As reported by the USCIS, the number of applicants for the EB-5 visa increased to 17,791 in 2015, up from 11,744 in 2014. This amounts to an 113% rise in applications filed. This increase in applications is primarily due to worries that key aspects of the program may not be renewed by the US government in the future.
Around 21,998 applications were still pending at the end of 2015, and currently, there is a 5-year backlog for Chinese mainland born investors looking to obtain a green card through the EB-5 program for themselves and their family members.
The EB-5 Program at a Glance
The US government administers the EB-5 Investment Visa Program to allow foreign investors to immigrate to the US by investing in the US Economy and creating jobs for US workers. The program was started in 1990 and in recent years has proven itself to be a huge benefit to both foreign investors and the US economy as well. The US government makes 10,000 green cards available to qualified foreign investors through the EB-5 program every year. The program is run at no cost to U.S. taxpayers.
The overall goal of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program is to benefit both the foreign investor and the US economy––US communities receive the economic investment needed to stimulate economic growth and employment, while the foreign investor gets to immigrate to the US for family, business, or otherwise.
Criticism of the EB-5 Program
The EB-5 program continues to receive criticism because, amongst other things, states have been allowed to set the boundaries of targeted economic areas (TEAs) to include affluent areas that are more attractive to potential investors.
Questions have also been raised as to whether or not the EB-5 program is actually effective at creating jobs. Some argue that the jobs that the program has created thus far would have still been created in its absence. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority (more than 80%) of the green cards granted by the EB-5 program are issued to wealthy Chinese investors who have difficulty obtaining visas under other visa categories.
Still, proponents of the EB-5 program are calling for legislation to reauthorize the program for another 5 years or even indefinitely. They argue that since its inception, the program has generated billions of dollars of economic development across the country for areas in need. The EB-5 program, which annually accounts for only 1% of all new permanent residents in the US, has generated in excess of $13 billion for the US economy and, depending on how the numbers are calculated, creates at least 12,000 to 41,000 US jobs per year.
Why You Need The Assistance of an Experienced EB-5 Lawyer
Applicants must meet strict investment and immigration requirements to qualify for a green card under the EB-5 program. It is therefore extremely important that your EB-5 application is prepared by an experienced EB-5 lawyer who is familiar with both the investment and immigration aspects of the process.
Perhaps the most important requirement of the EB-5 program is that the applicant be able to prove the source of fund that they will invest. This means that that the applicant will need to show that these funds are from a lawful source and provide evidence of how they obtained the funds.
Proving the source of funds can be difficult for applicants from countries where they don’t typically record income. This is something to remember when you are considering applying for a green card through the EB-5 program.
Nevertheless, for those who have the net worth required to invest in the US economy and create jobs, the EB-5 program has proven to be an excellent way to obtain lawful permanent residence in the US.
For more information on how you can obtain an EB-5 visa, call our qualified and experienced EB-5 lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.