When compared to the wild swings in the number of EB-5 (immigrant investor) visas issued (37 in April, 2,600 in September, and 596 in November), the stock market has been pretty stable in recent months. These differences probably have to do with the fact that the fiscal year ended on September 30.
This kind of visa is in high demand in China but has a yearly cap set by Congress of 10,000. When investors put down a minimum of $800,000 in a Homeland Security-approved, but not guaranteed, project, generally in big-city real estate, the investor, their spouse, and unmarried minor children are eligible for visas. After a time, visa holders are eligible for permanent residency (a green card).
The program has been plagued by incidents involving the theft of millions of dollars from naive foreign investors by con artists in the United States, who are sometimes members of the investors' ethnic group but are more commonly U.S. citizens. Congress allowed the authorization of the major element of the program to expire from July 1 of last year to March of this year, which led to the program's instability since it required pooled investments managed by DHS-approved regional centers but did not have the necessary funding to do so. The ups and downs are partially due to Covid, of course.
Meanwhile, the program's widespread appeal among anxious, well-off Chinese raises yet another factor: the interplay between the influx of visa applications, the overall global ceiling (near 10,000), and the age-old rule that stipulates no more than 7% of a visa category can go to people from any one country, regardless of circumstance. Chinese investors have been waiting years to get their EB-5 visas because of the lengthy delays caused by the complexity of the procedure (An untold number of people are already here in the United States on multiple visa types.)
India is the only other country with an EB-5 backlog, while far smaller in scope.
The increased activity in September from Chinese investors was due almost entirely to the processing of already pending applications rather than any new approvals. Due to these delays, applications from that nation have plunged to an all-time low in recent years.
The 7 percent cap only applies to native-born Chinese and not the whole Chinese population. The quota for citizens of mainland China is not applied to individuals born in Hong Kong or Taiwan, and many people from those regions have successfully obtained EB5 visas.
Note: This website's content is meant to be general; it does not constitute legal or financial advice. Only a licensed expert with a total understanding of all the information and circumstances of your specific situation can provide legal or financial advice. Before enrolling in the EB-5 program, you should contact a visa attorney with legal, immigration, and financial knowledge.