NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Quotas in immigration are no new thing. Work Visas typically fill their quota every year around June or July leaving all immigrants looking to work in the United States having to wait until January of the next year to file for status. But for the first time in its 24 year history, the EB-5 program has hit its annual quota of 10,000 visas per year. This comes on the heels of Canada shutting down its program after a large backlog. The backlog in Canada and the meeting of the quota in the United States for the first time are largely attributed to the influx of wealthy Chinese investors. EB-5 immigration status awards visas to immigrants who invest $500,000 to $1 million in a U.S. business. Applicants who can prove that their investment has created at least 10 jobs get permanent green cards. The program’s popularity has exploded in recent years — the number of applicants vying for the annual allotment of 10,667 visas has doubled nearly every year since 2009. An estimated 85% of the EB-5 funds in 2014 have come from China. That money been used to build projects across California and elsewhere, including the JW Marriott hotel at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.
As of fiscal year 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency estimated that the program had created at least 49,000 jobs. The USCIS said the EB-5 has generated more than $6.8 billion in new investment since its inception in 1990. It’s popular with Republicans and Democrats who tout the program’s potential to create jobs. Changes in the EB-5 program had been included in a comprehensive immigration reform bill that languished in Congress for two years before collapsing this summer. At a July EB-5 convention in Newport Beach, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) called the delays unacceptable and promised reforms to an audience of attorneys and investors. “This is a tremendous boon to our economy,” Goodlatte said. In May, Goodlatte and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) introduced a proposal to streamline the application process and increase the number of visas available to the EB-5 program. The bill is still in committee.
Wilson Harvey Browndorf LLP operates an Elite EB-5 and Global Investment Division from its offices in Irvine, California and New York, New York. Led my Firm Managing Partner, Matthew Browndorf and the practice groups co-managing member, John Hayner, both Browndorf and Hayner have advised clients currently considering the EB-5 Visa as part of their global investment strategies in the United States to have their applications prepared before the year end so they are first in line for the January filings in 2015. John Hayner said, “Much like rising interest rates in home mortgages will cause an increase in new home sales from a rush of buyers to lock in lower rates, we expect the meeting of the EB-5 quota to cause a rush in preparatory legal work over the next quarter so applicants are ready with their finger on the button come January 1, 2015.” Stella Wang, MBA, who works at Wilson Harvey Browndorf’s Irvine office, said, “The EB-5 program is particularly attractive to Chinese investors who are already making an investment in the United States as part of a merger and acquisition activity.”
Wilson Harvey Browndorf, LLP
Justin Palermo, 800-690-5557