New York City and the surrounding boroughs have often benefited from investments through the EB-5 visa program. This particular visa allows for foreign nationals to invest a minimum amount in a qualified development project that provides a set number of employment opportunities for residents. In exchange, the investors receive the opportunity to apply for green cards for themselves and qualified immediate family members. Unfortunately this visa has been the subject of many civil lawsuits over allegations of EB-5 fraud.
For years, developers have planned to build a giant Ferris wheel on Staten Island that would afford riders a view of several points of interest in the surrounding area. The project was expected to be an anchor for future stores, restaurants and parking structures. Unfortunately, the project's developers recently announced that the project will not come to fruition due to an apparent lack of funding from the city.
Purportedly, an estimated 412 foreign nationals invested in the project in order to acquire their green cards. While the Ferris wheel will not be completed, a parking garage and support pillars for the wheel were finished. According to reports, the completed portions will allow the investors to qualify for those visas, though whether they will be permitted to retain them is uncertain since it is likely that the employment requirements will not be fulfilled.
To date, there has been no civil litigation filed in connection with the defunct project. It is unclear whether the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will allow the investors to receive their green cards or if developers will provide a return on their investments. Those currently residing in New York who are concerned that they may have been a victim of EB-5 fraud can consult an attorney skilled in handling these types of immigration issues in order to protect their rights and current immigration statuses.