital has supported various industrial sectors and brought financial relief to certain geographical areas, such as rural communities. Analysts examining economic trends have consistently weighed in on the effectiveness of the program. They have highlighted its strengthening effects on specific aspects of the U.S. economy, such as real estate development. Additionally, EB-5 investors contribute far more than just the investment amount towards the U.S. economy. Besides the investment and employment creation, EB-5 investors often invest substantial cash amounts into their residences and other real estate projects. Some EB-5 investors even create separate businesses exporting U.S. made goods.
It seems clear that prospective EB-5 investors, U.S. developers in need of capital, U.S. infrastructure projects, and U.S. workers who benefit from more jobs all have strong interests in the ongoing viability of the EB-5 investment visa program.
If you have questions about the EB-5 program, our team of experienced EB-5 and business immigration attorneys are available for a consult. Contact us today for more information.