There is no question that immigration is currently a controversial topic in American politics. With around 40 million immigrants in America, it’s important to remember that being an American citizen doesn’t mean you were born here. In fact, some of the best businesses in the United States were built by immigrants, or immigrant families. With around 30 immigrants on the most recent Forbes 400 List – including Elon Musk and Dr. Patrick Soon Shong of South Africa – America is an enticing place to invest in and conduct business.
Investing in, or starting a business in the U.S. is incredibly desirable for South African investors. The United States EB-5 Visa Program for South African citizens, requires significantly less investment capital to get started compared to similar immigration investment programs in other countries. Investing through an EB-5 regional center enables South Africans to obtain a U.S. visa by investing in a business that will benefit the U.S. economy and create jobs, while giving the investor the freedom to live and work anywhere in the United States.
The EB-5 regional center path is an attractive option for investors from South Africa – it’s not as strict and does not require nearly as much investment capital compared to similar programs in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Once the investor decides to invest through a USIF regional center, the investment capital of approximately 7.4 million ZAR[i]($500,000 USD) is considerably lower. Below is a chart that compares each countries’ capital requirements South African investors need to meet to be able to participate in these programs.
EB-5 continues to attract top investors from around the globe, and compared to the other investor immigration programs available to South Africans – the United States EB-5 Visa is currently around 194 million ZAR less than the UK’s Investor Immigration program.
The requirements for the additional programs compared, are also much stricter and require the investor to deposit additional funds throughout various steps of the process.[i].
For EB-5, the initial 7.4 million ZAR ($500,000 USD) is all the investor needs to participate in the EB-5 program through a regional center. Once the investor has ultimately satisfied the USCIS requirements and the EB-5 project is successfully complete, the investor should anticipate a permanent green card and ultimately the repayment of the EB-5 investment.
Investing in, or starting a business in the U.S. is still incredibly desirable for South African entrepreneurs. Tesla Motor’s CEO, Elon Musk has quoted, “America is the spirit of human exploration”. With more Fortune 500 companies than any other country in the world, and two of the safest investment markets globally, the U.S. remains a strong option for many South Africans.
[i]Based on current currency conversions as of August 16th, 2018.