Over the course of the past ten years the amount of approved applications for EB-5 US visas has risen exponentially, says Bloomberg. EB-5 visas offer immigrants the opportunity to be granted US citizenship providing that have invested a minimum of $500,000 in a company or have employed at least ten people. Foreign natives are also told to invest in either rural areas or places that suffer from a high rate of unemployment.
The amount of green cards that are “bought” by overseas investors has skyrocketed from just 60 13 years ago back in 2002 to as many as 3,677 last year. During the course of that same decade immigrant visas also increased in number from 389,157 to 482,300. Since the establishment of the EB-5 program, over $6.8 billion was generated by these investments in the United States with over 49,300 jobs also being created. The immigration reform proposal that was released on January 29th this year also included plans for expansion for investor visas.
“Taking a job from an American is not an issue here,” says Edward Alden, who is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who specializes in visa and immigration policy. “If you look at investment in the US economy over the past decade, it’s been fairly weak. Anything you can do to strengthen investment, even at the margins, is valuable.”
On the downside, however, those who are unable to invest in the US economy could be left waiting decades in order to get their green cards.