Have you heard of EB-5 visa? This is a United States visa for immigrant investors. This was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreigners. To apply/obtain the visa, foreign investors must invest at least $ 1 million or $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area” (high unemployment or rural area). This program eventually provides green card to foreigners.
It seems like a lot of wealthy Chinese are now interested in obtaining this visa. According to CNNMoney, Chinese nationals account for more than 80% of visas issued, which was around 13% a decade ago. There has been a big increase in the number of EB-5 U.S. visas issued to the Chinese (from 16,000 in 2005 to 6,895,000 in 2013). The number of applicants is now so great that the U.S. government might run out of permits. Canada has a similar program but ended last month because it was too popular with Chinese.
Why are they trying to come to the U.S.? One reason is that the program offers green card. Green card offers a way to send children to the U.S. colleges and better quality of lives. Another reason is that the minimum investment cost is pretty low. Australia, for example, requires a 4.5$ million investment. This comparatively low cost attracts many Chinese.
However, there are plenty of critics. They argue that is it a “way for the global elite to buy U.S. citizenship.” This program certainly brings lots of foreign investment to the U.S. that may create lots of jobs. However, at the same time, isn’t this program encouraging a bigger gap between the rich and the poor? Also, do they think that life in China is not as good as the life in the U.S.?