A visa program intended to encourage wealthy foreigners to invest in high unemployment areas in the U.S. is instead being used to direct money to luxury establishments in affluent areas, according to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Grassley has been a critic of the current state of the EB-5 visa program — which allows foreigners to invest in U.S. businesses in exchange for permanent residency — arguing the program is susceptible to fraud, lacks oversight and has questionable benefits. In a floor speech Wednesday the Iowa lawmaker decried yet another cause for concern: gerrymandering investment regions.
There are two avenues and two prices for foreign investors to take in order to obtain a green card via the EB-5 visa program. The first has him or her investing $1 million in a new business that creates 10 full-time jobs. The second path allows the investor to spend $500,000 in a rural or high unemployment area known as a “Targeted Employment Area.”
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