Under the EB-5 program, overseen by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), visas are given to individuals who invest in setting up businesses in the US that employ at least 10 US citizens on a permanent basis. It is known as EB-5, as it implies Employment-Based fifth preference visa.?This program allows foreign citizens to get or earn green cards if at least a sum of $500,000 is invested by them in American businesses.
The number of EB-5 visa applications touched 6,277 in the first quarter of 2016, up from 2,941 filed in the same quarter of 2015. The rise was due to calls made by the US Congress, which wanted the program to be ended or reformed.
Although the number of pending EB-5 petitions surged to 21,998 in the first quarter of 2016 from 13,216 in the corresponding period last year, the approval rate for these dropped to 20 percent this year compared to 56 percent last year.
Devised to enable creation of jobs and overseas investment in America, it has been found to be not as effective as envisaged.
A report published in the year 20156 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office was of the view that the techniques employed by the USCIS to determine the economic benefits of this program were not accurate. It also questioned the benefits accrued to the US through the program, documentation of which depended mostly on paper, leaving it vulnerable to fraud.
One Congressman ran the program down by saying that American citizenship was up for sale, which was not what their country stood for. Other Congressmen said effective reforms would make it really beneficial for the US.