Individuals eligible for the employment-creation classification under the employment-based fifth preference (“EB-5”) enjoy substantial advantages in the green card process. While they may skip the labor certification process normally required for employment-based permanent residency, they must meet specifically set thresholds for levels of investment and demonstrated employment creation for U.S. workers.
The EB-5 category allows an immigrant investor to create a new investment or to purchase an existing investment and improve it substantially. The EB5 investor may invest in their own company or participate in an EB-5 Regional Center, a private enterprise certified by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program as serving a targeted employment area. Required investment into a personal enterprise is $1,000,000 in most regions; this threshold drops to $500,000 for targeted employment areas (for either personal enterprises or Regional Center investments).
The EB-5 investor must also show that the enterprise created or will create at least ten (10) jobs for U.S. workers. For a personal investment, the job creation must be direct, and the investor’s role in overseeing the enterprise must be direct and non-marginal. For a regional center investment, the job creation may be indirect, and the investor has slightly more latitude in his or her level of involvement in the investment’s management.
Finally, EB-5 green card approval is conditional. Two (2) years after the initial grant of permanent residence under the EB-5 classification, the investor must file to remove the conditions, by showing the continuing viability of the investment.