US to run out of foreign investor visas due to Chinese demand

Middle Kingdom's wealthy account for 85 percent of the nearly 10,000 EB-5 visas issued

From left: 30 Park Place, Barclays Center And 50 West 47th Street
From left: 30 Park Place, Barclays Center And 50 West 47th Street

Thanks to surging demand among China’s wealthy, the U.S. is expected to run out of a type of visa awarded to foreign investors for the first time in the history of the 24-year-old program.

The so-called EB-5 visa program has helped New York City real estate developers fund a number of high-profile projects, including the Barclays Center, Silverstein Properties’ 30 Park Place and Extell Development’s International Gem Tower at 50 West 47th Street. The State Department is permitted to give up to 10,000 EB-5 visas per year to overseas investors who put $500,000 or more into U.S. development projects.

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A number of China’s biggest investors in New York City projects have availed themselves of the program. Chinese individuals claimed 85 percent of the visas this year, according to State Department data cited by the Journal.

It will now be more than a year before State will make additional EB-5 visas available to Chinese investors, the newspaper reported. [WSJ]Tom DiChristopher