United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5”, created by congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.

The EB-5 program requires each investor to invest a minimum of $1million, and establish a new commercial enterprise, which will create at least 10 full-time jobs for the U.S. workers. The second option of EB-5 is to invest a minimum of $500,000 in a third party commercial enterprise, known as a Regional Center. Each investment of $500,000 must create at least 10 full-time qualifying U.S. workers within 2 years(or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after 2 year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident. It can either create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs:

 

In 1993, congress created the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program to increase interest in EB-5 visa program, while providing eligible foreign investors opportunities to become lawful permanent residents. Under the pilot program, each foreign investor must make a minimum investment of $500,000(in a Targeted Employment Area) in a USCIS pre-approved Regional Center,which is involved in the promotion of economic growth, and each $500,000 investment must create at least 10 jobs. Investment within a regional center provide foreign investors benefit of allowing them to count job creations both directly and indirectly.

A Regional Center is an economic entity, public or private, which is recognized by the U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services as a designated participant in the EB-5 Pilot Program. It involves with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. The USCIS acknowledges the feasibility of its econometric models and business plans, and determines that jobs can be directly or indirectly created through investment in the approved industry categories.

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A Targeted Employment Area(TEA) refers to a project location with unemployment rate of at least 150% of U.S. national average, or a rural area with population more than 20,000.

The EB-5 immigrant investor program provides a beneficial method for the wealthy foreign nationals to obtain U.S permanent resident status. It offers more advantages and less constraint, comparing to many other countries’ immigration categories.

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Regional Centers can take advantage of indirect job creation, which reduces the difficulty of achieving job creations. Currently, the annual quota for EB-5 VISA is 10,000, over 90% were issued to Regional Center Investors, and Chinese nationals accounted for more than 80% of EB-5 VISA issued.

 

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