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Is the EB-5 visa program under attack for allegations of fraud?

A variety of visas are available to non-citizens. Some impose certain educational or work requirements. However, one type, called EB-5, has fallen under scrutiny for its alleged lack of regulation.

The EB-5 visa process, created in 1990, was intended to help America's economy by offering foreign investors the opportunity to finance a business within the United States and employ a minimum of 10 American workers. Last year, almost 9,000 conditional visas were issued under this process. Around 80 percent of those visas went to Chinese investors.

However, some commentators question whether the program is a national security threat, possibly involving investors who used fake identification documents or laundered money. A recent report released by the Government Accountability Office was inconclusive. The GAO investigators were unable to disprove that the money used for the EB-5 visas had not been funded from criminal activities, such as drugs or human trafficking.

A former special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently came forward, claiming that her investigation about a certain EB-5 project subjected her to adverse employment consequences. Her complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board has led to an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.

In an election year where immigration has been a hot-button subject, the EB-5 scrutiny is unfortunate. For a foreign national with immigration, citizenship or naturalization goals, the current political climate means that it is more important than ever to consult with an immigration attorney. Our New York immigration law firm has helped many clients with complicated immigration issues. Check out our website to learn more about our practice areas.

Source: The New York Times, "Program That Lets Foreigners Write a Check, and Get a Visa, Draws Scrutiny," Ron Nixon March 15, 2016

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