Reverse Auction for Investor Visas – Sen. Kerry Drops Price to $100,000

By David North on March 2, 2010

It's bad enough that people can buy their way into the United States, as described in a previous blog.

But if a bill (S. 3029) introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) passes the price will be reduced to $100,000. The price was once was $1 million, then it fell to $500,000.

And the $100,000 does not even have to be your money.

For years the Congress set the price of an investor visa at $1 million, and the investment had to produce ten jobs for someone other than the migrant investor's family. Currently, you have to put up half a million and some consultant will figure out the needed "indirect" job-creating benefits, in the program as outlined by USCIS.

As pointed out in the earlier blog, the half-million-dollar investment, once examined, turned out to actually cost the investor $113,500 and it would produce green cards for everyone in the family; so, if there were five in the family, that would be $22,700 per visa.

The latest proposal, though it may have some advantages over prior ones, has reduced the initial investment to $100,000 if the would-be immigrant can get it from a "sponsoring angel investor", or $250,000 from a qualified venture capital firm, according to an article in Inc., a magazine for investors.

The investment is supposed to produce five (non-family) jobs in two years, or attract $1 million more in investment, or produce $1 million in revenue. In contrast, the current EB-5 program, in its half-million-dollar version, allows the investor to withdraw the initial investment after two, or more likely, three years, and has a fuzzy definition of what job creation is to be expected.

The magazine article was enthusiastic about the idea, and spent only a few lines on the detailed program requirements.

I suppose the immigrant arriving with $100,000 worth of someone else's money, which would be invested in the U.S., is a slightly better economic deal for the U.S. than somebody's brother and his children (the nieces and nephews) arriving with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, which happens frequently under our current laws.

But $1,000,000, down to $500,000, dwindling down to somebody else's $100,000 – that borders on insulting.