Just like everything else in the world, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has been majorly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary closures of U.S. embassies and consulates in 2020 left many foreign-based investors unable to complete their visa applications and interviews, making it impossible for them to receive visas and immigrate to the United States. Additionally, the economic damage caused by the pandemic has severely impacted many EB-5 projects, potentially putting some EB-5 investments in jeopardy.
However, despite all the negatives, the COVID-19 pandemic has also positively impacted the EB-5 program. Due to low immigration throughout 2020, the number of EB-5 visas available in FY2021 is nearly double the usual number of available visas. With this increase in available visas, along with several other pandemic-related benefits, investing in the EB-5 program during the COVID-19 pandemic could be quite advantageous for foreign nationals.
The full effects of the pandemic on the EB-5 program are still unknown, but the outlook is likely to improve as vaccines continue to be developed and distributed. In December 2020, vaccines began being distributed, but it is expected that the uneven global availability will have a major influence on the EB-5 program as well as immigration as a whole.
How COVID-19 Vaccines Impact the EB-5 Program
People are finally beginning to see hope that life may begin returning to normal, thanks to the approved COVID-19 vaccines. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have all administered their first doses. The United States alone has produced five of the most promising COVID-19 vaccines as a result of the extreme focus placed on vaccine research and funding.
Unfortunately, not all countries have the same level of resources to devote to vaccine research, nor do they have the funds to purchase enough vaccine doses for their population. Therefore, the vaccine is much more accessible to more developed countries. Any excess vaccines will be redistributed by developed countries and the World Health Organization to those with less access, but the waiting period could cause such countries to suffer even greater economic damage. U.S.-made vaccines will also be made available to other countries once the U.S. population has a sufficient number of doses.
Now that vaccines are available in the United States and other developed countries, the United States can begin focusing on economic recovery. This presents a significant opportunity for EB5 investments, as they can help boost the U.S. economy following the pandemic and help struggling businesses stay afloat. Foreign investment capital can play a key role in jump starting the economy and creating new full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
Planning to make an EB-5 investment in 2021 can also be extremely beneficial for foreign investors. China, India, Vietnam, and many similar countries do not have as much access to COVID-19 vaccines as countries like the United States, which means that foreign investors who obtain a U.S. green card will have easier access to a COVID-19 vaccine and be able to enjoy the benefits of the strong and stable U.S. economy as the nation begins its recovery.