WWealthy Chinese Accounted for 80% of U.S. Investor Visas in 2013

  • 01jul
English: Looking east across Atlantic Avenue a...

The number of U.S. investor visas issued to Chinese has more than doubled in the last two years according to 2013 annual statistics from the State Department, as more of China’s wealthy opt for life in America.

According to official figures, the number of visas issued to Chinese citizens under the U.S. government’s EB-5 investor visa program reached 6,895 last year, up from less than 2,500 in 2011. Emigres from the People’s Republic now account for 80 percent of the visas issued under the program, which grants U.S residency status to individuals willing to invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area).

And the U.S. is not the only escape plan for China’s cashed-up classes.

In Australia, nine out of 10 applicants for an immigration scheme aimed at wealthy investors are from China and the Aussie program brought in $293.8 million in 2013 – its first year of existence.

Closer to home, Canada cancelled its own investor visa program earlier this year after a report in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post revealed thatamong the 59,000 applications pending for the program, more than 45,000 were from mainland Chinese.

Lately Chinese buyers’ hunger for U.S. real estate has led to reports of mainlanders becoming the dominant foreign buyers in high-end markets such as Manhattan and San Francisco.

Developers Follow Chinese Home Shoppers

Beyond attracting wealthy individuals, this wave of high-end emigration is also helping to drive U.S. investments by Chinese real estate companies.

Earlier this year the country’s largest property developer, China Vanke, along with two American partners and a Chinese investment fund, broke ground for a 61-story residential tower in Manhattan. The project appears to have been particularly attractive to Vanke for the prospect of marketing condos in the up-market building to their wealthy clients back in China.