Given the current economic climate, much of the national conversation is about ways to add additional capital and create job opportunities. Central Ohio is one of many communities in need of such economic stimulus. Which is why taking a look at this particular visa seems particularly relevant.
EB-5 is an employment-based preference category that was created by the Immigration Act of 1990. It is a green card issued to foreign nationals who invest capital in "a new commercial enterprise" which the U.S. government feels will help its economy and create at least ten full-time jobs.
The EB-5 classification is not for everyone. The minimum investment needed to qualify is $1 million, or $500,000 if the investment is directed towards a "targeted employment area."
Along with the job creation listed above, the visa holder must be a hands-on part of the venture if they wish to invest in a new business enterprise. At minimum they must be a member of a board or one of the company's corporate officers. There is a category for troubled business, those which have incurred a significant net loss for the last 1-2 years. This category requires no new job creation, only the preservation of the current employees for at least two years.
For most foreign nationals the million dollar price tag may be a bit steep, making the "targeted" option a better one. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines the targeted areas as "a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average." With the average national rate sitting near 9 percent, that would mean areas with at least 13.5 percent unemployment.
If an investor would like a more hand's-off investment they may want to look into the EB-5's Regional Center Pilot Program. The same financial commitment is involved, but the investor need only contribute to a regional center connected to promoting "economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment."
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