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Trade & Investment

More opportunities than ever for Chinese, Asian investor-immigrants


US VisaThe majority of applicants for the EB-5 visa come from Asia, over 80 percent according to a Government Accountability Office report from 2005. Those investors come from China, South Korea, and Taiwan among others. Most recent numbers indicate that 75 percent of immigrant investors come from China.

Many of those who qualify for permanent resident status, following fulfilment of the visa’s stringent requirements, remain in the United States, do not relocate their business, and tend to reinvest in more businesses. While official numbers aren’t kept by the United States Citizenship and Immigrant Services agency, it is assumed that many of these immigrants seek citizenship afterwards.

Reasons For Chinese Investment Boom

The recent business climate of China and increased applications suggests that more and more Chinese are seeking the economic protection an American business can offer. While growth has been tremendous in China, the change in leadership last fall has added to an uncertain business climate. It is too early to tell the effects of the political changes, but some are seeking the perceived benefits of American residency. With the recent power transition to leader Xi Jinping there have been concerns of cooling economic opportunities. Nevertheless, the trend of the last decade has been towards a greater number of applicants, a trend that may come to a peak as quotas are being met for applicants from this country.

Annually 10,000 applicants are allowed for the EB-5 Visa. Last year over 7,000 applied with the majority being from China. The exact makeup of those applying is unclear as statistics are not measured but it is clear that there is a demand. Earlier in 2012 Chinese investors made news by investing over 48 million in Seattle’s Route 520 Bridge that floats across Lake Washington, the world’s largest floating bridge.

The Asian Influence: Infrastructure For Green Cards

China’s role in America’s development may be growing as states utilise foreign investor funds to repair infrastructure. Most recently, the Senate has proposed a bill allowing purchasers of $500,000 of residential property the right to live in the US as long as they reside in the property for a minimum of 180 days per year. If they ever sell the property they lose the temporary resident right.

While some may criticise the purchase of state bonds as a path to citizenship for foreign nationals, the road isn’t entirely free of risk. As part of the Washington state bridge project the company that was used to purchase the bonds, the Regional Centre, had to show that there was a significant risk associated with the project. The project is expected to put investor’s money at risk for up to four years while creating an estimated hundreds of indirect jobs for an area designated by Washington as high unemployment.

Summaries

The use of Regional Centres as an investment vehicle may appeal more to Chinese investors because of their flexibility. A key benefit is the inclusion of “indirect jobs” counting towards the ten job requirement of the visa, as was the case for the Seattle project. Although this visa has seen criticism in the past, it looks like the future is bright as legislators try to ease requirements in order to create a more effective program for both investors and the economy.

Author Bio: Carol Carter is a writer and immigration policy analyst. She has covered various topics related to immigration following an experience helping a friend become a naturalised citizen. She has used EB5Investors platform to inform colleagues of visa requirements and changes.
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