The Obama Administration’s recently released blueprint for immigration reform includes a goal of making it easier for the best and the brightest to come to the United States to start companies and create jobs by providing a visa for immigrant entrepreneurs. Current law already provides access to a “green card” for foreign national investors who make a substantial investment in a business (typically at least $500,000 or $1 million) that creates at least 10 U.S. jobs. The Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Investor Program) was created in 1990 to help create jobs and authorizes the issuance of 10,000 green card annually to qualified investors. However, the program has been largely been underutilized.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas recently announced changes designed to improve the process for immigrant investment and job creation under the EB-5 program. USCIS took the unusual step of soliciting public input regarding these proposed changes, which focus on providing better and accelerated adjudication of EB-5 applications. More information on the EB-5 Program can be found on the USCIS website.