A wave of Chinese applications depletes investor visa quotas
Friday, May 22, 2015
According to a Department of State (DOS) announcement, the United States’ yearly quota for EB-5 immigrant investor visas has been met for the second year in a row. A wave of applications from wealthy Chinese citizens led to depletion of the supply. Beginning this month, the State Department said that no further spots would be available to Chinese citizens for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.
The immigrant investor program offers permanent residence (green cards) to foreign nationals who invest either $500,000 or $1,000,000 to create at least 10 jobs in the United States. The annual limit for EB-5 visas is capped at 10,000. The cap had never been reached until August 2014. This year, the flood of Chinese applications caused the DOS to reach its quota even earlier.
The increase in demand among rich Chinese nationals hoping to move to the U.S. coincides with the end of similar Canadian program, which was halted in 2014. Now, with 13,000 applications currently pending, hopefuls wishing to immigrate to the U.S. under the EB-5 program could have a wait of up to three years before their green cards are issued.
Such a long wait is of particular concern to families who wish to enroll their children in American universities. Because current rules only allow for dependent visas for children under the age of 21, some college-aged children will not make the cut off and will have to seek immigration benefits on their own.
In spite of criticisms that the program opens the door for international elite to “buy” their way to U.S. citizenship, there is plenty of evidence that the EB-5 program is good for the economy. In the wake of the financial crisis, billions of dollars of investment from the EB-5 program bolstered the U.S. job market and kept unemployment from ballooning farther than it did. The foreign investor program lends further support to the notion that immigration boosts the American economy.