A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the EB-5 Visa program is at risk for fraud and is not providing the economic benefits it was supposed to create. The EB-5 visa program, which allows foreigners to obtain green cards if they invest at least $500,000 in American businesses, was designed to help create jobs and increase foreign investment in the U.S. economy. The program is set to expire on September 30, 2015 if not renewed by Congress.
The GAO report questioned the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' numbers that the EB-5 visas created at least 73,730 jobs and added more than $11 billion to the U.S. economy from 1990-2014. The GAO said the USCIS’ methodology for calculating the economic benefits of this program was invalid and may have overstated the economic benefits of the program.
The report also found that the EB-5 program is susceptible to fraud since it relies heavily on paper-based documentations with very limited information on applicants available on the electronic database. It is also difficult to identify if the sources of funds from immigrant investors are coming from illegal sources such as drug trade.
While some are pushing to reform the EB-5 program to provide more oversight and transparency some, such as The Washington Post editorial board, are calling to let the “corporate visa giveaway” program expire.
In a joint statement, DHS and USCIS said they “remain committed to preventing fraud and ensuring the integrity of the EB-5 Program.” In the statement USCIS also claims they have “already taken steps to enhance fraud risk management, including the establishment of a specialized unit to provide additional oversight and conduct fraud, national security, and intelligence assessments.”
Read more at The Washington Post.
Updated: Fri, Sep 25th 2015 @ 11:00am EDT