A new study by a Washington think tank suggests that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should seek help from the Department of Commerce to oversee the EB-5 visa program. EB-5 is an immigrant investor visa program that allows investors to temporarily live in the United States while creating jobs for local workers. Many, including the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General, believe that the EB-5 program goes beyond the mission of the USCIS and should therefore be handled by other government entities such as the Department of Commerce.
According to an Associated Press news report, recent skepticism regarding the USCIS's ability to oversee the EB-5 program stems from several failed projects. The report specifically mentions a failed Northern Beef Packers plant in South Dakota and a hotel project in Chicago.
The Brookings Institution study suggests that the process of vetting business plans to determine which are worthy of approval should be moved from immigration services to an agency that specializes in business practices. This shared responsibility could potentially improve the program. The goal is to allow investors who will have the greatest impact on local economies to get a visa while vetting investors who could potentially fail.
It is unclear if these changes will be made, but it does appear that the USCIS will continue to be scrutinized for the way they handle the EB-5 visa program. Now more than ever, foreign investors and business owners will need help while applying for a visa. Any mistakes made during the application process will likely result in their application being denied and their goal of creating jobs in the United States being put on hold.
When it works properly, the EB-5 visa program provides a great opportunity for investors to create jobs here in the United States. In order to qualify, applicants must meet a number of job creation and capital investment requirements. To receive and maintain your EB-5 as a job creator, you must create 10 full-time direct or indirect jobs for U.S. workers within two years of admission.
To receive an EB-5 as an investor, you must invest at least one million in the United States or at least 500,000 in a high-unemployment area. An experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney can provide you with the information, guidance, and counsel you need to be successful with your EB-5 visa application.