In the US, approximately 140,000 visas are issued each year to workers who wish to immigrate and establish permanent residency, along with their spouses and children, based on their job skills.
These visas fall into five distinct EB categories. The highest preference goes to EB-1 visas, which are reserved for persons of extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, research, and multinational executives and managers.
Within the same category, EB-5 visas are granted to business investors who contribute to US job creation. To obtain an EB-5 visa, applicants must invest $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time US workers. The threshold is reduced to $900,000 if the investment is made in a targeted employment area.
Historically, the EB-5 program has been a valuable tool for driving economic growth, with no cost to US tax-payers. EB-5 visas account for less than one percent of all visas issued by the US but have significantly impacted job creation and community revitalization. For example, in a recent two-year period, EB-5 projects supported over 355,000 US jobs via $11 billion in capital investments.1
Recent Changes to the EB-5 Program
Unfortunately, every visa program has experienced instances of fraud and abuse. For the EB-5 program, abuses have included various schemes carried out by some of the Regional Centers that were authorized by the USCIS to sponsor capital investment projects and solicit EB-5 investors for participation.
In September 2019, Senators Grassley and Leahy introduced the bi-partisan EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act. If signed into law, the bill would:2