US immigrant visa to cost Dh1m more

In exchange for investing in projects that create at least 10 full-time jobs, immigrant investors and their families get permanent-residency visas (green cards). (Shutterstock)

The US Senate has proposed the revision of EB-5 immigrant investor visa programme, seeking increase in the minimum investment in real estate to Dh2.94 million ($800,000) from Dh1.84 million ($500,000), according to media reports.

The senators propose tightening oversight of companies that arrange the investments, raising the minimum investment to $800,000 and requiring investors to prove that they create the jobs for which they earn visas, ‘The Washington Post’ reported

Senate Bill 1501 would “help to restore the programme to its original intent, by ensuring that much of the capital generated and jobs created occur in rural areas and areas with high unemployment,” ‘Seattle Times’ said.

It added their measure would also extend the EB-5 programme, set to expire in September 2015, for five more years.

In exchange for investing in projects that create at least 10 full-time jobs, immigrant investors and their families get permanent-residency visas (green cards).

In recent years, the number of visa application approvals has soared, especially for immigrant investors from China, the Post said.

In 2014, 10,692 EB-5 visas were issued, according to Savills, a real estate services firm.

The investments made to acquire the visas brought more than $1.5 billion and 31,000 jobs to the US economy in 2013, it added.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the EB-5 programme, created by US Congress in 1990, to stimulate the country’s economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, according the US government website.

Legal residency, under the programme, generally takes between 22 and 26 months.

Although Middle East investors have been snapping up properties in London, which has been the most-favoured investment destination, no statistics are available on the number of UAE residents opting for EB-5 programme

In November 2014, Emirates 24|7 reported that investors buying four-bedroom villas in the Dh2.5-billion Ajman Uptown master development in Ajman qualify to apply for citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda, a twin-island nation lying near the Caribbean Sea.

A number of European countries are offering golden visa (EU residency permit) to investors who put in 5000,000 euros in real estate.

The golden visa has brought 1.27 billion euros of investments to Portugal in two years, Deutsche Welle, a German international broadcaster, said quoting country’s Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas.

It added that over 1,500 golden visas were issued in 2014 with the largest number coming from Chinese, followed by Brazilians and Russians.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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