U.S. EB-5 Visa Comes Under Fire

With all the talk for now being on the changes to the H1-B visa class in the USA attention has been drawn away from possible changes to other via categories. In particular, the EB-5 visa often referred to the ‘golden ticket visa’ is under scrutiny.

Many have been calling for an end, or at least revision to EB-5 visa which was introduced back in 1990 in order to promote investment into the United States. The EB-5 visa offer foreign investors the opportunity to be fast tracked along the green card path if they are able to offer a minimum of $1 million investment or loan to projects that will add value and jobs to the USA economy.

The visa system has long been criticised and accused of promoting money laundering and fraud.  Revised in 2011, in an attempt to encourage more applicants, the EB-5 visa has been hugely successful in attracting applicants with quotas of 10,000 per year being reached every year for the past three years.

Opponents to the visa category are concerned not only about the possibility of aiding fraud and money laundering but suggest that the process may allow terrorists to more easily get into the United States by allowing those granted the visa to bypass some of the more rigorous investigation.

There is currently legislation for reforming the visa programme, including attempts to increase the origination of the funds that are to be invested and to increase the minimum amount that is required to be invested. Supporters of the visa programme point to the large amounts of investment that the country has received in the years that the visa has been in existence and suggest that incidences of mis-use are negligible. 

Whether this visa class comes under the same scrutiny as the H1-B visa class remains to be seen.

 

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