EB5 Investor Visas and Green Cars17 Feb 2010
A recent posting on the MurthyBlog cited reports that an increasing number of Chinese investors are seeking green cards for themselves and their family members through the EB5 investor visa program, which requires applicants to invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. business, and create ten new jobs. (See: And, Speaking of the EB5 Investor Visa, MurthyBlog, Dec 31, 2009) According to the “Wheels” blog of the New York Times, Chinese investors may be lining up soon to invest in new companies that would build hybrid cars in the deep South. (See: Green Cards for Green Cars, by Christopher Jensen, New York Times “Wheels” Blog, Feb 11, 2010.) The Times reports that a green start-up company, Hybrid Kinetic Motors, plans to begin building hybrid vehicles in Alabama in 2013, providing jobs for 5,000 people and producing 300,000 cars per year, with a view to more than tripling its production within five years.
According to a company spokesman quoted by the Times, most of the cost of setting up this green company – an estimated $1.5 billion – would come from EB5 investors, under a provision of the EB5 program that allows “regional centers” to pool funds from individual investors to bankroll large projects. The project is not without its critics, the Times reports, and was described as “pie in the sky” and a “visa factory” in a leading trade publication. Although it remains to be seen whether these green projects eventually will bear fruit, the underlying concept certainly is appealing: bringing foreign direct investment to the United States along with green entrepreneurship by offering permanent residency to those who hope to do well by doing good. Stay tuned.