Also known as the Immigrant Investor Program, EB-5 was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy. The program has served to inspire job creation and capital investment from immigrant investors with its focus on creating new commercial businesses and investing in troubled enterprises.
Each year, 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas are extended to qualified immigrant investors, and there are two distinct means for immigrant investors to be granted legal permanent residence for themselves and their immediate family:
- The Basic Program
- The Regional Center Pilot Program
Both programs require that an immigrant makes a capital investment of either $500,000 or $1 million into a new commercial enterprise in the United States. The amount invested depends on whether the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or not. A TEA is generally defined as an area — often rural — that has undergone high employment of at least 150 percent of the national average.
The EB-5 program is important for sustaining a healthy economy in areas lacking independent growth. However, businesses relying on this program must comply with the necessary standards and regulations to ensure fair distribution to those competing for highly sought opportunities.