Home America Trump Government Pounds Down on the EB-5 Visa

Trump Government Pounds Down on the EB-5 Visa

The Trump administration is pressurising the Congress to reform or eliminate the EB-5 investors’visa program. The Visa provides green cards to foreigners investing a minimum of $1 million within USA.These make nearly 10 permanent full-time jobs.
The move comes from the Trump administration amid increasing reports of misuse or fraud from foreign nationals.

Top American lawmakers have been opposing this Visa tooin view of increasing cases of fraud and misuse of this one-of-its kind investors’ visa program.

“The EB-5 regional centre programme, which is set to expire on September 30 of this year, is in dire need of reforms to better protect US investors, businesses and communities against fraud, abuse, and mismanagement,” L. Francis Cissna, Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services told lawmakers this week.

“More importantly, reforms are needed to protect against national security risks that allow foreign nationals to invest for the purpose of laundering money or conducting espionage against us,” Cissna said.

The program allocates up to 10,000 visas annually to foreign nationals.

India has the third highest number of filersfor the EB-5 Visa, while China and Vietnam take the first two places.Majority of fraudshave been caused by applicants from China.Last year, 500 EB-5 petitions were filed by Indians, and this year almost 700 are expected to be incoming.

Indians have been facing rejection for the Visa at a rate of 20%, while the general denial rate is at 10%. This mostly occurs due to issues related to documentation and source of funds.

“The growing demand for EB-5 has spread throughout India especially Chandigarh, Punjab, Delhi, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka,” said Abhinav Lohia from CanAm, which had 50 investors from India in 2016, 97 in 2017 and are expecting 200 this year.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cissna declared that the EB-5 Regional Center Program was going to expire by the end of September this year.

“In the last decade, the programme has been re-authorised by Congress without added safeguards or tools for the Department to better operate the programme. In the absence of legislative reforms, I believe Congress should indeed consider allowing the programme to expire,” he said.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress created category 5 to stimulate the economy and helped create jobs and increase capital investment.Two years from then, unemployment started climbing and the Congress had to create the Regional Center Program and set aside EB-5 visas for those investing in commercial enterprises associated with those very regional centres.As of 2018, a total of 903 such regional centres exist across America.

“While the Regional Center concept facilitated more investments, it also opened the door for abuse,” Cissna said, adding that there are indications that the programme has been used to undermine US national security with 19 cases of confirmed national security concerns in five years alone.