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Renewal of Visa Program Raises Concerns Over Possible EB-5 Fraud

Dec. 5, 2018

The federal government is considering whether to provide for another extension of the EB-5 visa program. While it is headed into its 28th year, the program does have its detractors who are concerned about the recent lawsuits over alleged EB-5 fraud. The program has provided funding for many successful projects in the New York area, and countless foreign nationals have obtained visas by way of their investments.

This visa was established nearly 30 years ago with set criteria. Developers may solicit foreign investors on their own or may opt to work with a regional center that can facilitate partnerships with qualified investors. The foreign nationals are required to invest a minimum of $500,000 into an approved project that must provide at least 10 employment opportunities for qualified U.S. workers. Investors are also required to allow their funds to remain in the project for the duration of the time it takes for them to obtain their green cards.

One of the concerns is that this requirement exposes investors to a certain amount of risk by leaving them vulnerable to losing their opportunity to obtain their visas and their investments. Several recent lawsuits have pointed out the possibility that investors can be defrauded if the developers or management companies misuse the funds or if the project fails to come to fruition. The program is limited to only 10,000 visas per year, which are awarded to investors, their spouses and minor children.

The program has been extended many times over the past several years without undergoing any modifications. Critics of the program expressed their hopes that it may be revised to provide more protection for investors from the possibility of EB-5 fraud. New York residents who are concerned that they have been a victim of this type of fraud and are worried that it could impact their legal status may benefit from consulting with an attorney who is skilled in handling these types of immigration matters.