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Changes may be ahead for investor visa program

South Carolina entrepreneurs may know that while a high proportion of immigrants who participate in the investor visa program are from China, those numbers may be limited in the future due to proposed new legislation. Known as the EB-5 program, it currently sets the investment amount at either $500,000 or $1 million, depending upon the nature of the project. In addition, it is necessary to demonstrate that the investments create jobs. The dollar amount has been the same since 1990, and it may be raised to between $800,000 and 1.2 million.

While the amount will not specifically lower the number of Chinese people participating in the program, it will make it necessary for them to plan further in advance because China limits how much money can be taken out of the country. The EB-5 program will also most likely begin to scrutinize how the money is spent as well as the people the investor chooses to work with to reduce the likelihood of fraud.

Congress currently disagrees as to whether investors should be spending their money in urban centers or more rural areas. Many investors prefer familiar areas such as San Francisco, but the program may change its focus to building investments in rural places. It is unclear whether any proposed changes will be retroactive.

Immigrants who are interested in the investor program or in other ways of obtaining green cards may wish to work with an attorney. One reason is that immigration laws may undergo rapid change and reform, and an attorney may be able to keep people apprised of such changes. An attorney may also be able to suggest strategies for obtaining visas, residency or citizenship that the individual is unaware of.

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