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Immigrant investor program may be up for changes

FILE PHOTO: The EB-5 visa program grants permanent resident status to foreign investors who invest into a U.S. business that leads to the creation of jobs.
FILE PHOTO: The EB-5 visa program grants permanent resident status to foreign investors who invest into a U.S. business that leads to the creation of jobs.
Gage Skidmore via Flickr

The Trump administration has yet to take on the controversial EB-5 immigrant investor program, but changes proposed earlier this year by the Obama administration are moving ahead.

The EB-5 program lets wealthy investors obtain legal residency if they invest at least half a million dollars in a U.S. business that creates jobs.

The program is popular with Chinese investors and has fueled development in the San Gabriel Valley. 

But changes may be coming to EB-5 program, initiated by the Obama administration. In January, a week before the Trump inauguration, the Department of Homeland Security posted a proposed change of rules in the Federal Register that would tighten the program.

The minimum investment for areas without high unemployment would rise, from  $1 million dollars to $1.8 million.  

And those who want to invest for less, in what’s called a “targeted employment area” with high unemployment, would also have to pay more: Their minimum investment would go up from $500,000 to $1.35 million.

It would also give federal officials more control over what defines these high-unemployment areas, making them harder to gerrymander.

The proposal is similar to what some lawmakers have floated without success. 

Before any rule change becomes final, public comments are taken into account.

Written comments to DHS are due by April 11 and can submitted online. The EB-5 program comes up for renewal at the end of April.