Next to national security matters — or in some cases ahead of them — immigration issues are top-of-mind everywhere from Wall Street to Main Street. Indeed, it’s virtually impossible to visit a news website without seeing at least a handful of articles — and coming across hundreds, if not thousands of comments — that range from thoughtful, to provocative, to incendiary and probably even illegal.
Now, regardless of whether one calls oneself a conservative, liberal, republican, democrat, traditionalist, reformer, libertarian — or none of the above — there is one thing that (believe it or not) everyone should agree on: the debate on immigration should be waged with facts, not fiction. Heck, even kids in grade school know this.
Unfortunately, in their pursuit of immigration reality vs. myth, many people aren’t being well-served by some pundits who exist on all sides of the political spectrum, from the far left to the far right. And there’s probably no better (or make that, worse) example of this than when the spotlight shines on the EB5 (a.k.a. “Investor Green Card”). Here are 3 major things that some media outlets are getting dead wrong about this visa category:
Myth: EB5 investors get preferential treatment because they have cash, while less wealthy (and poor) visa applicants get pushed further back.
This is simply false. United States Citizenship and Immigration (UCSIS) has several employment-based visa categories (EB5, HB1, etc.), and each one has a Federally-mandated hard cap. Applications in one category have no impact on applications in another category.
Myth: EB5 investors aren’t scrutinized because they’re pledging to invest either $500,000 or $1 million (depending on the application stream), and create at least 10 U.S. jobs (direct or indirect; again depending on the application stream).
Yes, it’s true that EB5 investors are pledging cash and must create jobs (and pledging cash means pledging cash: EB5 investors can’t buy buildings or make in-kind contributions to meet the requirement). But no, it’s utterly untrue that petitioners slip through the cracks because they have big bank accounts. The trained and competent professionals at the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration, and the Department of State each conduct their own respective — and rigorous —background checks.
Myth: EB5 investors can funnel their cash to a “troubled business” of their choice, such as one owned by a relative, friend, etc.
USCIS does allow EB5 investors to invest in so-called troubled businesses, which are those that have experienced a net loss in the last 12-24 months of at least 20 percent of their net worth. However, qualifying as a troubled business is by not means automatic or easy. On the contrary, such businesses must apply and undergo rigorous scrutiny to confirm and verify that they are, indeed, in trouble but (and this is critical) that an infusion of cash is reasonably likely to prevent future job loss, and help operations get back on track.
If you’re a foreign investor and want to learn the facts about the EB5 visa — and steer clear of half-truths, urban legends, conspiracy theories and outright falsehoods — then speak with an experienced EB5 attorney. In the big picture, you’ll save money, time and plenty of stress!