The topic of immigration is definitely controversial. In fact, if you mention it among family or friends, you are likely to incite contentious debates. Opinions vary greatly in New York, from those who believe in doing everything possible to advocate for people who are trying their best to build successful lifestyles in the United States to those whose ideas involve closing America’s borders to all non-citizens. Then, there are others who fall somewhere in between when it comes to immigration policy, employment, undocumented versus documented immigrants and other pertinent subjects.
One hotly debated issue regarding immigrant-investors in America is the EB- 5 program. Some say it has prompted a tremendous boost to our real estate economy while others are hesitant to support the program because they believe it is prone to fraud. Congress created the program in 1990 as a means to encourage foreign investment of new business startups in the United States.
Get the facts straight first
Many immigrants yearning to begin new lives in America are often caught up in so much red tape their arrivals are placed on hold for 10, 20 or more years. Programs like EB-5 give many people hope that they will be able to bring their life dreams to fruition a lot sooner. Of course, it’s always best to seek clarification of the laws that govern a particular matter before diving in head first. Keeping the following in mind where EB-5 is concerned may help you avoid problems:
- Although the EB-5 program ultimately leads to obtaining a green card (permanent residency status) there are several requirements in order to establish eligibility.
- The required investment must be at least $500,000.
- The investment must be going toward a commercial enterprise that has met pre-existing qualifications.
- The business must retain at least 10 American workers on a full-time basis.
- An investor’s entrance to the United States through the program is conditional, typically allowing two years to fulfill created job requirements before applying for permanent residency.
- Investing in business enterprises in America is not a guarantee that a green card will be issued.
Those who oppose the EB-5 immigration program say there is too much potential for fraud and more oversight is needed. Misappropriation of funds is one type of fraud frequently cited as being problematic within the program. If someone has promised you a green card in exchange for your business investment, it is a tremendous red flag that possible illicit intentions are at hand. Such behavior may be subject to criminal prosecution.
One of the things you can do to gain support and answers to your questions about the EB-5 investment program is reach out to an attorney in New York who has experience addressing immigration-related matters.