Wealthy Arab investors are rushing to sign up for the EB-5 visa program that offers them green cards in the United States in exchange for significant investment in the economy.
The rush to apply for these visas under the immigrant investor program appears to be a result of President Donald Trump’s travel bans. The executive orders are aimed at predominantly Islamic nations. Likely reforms to the EB-5 program may also be acting as a catalyst for more applications.
A report on CNN Money quoted Preeya Malik. He’s the managing director of Step America. His company provides consultancy work related to U.S. investor visas. Malik noted a spike in inquiries and new clients since the inauguration of Donald Trump. He said:
“Investors can see how immigration laws are shifting rapidly and are looking to finalize their options before any new rules take place.”
The EB-5 program provides green cards to foreign investors who channel at least $500,000 and create 10 jobs in the U.S. The program caps the available number of visas to 10,000 a year.
The program has existed in one form or another since the early 1990s when it was set up under George H.W. Bush. Entrepreneurs must invest at least $ 1 million in areas that are not deprived or rural.
Over the last five years, nearly 83 percent of all of the EB-5 visas issued went to Chinese investors. Invest in the USA says less than 2 percent went to Arab nations.
That has changed. More Arab entrepreneurs are seeking to apply for EB-5 visas. It follows travel bans targeted at six predominantly Muslim nations accused by the Trump administration of having links to terrorism.
Step America noted a 60 percent rise in inquiries and a 40 percent rise in EB-5 applications since the first travel ban was announced at the end of January.
Arton Capital reported a 200 percent increase in EB-5 applications in its Dubai office in January compared to January 2016. A spike was also experienced in February.
Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security issued a draft modernization rule that proposed changes to the EB-5 investor visa program. Investors would have to bring more money to the table under the proposed amendment.
The change raised required investment amounts from $1 million to $1.8 million and from $500,000 to $1.35 million in deprived areas. The amendments are intended to reflect current dollar values but could make investing in the United States more onerous for foreign entrepreneurs.
If you are seeking to invest in the United States, you should be aware the EB-5 program is a very complicated one. An Austin, Texas immigration attorney can help you with your application. Please contact Peek & Toland at(512) 474-4445.