Two separate federal agencies have, in recent weeks, begun investigations looking into the way applications for EB-5 foreign investor visas are handled and approved. According to Bloomberg, the Securities and Exchange Commission probe centers on some attorneys who collected improper fees related to the visas, and the Department of Homeland Security is checking into certain applications that were approved despite the existence of “red flags” from the FBI and other agencies related to the applicants, ABC News reported.
The EB-5 program provides legal residency status to foreign investors whose investment amounts to $500,000 or more and create 10 or more jobs. The current SEC investigation relates to a rule regarding what kind of assistance attorneys can provide EB-5 applicants and what fees they can collect related to that work. Specifically, the problems can arise when a developer, who is seeking to raise capital for a project, looks for EB-5 investors to help fund the project and enlists the aid of an attorney to find those investors.