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Some Urge End of Visa Over EB-5 Fraud Scandals and Security Fears

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.

This particular visa program was established in 1990 as a way to raise capital for projects in rural or economically distressed areas. For an investment of between $500,000 to $1 million, a foreign national could obtain the right to apply for a green card as long as the proposed project met stipulated guidelines. However, real estate developers have devised ways to ensure that these funds could also be used in more populous areas such as New York City and Miami, while still adhering to the provisions concerning employment opportunities.

Senator Grassley and the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have requested that the current administration allow the visa to expire. Others are calling for the minimum investments to be raised to $1.35 million to account for inflation. Proponents of the program are hoping that it will continue and that more investors from India will become involved — though Indian investors may experience regulatory difficulties if the minimum is raised.

The current administration has taken a pro-business stance, and many state that this program has been a boon for development projects. One professional claims that EB-5 fraud is uncommon and that its benefits outweigh any potential risks. While it is unclear at this time whether Congress will renew this visa, New York residents who have concerns over their investments or their current immigration status may seek further information from an experienced attorney.