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Chinese investors moving away from the EB-5 program?

The EB-5 program is one of the paths to U.S. permanent residency available to foreign investors. This green card program has proven popular among certain types of investors, including investors from China. It is estimated that Chinese citizens make up around 90 percent of EB-5 applicants.

However, it appears that the program’s popularity among Chinese investors may be slipping. There are various things that have led to some such investors viewing the program negatively, including:

  • The strict requirements connected to it, such as the complicated paperwork requirements.
  • Uncertainty surrounding the program’s future. There has been some talk of making changes to the program’s requirements, such as increasing the minimum investment amounts.
  • The long waiting lists for EB-5 visas. There are country-based quotas that this green card program is subject to, and there is currently an estimated eight-year waiting list for applicants from China.
  • Increases in fraud cases.

This is pushing some Chinese investors to consider alternate routes for achieving their U.S. immigration goals. Some such investors might turn to other green card programs, such as the EB-1 program. Others might look to nonimmigrant visas instead, such as L visas. Some Chinese investors may find nonimmigrant status more attractive than permanent resident status, depending on their overall aims.

One wonders if the future will see significant shifts in what visa programs draw the bulk of attention from Chinese investors.

As this discussion illustrates, some individuals seeking to come to the U.S. may have multiple U.S. visa options that they could qualify for. When a person is in such a situation, which option they pick could have many implications for them. This is because different visas have different processes, rules, obligations, rights and benefits attached to them. Immigration lawyers can help individuals who have multiple U.S. visa options understand what makes each of the available options different and what these differences mean for how aligned the different options would be with their immigration goals.

Source: Forbes, “Tired Of Waitlists And Uncertainty, Some Chinese Favor U.S. Visa Over Green Card,” Ellen Sheng, March 28, 2017

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