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EB-5 fraud may persist without reform of Immigration program

The EB-5 immigration program is set to be renewed, but not everyone is pleased with the extension of the program. Originally, it was created with the two-fold purpose of providing green cards for foreign investors and encouraging economic development in New York and across the country. However, accusations of EB-5 fraud have plagued the program, and some U.S. senators are calling for reformation.

Immigrants are invited to invest between $500,000 and $1 million in projects aimed at improving poor rural and urban neighborhoods across the United States. In exchange, those investors are promised green cards. In some cases, neither of those goals has been achieved. Developers have been accused of using the investments for projects in wealthy business districts and affluent neighborhoods. Additionally, one developer collected millions from over 700 foreign investors, and fewer than half of the investors received their promised green cards.

Some senators are threatening to vote against the upcoming budget resolution if it includes the EB-5 program without major reforms. The reforms need to include protections for the investors and more restrictions on where projects can be developed in New York and other states. Without the safeguards called for by lawmakers, investors from other countries may not know which projects are trustworthy and may risk hundreds of thousands of dollars without receiving their promised visa.

Before finalizing any investments, many investors from outside the United States seek the counsel of an attorney with experience in immigration law. Having an attorney allows potential investors to understand the stipulations of the immigration program and to avoid instances of EB-5 fraud. An immigration lawyer will review the details of potential investors and provide sound advice for going forward with an investment.

Source: vnews.com, "Senate Extending EB-5 Program", Anne Galloway, Sept. 27, 2016

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