The issue of reforming the US immigration system is on the agenda and is one of the most pressing political issues at the moment. So now is the time for Congress to address the necessary changes to the EB-5 program.
In his Thursday May 23 speech, President Trump unveiled a plan to modernize the immigration system to strengthen America’s domestic policies. The plan defines two main goals. One of them is related to the EB-5 program.
According to President Trump
one of the goals “is to establish a new legal immigration system that protects the American labor market, promotes American values and attracts the best talent from around the world.”
President Trump’s plan seeks to change what he describes as dysfunctional, whereby most immigrants are randomly selected through the program. By this he means obtaining a visa through family ties, lottery or humanitarian reasons. Instead of chain immigration, the president proposes to issue visas based on merit and qualifications.
“As a result of the existing shortcomings of the immigration system, the annual flow of migrants is mainly low-paid and low-skilled. Newcomers are competing for jobs with the most vulnerable US citizens and are putting pressure on social safety nets and generous welfare programs, ”President Trump said.
EB-5 immigrant investor program
In this case, the EB-5 immigrant investor program is the most promising way for the United States to attract only foreign citizens who are useful to the country. Each year, the EB-5 program issues thousands of visas to foreigners who invest $ 500,000 or more in new business ventures and targeted employment areas. ( Target employment area is an area that is either rural or has an unemployment rate of about 150% of the national average). These businesses then create new jobs. Every EB-5 investor must create a minimum of 10 jobs for qualified employees.
The EB-5 program is exactly the kind of visa program that the Trump administration can champion for renew 2 year green card. While other visa categories offer immigrants to come to the United States and compete for jobs with Americans and take advantage of social safety nets, the EB-5 program attracts foreign nationals to the United States who stimulate the economy through investment and job creation.
The EB-5 program requires investments
The EB-5 program requires investments to be sustainable in a project and retain some risk over a significant period of time. Therefore, foreign investors succeed and obtain residence permits only if American projects manage to create or, in some cases, save jobs.
When the US economy faced the 2008 crisis, the EB-5 program made a huge contribution to the country’s socio-economic industry : its participants’ investments in US infrastructure kept it afloat.
The unique EB-5 program encourages participants to invest in projects located in rural and high unemployment areas, whose improvement will level the local economy.
The President aims
The President aims to “increase the share of highly skilled immigration from 12% to 57%” and prioritize family immigration.
One of the main reasons foreign nationals invest in EB-5 visas is because their children can go to university in the United States and then stay in highly skilled jobs. So far, Congress has indicated that the proposed immigration reforms will not work. President Trump’s remarks could hold great promise for EB-5, if they are accepted by Congress.
Despite its advantages, the EB-5 program needs reforms to be even more effective. The change needs to start with a quota of 10,000 EB-5 visas per year, which includes all family members of the investor. Currently, out of 10,000 immigrants under the program, about 3,000 are investors, the rest of the quota is occupied by family members. This problem causes delays in issuing visas or lengthy processing of documents, especially for citizens of China, Vietnam, India, South Korea and Brazil, as these are the countries where the EB-5 program is especially popular . Due to these problems, the waiting time for a visa can take more than 10 years. Therefore, applicants begin to consider the possibilities of immigration to other countries.