The EB-5 immigration program has ballooned in size in recent years, and it is being closely followed by foreign investors. The program, which has existed for over a century, is an efficient method for high net-worth individuals and their families to obtain an American Green Card. EB-5’s popularity has grown massively: In 2014, the program stopped accepting applications after reaching its quota of 10,000 visas. The impact on Silicon Valley and the rest of the US tech industry may be striking.
EB-5 was created as a tool to generate capital and jobs in the American economy. The requirements to apply are simple: A $1,000,000 investment in a US business, a creation of at least 10 jobs for American workers, and proof of legitimate capital. Most EB-5 investors finance projects in what is called a “target employment area”, or TEA, which lowers the the cost of investment to $500,000. TEAs are meant to focus on either rural regions or areas of high unemployment, which tend to have a higher barrier of entry for domestic investment. Part of what makes the program so popular is the $500,000 price tag – a figure far lower than similar programs in other developed countries.
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