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Expert: EB-5 Investor Visa Cap Won't Deter Chinese

October 02, 2014 (1 min read)

"This summer, the State Department announced that it was on track to meet its limit of 10,000 EB-5 visas and promptly stopped issuing the visas to Chinese investors until Oct. 1. But the pause is unlikely to dissuade Chinese visa seekers, experts said. “The increased popularity of the EB-5 program is not going to diminish the interest of investors from China for a number of reasons,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School. At the top of the list: the backlog is not so bad compared with other visa categories. What’s more, EB-5 visas are not only issued to investors, but also their spouses and children. Historically, for every EB-5 visa issued to an investor, 1.5 family members also participate in the program, according to Chris Bentley, press secretary at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That means only 4,000 and 4,500 of the visa holders produce investment money. Some groups have lobbied President Obama to use executive authority to reinterpret the language of the EB-5 program so that all 10,000 slots would go to investors. If left to lawmakers, Congress will likely take up the matter when it grapples with the larger issue of immigration reform, said Yale-Loehr. Amped up competition from other countries The United States is not the only country offering residency-for-investment programs, and with demand surging for EB-5 visas, some worry that Chinese investors could opt to put their money elsewhere. But since many investors seek EB-5 visas not for return on investment, but as a means of securing a foothold and planting their family in the United States, the popularity of the program is unlikely to wane. “If the investor primarily wants a green card for their children, because they want their children to get an education, then the U.S. is still the top destination,” said Yale-Loehr." - Tom DiChristopher, Oct. 1, 2014.