The Trump administration has urged the US Congress to either reform or eliminate the EB-5 investors visa program, which provides green cards to foreigners investing at least $1 million in the US that create nearly 10 permanent full-time jobs.
The recent move from the Trump administration is due to the increasing reports of misuse or fraud from foreign nationals.
Top American lawmakers too have opposed the EB-5 investors visa program in the past because of fraud and misuse.
L Francis Cissna, Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing a week ago. "The EB-5 regional center program, which is set to expire on 30 September of 2018, is in portentous need of reforms to better protect US investors, businesses and communities against fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. More importantly, reforms are needed to protect against national security risks that allow foreign nationals to invest for laundering money or conducting espionage against us."
EB-5 investor visa program allocates up to 10,000 visas annually to foreign nationals, with a per country cap of seven percent.
India is the third highest filer of EB-5 visa application after China and Vietnam. Majority of the fraud and complaints of misuse of the program have come from China.
In 1990 the Congress created category 5 with the sole goal to stimulate the economy through job creation and capital investment. Two years later, with the unemployment rate climbing up, the Congress created the Regional Center Program and set aside EB-5 visas for those who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers. As of 2018, a total of 903 regional centers exist, up from only 25 in 2008.
While the Regional Center concept facilitated more investments, it also opened the doors for fraud, abuse and misuse of the program. There are indications that the program has been used to undermine the US national security with 19 cases of confirmed national security concerns in the last five years.
The program has certainly helped several infrastructure and business development projects across the United States. However, the program needs revision and upgrades with changing business requirements and industry standards to be able to deliver the main object behind the program as well as evade misuse and fraud.
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