Critics call for EB-5 visa program fixes

A program that issues green cards to investors and job creators coming to US from other countries is known as EB-5 Visa Program. It is intended to bring capital investment to badly needed areas of the country. Investment is targeted at $1 million that creates at least ten full-time jobs within two years or an immigrant with $500,000 investment in targeted employment area are qualified under the program. Targeted areas are rural areas as well as those areas with unemployment is 150 percent of the national average. Immigrant investors and their family members are eligible to apply and 10,000 visas a year are set aside for the program.

Critics say that the program is not working the way it is intended. It attracts investment but most of it goes to real estate where capital is not needed instead of manufacturing or technology development. Applications under the program take more than 20 months to process. Loopholes are abundant in the program. Investors who are pooling their minimal $500,000 investment with a multi-million dollar investment that creates more jobs are claiming all the employment benefits. Also, the minimum required investment is too low, they argue. Fixes are in the immigration bill passed by the Senate and the House need to act on it.