Green Card Through Investment Program Is Imperfect But No Reform In Sight
The EB5 immigration visa program, also known as green card through investment program, allows for one of the very few pathways to green card (and permanent residency) to the United States. If one can invest $500,000 in the U.S. economy (direct investment in private businesses or projects - not a stock market investment), which directly leads to creation of jobs, Uncle Sam grants one a green card.
Although the concept is sound, the actual program is hardly perfect. First, the $500,000 threshold is too high. It caters to pretty wealthy folks, while the impact from investing these funds is harder to track because it is likely disintermediated from the actual investor and the project. Solution: Lower the threshold to $75,000 to allow small businesses to benefit from the program and encourage immigrants start and run small businesses.
Second, the 10,000 visa per year limit is too low. On average, there are twice as many applications annually and the backlog runs 4-5 years. To me it sounds like, if the viable economic projects are available now, because of the visa backlog, they may not receive funding. Thus, the solution would be to allow higher annual visa limit to more adequately match investment opportunities with available capital.
Third, it appears the program is hurt by fraud and corruption. And according to The Des Moines Register, the latest attempt to reform the program failed in Congress.
"U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley blasted congressional leaders and real estate lobbyists Thursday for voting to extend a controversial immigration program known as EB-5 without enacting changes Grassley said would cut down on fraud, corruption and terrorism threats.
To me, the entire immigration system in the U.S. is in need of reforms. And it is disappointing to see that even small efforts to reform part of it still fail.
Please visit www.doityourselfgreencard.com/blog for further discussion of immigration and green card issues.