The United States has filled its annual quota of EB-5 US visas for immigrant investors for the second consecutive year after a massive influx of applications from wealthy Chinese nationals. From May there will no more spots open to Chinese immigrant investors in the current fiscal year, which comes to an end on September 30th, the State Department has announced.
The EB-5 immigration program issues green cards to overseas investors who can invest at least $500,000 in an American firm and create ten US jobs. 10,000 US visas are issued annually by the program, which reached this limit last August for the very first time. In 2015 the limit has been reached even earlier, indicating the enormous rise in interest in immigrating to the United States from rich Chinese nationals, particularly following the closing down of a similar program in Canada last year. Law firm Greenberg Traurig now estimates that the waiting time for EB-5 US visas is somewhere between two and three years, with 13,000 applications already pending.
Bernard Wolfsdorf, an immigration lawyer from Wolfsdorf Rosenthal, says that the long waiting list is a matter of concern for those investors who also want their children to obtain green cards, given that these children will “age out” if they turn 21 before the applications are approved.
In 2004 Chinese nationals accounted for just 13% of all EB-5 US visas issued; by last year this figure had risen to 90%.