Created in 1990 to boost job creation and capital investment in the US economy, the EB-5 immigrant investment program did not initially attract demand from wealthy investors. In 2007, INS authorities issued just 700 EB-5 visas, out of a total limit of 10,000 visas, to investors from all over the world. Demand was stagnant with investors preferring other options like the Canadian immigrant investor program and the program offered by the Province of Quebec.
However a combination of factors including the suspension of Canada's Federal program, funding crunch faced by businesses during the 2008 recession, and rising interest among Chinese investors had given rise to a surge in demand since 2007-08.
The annual quota of 10,000 visas was reached in 2014 and 2015 with the cap for the latter year being met in the first month of the fiscal year itself. There are more than 13,000 applications pending and applicants face a waiting period in excess of 24 months.
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