Robert Knakal on the growing demand for EB-5 visas: VIDEO

Interest in program has doubled every year since 2009, says commercial brokerage head

The scramble for EB-5 visas is wreaking havoc with real estate construction schedules, Massey Knakal head Robert Knakal told First Business News.

As interest in the program, which allows immigrants into the U.S. if they agree to invest at least $500,000, most of which goes to real estate projects, has increased dramatically in recent years. Since 2009, in fact, the country has been running out of these visas, Knakal told the news program.

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“Other forms of financing have been readily available, but EB-5 has been attractive because of the low-cost nature of it,” Knakal said.

The country gives out 10,000 of these visas annually, which translates to between $5 billion and $7 billion in foreign capital flowing into the market. Lately, most of those funds have come from China, with the world’s most populous nation responsible for 85 percent of EB-5 financing this year alone. [First Business News] — Julie Strickland