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.
Congressional members reauthorized the program without any changes when they approved the last fiscal budget. However, several lawmakers and other officials are pushing for reforms that have purportedly been anticipated since the last administration. There are proposals that would increase the minimum investment from the current $500,000 to a new minimum of $1.35 million. In addition, some demand greater government oversight in the selection of qualifying projects.
Over the past several years, there have been several allegations of fraud and mismanagement of funds. The Department of Homeland Security is working on drafting revisions to the program, though there are calls for the federal office to make increased progress in its work. Furthermore, there are a few in Congress who have advocated discontinuing this particular visa in favor of developing new programs based on employment opportunities.
Senator Chuck Grassley has expressed concerns that, along with the possibility of EB-5 fraud, this particular visa presents challenges to national security, though he did not elaborate on this issue. For its part, a spokesperson for the federal agency stated that, while it continues working on regulatory changes, it does not have a completion date. In the meantime, those who are currently residing in New York, and are concerned that they have been a potential victim of fraud, are assured of the right to contact an experienced attorney who can protect their rights while seeking to ascertain their current immigration status.