When foreign investors back businesses in Maryland and other states, there could be an interest in spending time in the U.S. to oversee operations or manage other details. The EB-5 program allows those who invest substantially to obtain green cards to facilitate that need. In the past, the minimum investment in a venture that would produce jobs in the U.S. was $500,000. The program was slated to expire at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, but a bill was passed to continue the program through December.
Reports indicate that the minimum amount invested by foreign entrepreneurs has not chanced since the early 1990s. Some expect a new bill to provide for a substantial increase. For those investing in areas that suffer from high unemployment rates, the minimum amount would be increased from the current $500,000 to $800,000. The required investment would be raised from $1 million to $1.2 million in areas with lower unemployment rates. There are concerns because participation in the program has dropped in recent years. The lack of certainty related to the possible program changes is believed to be contributing to a decline in applications in recent years.
The EB-5 visa program offers benefits to both investors and to U.S. residents as it promotes economic growth meant to allow U.S. citizens to be employed while also providing the job creators the ability to manage their businesses personally. The details in updated laws could be crucial for continuing to encourage such growth. However, oversight and the revamping of the program may be necessary to reduce fraudulent use of this route to obtaining a green card.
Prospective entrepreneurs who are considering a move to the United States might find it helpful to discuss their plans and interests with an immigration lawyer. This may be helpful for ensuring that the terms of appropriate programs are understood and that related deadlines are met.