The future of the EB-5 investment visa for USA immigration remains unclear especially given the controversial policies of Donald Trump on immigration.The current temporary extension of the EB-5 program expires on April 28, 2017, and there has been nothing apart from speculation on what Trump proposes to do when that date arrives.
Many would-be candidates for USA immigration through the EB-5 program are in limbo awaiting some indication on what Trump wants to do with the visa.
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While Chinese investors dominate applications for the investment visa, another key source of candidates is Dubai, a city that draws residents from all over the Middle East, including the seven banned countries.
Investors hoping to secure passage to the U.S. to provide a better future for their children have now had their situations thrown into doubt.
Current US 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 Centres”).
- 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.
Despite the policies of Donald Trump on immigration, real estate industry sources firmly believe he will separate a crackdown on people in the U.S. illegally from a program that has generated billions in foreign investment.
There have been calls for the investment threshold to increase, with separate proposals suggesting $800,000 and $1.35 million respectively as the minimum requirement, but nothing has gained significant traction.
It has faced criticism from several sources, who want it abolished. There are several ongoing court cases linked to potential EB-5 fraud. There are calls for a body to be formed to oversee these transactions, to ensure transparency.
Fraud Cases Linked to EB-5
- The developer behind a biomedical research facility in Vermont, which benefitted from EB-5 funding, is currently being investigated for misusing the money. The project had attracted $83 million of investment from 166 foreigners, many of them Chinese, who now risk losing their money. Developer Ariel Quiros, and several of his associates, stand accused of using the funding to buy a ski resort, a luxury New York condo and to pay tax bills.
- Developer Lobsang Dargey was accused of defrauding Chinese investors out of money for a tower in Bell town. Dargey no longer has control of the project and denies any wrongdoing.
- American Life, a recipient of more than $1 billion in EB-5 investment money, was fined $1.2 million for facilitating payments to unlicensed intermediaries in the U.S.
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