At the end of September, the EB-5 visa program is set to expire once again. While it is uncertain what actions Congress may take, there have been efforts on the part of some lawmakers and an official with the Immigration Service, who are calling for the program to be terminated. There have been many projects here in New York that came to fruition due in part to funding from this program, but concerns over EB-5 fraud and national security may make it more difficult for the program to survive.
The establishment of the EB-5 visa was intended as a way of obtaining foreign investment capital for certain projects that met the program's parameters. In exchange for the minimum $500,000 investment, a foreign national who met the qualifications would then be eligible to apply for a green card. Many states, including New York, have benefited from this particular visa program though it has been the target of many EB-5 fraud attempts.
The EB-5 visa was intended to raise capital in order to create employment opportunities and improve economic conditions in targeted areas of the country. In return, the foreign nationals who make the required investments are given a permanent visa and the opportunity to become citizens as long as they meet the program's requirements. Though New York developers have often benefited from this particular program, concerns over EB-5 fraud are prompting calls for revisions.
Hurricane Katrina will always be remembered as one of the most devastating storms. In the years since, some communities are still struggling to rebuild through investment programs such as the EB-5 visa. When these types of investments are misused through alleged EB-5 fraud, it can leave foreign investors living in New York and elsewhere with fears of losing their dreams of rebuilding their own lives.
Those who hope to rebuild their lives in this country have limited choices when it comes to seeking a visa. For some foreign investors, the EB-5 visa can provide them with the opportunity to invest in a real estate project while securing the possibility of applying for a coveted green card. Unfortunately, there are many reports of these investment projects being nothing more than EB-5 fraud that has robbed many New York residents of their money and jeopardized their immigration dreams.
A handful of lawmakers worked to propose changes to one visa program that is continually up for elimination. The proposed changes were offered in an effort to reduce the numbers of EB-5 fraud allegations while helping to bring stability to the program. There have been many New York projects that have been completed based on investors who have benefited from this visa.
For many foreign nationals, the dream of obtaining a visa to live in the United States seems to be nearly impossible. Though there are a variety of visa programs, quotas and other restrictions make the process difficult at times. Unfortunately, there are times when an opportunity seems to present itself but ends in disappointment when a developer winds up facing accusations of committing EB-5 fraud. Though there are many projects in New York that have come to fruition through this investment visa, not every opportunity is a sound investment.
It was recently announced that the former Navy shipyard complex in New York will be converted for multiple uses. Part of the financing of the planned redevelopment will be obtained through the use of the EB-5 visa program. In spite of the concerns of previous allegations concerning EB-5 fraud, it is anticipated that millions will be raised for the construction.
In 1990, the federal government was seeking avenues to obtain more funding for development projects in the poorer economic regions of the country. From those efforts, a new visa program was started that allowed foreign investors an opportunity to obtain a visa through investments in projects that provide a minimum of 10 jobs for current residents. Unfortunately, the program has since been the target for a few unscrupulous developers who have engaged in EB-5 fraud and misappropriated monies meant for specific projects, possibly including some here in New York.
Of the many avenues that are open for immigrants who wish to start over in America, one of the most controversial was just extended for another month. This visa, which is obtained in part through investments, is often the target for allegations of EB-5 fraud. There are many projects in New York that came to fruition through the use of these important investment funds.