The U.S. may lose its luster as an immigration destination for Asia’s wealthy thanks to Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric and scenes of valid green card holders being held at airports across the country after the U.S. president’s hastily drawn travel ban in late January.
Soon there may be another reason to avoid the U.S.: the price for getting an immigrant investment visa may go up. Way up. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to hike the minimum investment amount required to apply for the popular, if controversial, EB-5 investment visa to $1.35 million from $500,000.
Today, the EB-5 program offers a path to U.S. citizenship if you invest in project in a rural community or a high-unemployment area that creates at least 10 jobs. Individuals can also gain residency by investing at least $1 million in an economically strong area, rising to $1.8 million under DHS’s proposal.
But it’s the shift in the minimum investment that’s likely to change the complexion of a program that has attracted thousands of applicants from China and led to the building of everything from luxury skyscrapers to pizzerias across the U.S. A Donald Trump-branded hotel property in Texas is even tapping the program to raise funds. “Changing the minimum threshold in such manner will totally change the profile of EB-5 future investors,” says Bastien Trelcat, managing partner, Harvey Law Group.