[dropcap]This[/dropcap] article discusses the latest issues affecting EB-5 applicants from Mainland China. For the last 6 years, investors from China have been allocated more than 80% of the available EB-5 Program visas. But in the last few years the visa backlog for these Chinese investors has steadily grown, making many wonder if Chinese investors will lose interest in the program that they’ve dominated for so long.
What are the major contributing factors?
Factors contributing to the decrease in investors from Mainland China:
- If there are no changes to the current way visas are allocated, then Chinese applicants could wait between 8 and 10 years in line. Each year 10,000 visas are allocated to applicants instead of investors. What this means is if there is a family of 3 applying under one EB-5 visa, those 3 applicants count toward the 10,000 available visas. Changing how visas are allocated and only counting investors toward the total available visa cap would increase the amount of visas being issued by almost triple. This could drastically help reduce the current EB-5 visa backlog.
- Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Controls Office of the U.S. Department of State, indicated that the wait times for investors from Mainland China could potentially grow to be 15 years in length.
- With a 15 year potential backlog, parents with children under the age of 6 years may worry about their children aging out of the EB-5 Program before they receive their visas. To qualify under a parent’s EB-5 application, a child must be under the age of 21 years and unmarried.
- EB-5 industry sources believe that an increase in the minimum investment amount is coming. Combined with the backlog, it may deter even more potential applicants from Mainland China from investing.
- Agents and broker-dealers in China are turning to other countries visa programs as alternatives for their clients.
Factors contributing to why investors from Mainland China are still applying for the EB-5 Program:
- Many investors believe that they will move up in line if they wait because other investors will drop out.
- Many investors are willing to be patient if it means their future involves the American Dream for their young families. Investors with children under the age of 6 years old, in particular, are willing to wait for the opportunity to obtain an EB-5 visa. Parents whose children will age out are also making their children primary applicants in order to give them the opportunity to move and study in the U.S.
- A new change to the Chinese constitution has eliminated presidential term limits and has many citizens worried about the future of China. Some citizens are hopeful about the future under President Xi Jinping, but others are concerned and more motivated to leave the country.
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