I. Introduction - The Immigration Act of 1990 created the EB-5 “immigration through investment” program. It allows foreign nationals to obtain green cards in the United States (the “U.S.”) by making an investment in a project that creates or preserves at least 10 jobs in the U.S. EB-5 affords a “win-win-win” opportunity for foreign nationals to obtain legal permanent U.S. resident status and a return on their investment, U.S. businesses to obtain financing and the U.S. economy to gain needed jobs. This undersubscribed, but increasingly popular, program was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2012. However, the federal government has extended it to September 30, 2015.
Set forth below is a brief overview of the EB-5 program and a summary of its current status.
II. EB-5 Overview -
As the soft economy continues in the U.S., financing generally remains difficult to secure and, when it is available, often comes at a prohibitive price. The dearth of reasonable financing is causing an unfortunate drag on promising new project development and job creation. Meanwhile, many foreign nationals seek permanent residency status in the U.S. and are willing to pay a considerable sum for a “green card” especially if the payment takes the form of an investment that can earn a profit.
A. Investment. EB-5 requires an (i) investment of $1,000,000 anywhere in the U.S. or $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area” (an area with unemployment at 150% or more of the national average) in a project that (ii) creates or preserves at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. The jobs must be created within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) after the immigrant investor’s admission to the U.S. Construction jobs are not counted.
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