Part I: The Future of Investor Visas
Trump Bay Street development in Jersey City, New Jersey, a project of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is supposedly using $50 million from EB-5 investors. Why is this relevant? It signals that Mr. Trump is a proponent of foreign investment in the U.S. and that even his own projects have always been happy to allow foreign money into the U.S. In the case of Trump Bay Street, the $50 million invested, at $500,000 per investor, means the creation of 1,000 jobs for U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card holders).
The EB-5 program, due to Congress’ lack of post-election time to really flesh out the issues, has been extended into April of next year without any material changes. This means that foreign nationals will continue to be allowed to invest in ventures that create permanent full-time jobs that help the U.S. economy. Many of these projects involve construction of large-scale developments, i.e., what Trump made his fortune doing. Essentially, the philosophy behind EB-5 is “If you promise to build it, they (the immigrant investors, and their money) will come.”
EB-5 is a pay-to-play system that gives higher priority to those with money. Intrinsically it is therefore seen as being inequitable. But the Trump administration will not be about equity, it will be about the bottom line. The next President of the United States is, first and foremost, a businessman and a real estate developer. So what better manifestation of his mantra of job generation for Americans than this program?
I would not be surprised to see the EB-5 program have its number of annual limit on visas expanded. It also would not be surprising to see the limit on the number of visas per country removed, so as to avoid an escalating retrogression which discourages investment and applications to be filed under the current outmoded system, which did not properly anticipate the boom of investment coming from the People’s Republic of China. Lastly, I would not be surprised for the minimum amount of $500,000 to be raised. If the demand for EB-5 green cards now outnumbers the supply, the price inevitably will go up.
Immigrant Investor visas should thrive in the Trump era of a Republican-majority Congress, and this will only translate to the generation of a significant number of additional jobs for Americans.
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