Special US visas in high demand

The number of foreign investors, particularly among the Chinese, who are willing to invest money in the United States in order to gain a permanent residency US visa reached record levels over the course of last year, it has been revealed. The program, known as the Employment-based Fifth Initiative (or, more simply, EB-5) was created during the George Bush Presidency in 1990.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services say that the program offers permanent residency US visas to foreigners who invest a minimum of $1,000,000 in any new project that will preserve or result in the creation of at least ten full-time American jobs within around two years. However, just $500,000 needs to be invested provided it does so within a targeted employment area such as places with high unemployment or rural areas, though critics claim wealthy cities like Washington, Dallas and New York are actually getting the great majority of the investment.

In 2015, there were 17,691 applications for EB-5 US visas, according to United States and Citizenship Services, a considerable rise from the just 6,554 applications received just two years earlier in 2013. USCIS has told Congress that since the beginning of October 2012 the US economy has received around $8.7 billion in investments because of the program, along with the creation of around 35,140 jobs.

Around 80 percent of EB-5 US visas go to Chinese investors, the Wall Street Journal claims, with many investors getting multiple visas that are then given to family members.