The rise of EB-5 visas

April 6, 2015 admin

An EB-5 visa is awarded to non-U.S. residents who invest in a U.S. business in exchange for permanent residency. According to a recent Insights report from Savills Studley, investment in commercial real estate is a popular option for those looking to secure an EB-5 visa, as property investing can often meet the necessary investment and job creation criteria.

According to Savills Studley, commercial real estate projects that have received EB-5 funding include the Hudson Yards and Atlantic Yards projects in New York City and the Navy Yard redevelopment in Philadelphia.

In recent years, the number of EB-5 visas has increased dramatically, from 1,443 in 2008 to 10,692 in 2014. And investors from China have become a greater portion of those receiving EB-5 visas, increasing from 25 percent of total issuance in 2008 to 85 percent of total issuance in 2014.

And, while the program has clear benefits for foreign investors and commercial real estate developers, it is not free of political wrangling. A recent Politico report notes:

“Experts in the EB-5 program say it’s become common for former politicians, their relatives and other celebrities to trade on their names, because foreign investors — especially those from cultures like China in which business and politics are deeply intertwined — believe that such contacts are vital to getting business done.”

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LorettawebfinalLoretta Clodfelter is editor of The Institutional Real Estate Letter – Americas.

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