Virginia, US
Lessons from Hong Kong: Renewed Urgency for Taiwanese Investors to Act
| Crystal Tsai

Lessons from Hong Kong: Renewed Urgency for Taiwanese Investors to Act

In response to the recent imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization, finding that Hong Kong was “no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment in relation to the People’s Republic of China.” The Order eliminates preferential visa treatment for foreign nationals born in Hong Kong, as well as those who hold Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports, treating affected individuals as nationals of the People’s Republic of China. In the EB-5 context, Hong Kong-born investors will now be counted against the immigrant visa quota for mainland China, delaying their EB-5 process by at least five years, based on current visa backlogs.

While processes for Taiwanese investors remain unchanged, ongoing geopolitics in the East Asia region and immigration priorities of the current U.S. administration signify a renewed urgency for Taiwanese nationals interested in the EB-5 option to act.

Securing Green Cards through EB-5 for Taiwan-born Investors

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has long been an attractive option for many Taiwanese private clients seeking to relocate to the United States. As background, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program requires the investor to demonstrate that his or her minimum investment of USD 900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or rural area (or USD 1.8 million for non-TEA investments) will ultimately result in the creation of 10 full-time U.S. jobs.

The EB-5 process has been attractive to many Taiwanese nationals, as the application process does not have an education or language requirement, and no labor certification is needed.

Green card holders also benefit from the freedom to work and live permanently in the U.S. Benefits of the EB-5 program include the ability for the investor to self-petition, as well as include a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 as dependents for the green card application. Once they are green card holders, the investor’s children become eligible to receive scholarships and federal loans to potentially reduce education costs. Moreover, the investor and his or her family would also have the option to seek U.S. citizenship.

Geopolitics Require Investors to Plan Ahead

The legal provision that treats Taiwan as a separate foreign state for the purpose of counting immigrant visas remains unchanged. Thus, Taiwanese nationals are eligible to immediately apply for conditional permanent residence as soon as the principal investor’s I-526 Immigrant Investor Visa Petition has been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Notably, Hong Kong or mainland Chinese nationals who are married to Taiwanese nationals can also benefit through cross-charging, meaning that the married couple can be counted in the Taiwan visa line and bypass the lengthy China (and Hong Kong) backlog.

Nevertheless, the recent events regarding Hong Kong underscore how quickly a policy can change, and with a detrimental impact to investors and their families. Thus, families seeking to file EB-5 petitions to secure U.S. permanent residence (whether for the whole family or just for the children before completing their university degrees) should begin the EB-5 process as early as possible to account for potential prolonged processing times.

If you would like to learn more about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, please contact Crystal Tsai  at [email protected] or Rahul Soni at [email protected].

This blog was released on July 21, 2020, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep up to date with all the latest updates on global immigration, please visit our COVID-19 microsite, subscribe to our alerts and follow us on LinkedIn