Friday, July 3, 2015

Fast-Track Green Card Program Swells With New Interest

Wealthy investors from Brazil, Russia and Vietnam are eager to get a foothold in U.S.
A sometimes controversial federal program that offers a fast track to green cards for foreigners who invest in the U.S. is attracting interest from new regions, including countries such as Brazil, Russia and Vietnam.
Developer Jeff Berkowitz, who has tapped EB-5 funds for 
several projects, said he expects to raise 60% of the 
$270-million price tag for his new Skyrise Miami 
entertainment and observation tower, shown in rendering, 
from foreign investors. Photo: Berkowitz Development
At the same time, soaring demand from China for the EB-5 immigrant investor program is delaying the processing of applications and the issuing of visas.
Under the program, a foreigner and his or her immediate family are eligible for U.S. permanent residency if the individual invests $500,000 in a project in an area of high unemployment that generates at least 10 jobs. Participation offers a quick path to a green card, in less than a year for some applicants, which can take a decade to obtain through a U.S. employer or relative.
“We have seen markets growing that had not been EB-5 players in the past,” said Peter Joseph, executive director of Invest in the USA, an industry trade organization for the program.
Foreigners in the program channeled nearly $2 billion into construction, the film industry and other sectors such as mining in fiscal 2013, the latest year with figures available. Construction accounts for the lion’s share, including residential building as well as hospitals, hotels and office development.
In all, 10,928 foreigners applied to invest in the U.S. through the program in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, up more than 70% from 6,346 a year earlier. The program, launched in 1990 to spur job growth, had just 486 applications in 2006, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that runs the program. Along with the growth, some critics say the program benefits richer areas instead of the intended rural and urban poor, and that it amounts to putting U.S. citizenship up for sale.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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