New rule raises the bar for immigrant investors

A new rule raises the minimum amount foreigners need to invest to qualify for a U.S. green card under the EB-5 program.

Created in 1992, the program grants green cards to foreign nationals who make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. In addition to minimum financial benchmarks, the program stipulates that an investment must also create (or, in certain circumstances, preserve) 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

The EB-5 Modernization Rule raises the EB-5 minimum investment rate to $900,000 for targeted employment area (known as TEA) projects and $1.8 million for non-TEA projects.

In practice, most EB-5 investments are pooled into large development projects. EB-5 has come under scrutiny as developers have been accused of defrauding investors or creating projects that don’t fairly meet the economic goals of the program.

Critics of the old rule say state and local officials were able to manipulate TEA designations to maintain eligibility at the lower investment threshold.

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