The EB-5 visa is an enticing option for investors across the world; it offers the opportunity for both the investors and their immediate family unit to enjoy permanent residence within the USA. Currently, however, it’s investors from South Africa who are seeing an incredible surge in this program. There are many reasons why this particular visa has become so popular, from the number of myths surrounding the similarities between the lifestyle Americans enjoy and South African lifestyles to the fact the visa is one of the least restrictive ones. After all, all an investor needs are the minimum capital and the right choice of EB-5 regional centre to create full-time jobs for 10 American citizens. Business experience is not needed (although it definitely helps), and an investor doesn’t need a specific degree or level of education. Additionally, with the United Kingdom being in turmoil over the Brexit plans, it’s no wonder why South African investors are turning their intentions towards the United States. But why is this the case?
Over the past three years, the demand for EB-5 visas has grown quickly, seeing a rise in nearly 500%. This increase is staggering, and it’s one not many countries around the world can match. South Africa may well overtake European, Middle Eastern, and other African countries in the number of visas requested. As mentioned above, there are several reasons why applications are seeing such growth.
Firstly, the economic climate in South Africa in the last few years has seen a significant downturn. The country saw itself enter the first recession since 2009, which is understandably a worrying time for both citizens and investors alike. What’s more, the Rand saw its value drop by an astounding 20%. With such a shift in the economy within the last three years, it’s no surprise investors wish to move to a more stable environment, and many see the US as the answer to this problem. Key economic indicators for the United States have shown that the gross domestic product, which measures the nation’s production output, is expected to stay within the desired 2-3% growth rate. With the unemployed percentage for the US being currently 3.7%, this provides an excellent opportunity for an investor to move their business to the land of the free.
Secondly, the EB-5 visa is a key immigration program for granting a Green Card to both the investor and their immediate family. The family unit can consist of the applicant, their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21. The EB-5 is often referred to as a fast track to the much longed-for permanent resident status, but this isn’t always the case. However, it’s easy to understand why the Green Card is so enticing. There are numerous benefits for those who hold it. For example, children who receive a Green Card when they enter the US with their parents can apply to American universities on equal footing as American citizens. It is reported they will find it easier to gain employment after graduation, plus they will enjoy lower tuition fees and not have to go through the process of applying for a student visa.
One of the reasons why the EB-5 visa is so attractive to South Africans is the lifestyle America promises to provide. It’s the “land of the free and the home of the brave”; the education, healthcare, career, and quality of life options are hard to beat. However, South African investors can be mistaken in believing the area they choose to live in will be somewhat similar to what they currently enjoy in their home country. It’s often not the case. American lifestyles can vary significantly, from both South African expectations and from state to state. For South Africans investors, it’s highly crucial to research each element of their move to the USA, and of the EB-5 visa, to ensure they are not misled into a false sense of security. There are several regions in South Africa where investors believe they will enjoy the same lifestyle as they do now and they can with adequate preparation and due diligence.
Based in the Gauteng Province, Pretoria enjoys an abundance of farming communities. Often, these farmers see comparisons between the rural lifestyle they enjoy in this region with that of Midwest America. It’s an incredibly attractive option to operate a farming enterprise in this area of the US. Therefore, Pretoria-based investors who believe a new life in the US is the solution should do their due diligence to understand the economic climate and predictions.