EB5 investor visa needs renewal and reform

Through various visa programs, foreign nationals can come to the United States to pursue a path to citizenship. This often involves seeking naturalization through a family visa program, but certain employment programs also provide this opportunity. In fact, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is now waiting for Congress to vote on a bill that will reauthorize and reform one of its most popular programs, the EB5 investor visa 

The EB5 program provides U.S. citizenship to a limited number of foreign nationals who agree to invest at least $900,000 in certain projects that will offer jobs to U.S. citizens in struggling areas of the country. Over the past 20 years, the program has boosted the U.S. economy with over $41 billion and 820,000 jobs. However, it is not without its flaws — including rampant fraud, such as the following: 

  • Foreign nationals who manipulate the system to get green cards for which they are not eligible 
  • Government officials who play politics when choosing applicants for the program 
  • U.S. developers who commit fraud to obtain the investment money from unsuspecting foreign nationals 

Congress is now considering a bill that hopes to address these and other weaknesses, establish a system of oversight and raise accountability. This is good news for many in China and India, the two nations that most often take advantage of the benefits of the EB5 investor visa. Supporters of the bill fear that, without these important reforms, the program will expire, resulting in frustration for many foreign nationals and loss of important funding for many struggling U.S. industries.