Wealthy foreign investors hoping to gain residency to the US via the EB-5 program may lose their investment because of an alleged fraud, currently being reviewed by INS.
The developer behind a biomedical research facility in Vermont, who benefitting from EB-5 investor funding, is being investigated for misusing the money.
Now families who expected the project to be their pathway to permanent residency are facing the prospect their investment is lost, along with their hopes of staying in the US if they cannot find another project to support.
EB-5 Investment requirements
- An EB-5 investor must invest in a new commercial enterprise.
- The investor must invest at least $1 million when investing in a general area of business or at least $500,000 when investing in a targeted employment area (“Regional Centers”).
- Within two years of admission as a Conditional Permanent Resident, the investor must create or preserve at least 10 full-time, direct or indirect jobs belonging to qualified US workers.
- See Tax Implications of Gaining Permanent Residence Through US EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 stipulates that in return for an investment of $1 million or $500,000 in selected areas, a two-year conditional permanent residency visa is awarded. Only if that investment directly or indirectly creates 10 jobs are the conditions removed at the end of two years.
The Vermont project had attracted $83 million of investment from 166 foreigners, many of them Chinese.
But now a case has been opened against developer Ariel Quiros and several of his associates by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, accusing him of misusing more than $200 million of investor funding to buy a ski resort, a luxury New York condo and to pay his own tax bill.
Federal officials have said they will try to protect the immigration status of the investors, as well as their money, but there are no guarantees.
The research facility was one of eight projects linked to Quiros’s Jay Peak company that attracted EB-5 funding.
Five are complete, including hotels and real estate, plus a golf course, indoor water park and ice arena.
But ground is unlikely to ever be broken on the biomedical plant.
The allegations referenced in this article have not yet been proven and are being reviewed by INS.
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