NY [U.S.A], May 9: The family of the White House advisor Jared Kushner has apologised for mentioning his name while urging Chinese investors to sink millions into a New Jersey real estate project.
The EB-5 programme has become more controversial as uptake began to surge in recent years, particularly among Chinese investors looking for a faster way to secure United States green cards relative to wait times for those seeking visas based on job qualifications.
Wealthy Chinese citizens have been falling over themselves to participate in the EB-5 program, which makes immigrants eligible to apply for a green card if they invest over $500,000 in a project that creates U.S.jobs.
Meyer told more than 100 investors at Beijing's Ritz-Carlton Hotel that her brother was the company's former chief executive. Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors.
Asked about Meyer's sales pitch, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Kushner has taken steps to comply with ethics rules and referred questions to his family's firm.
"In 2008, my brother Jared Kushner joined the family company as CEO and recently moved to Washington to join the administration", she said at the conference.
Meyer also spoke to investors in Shanghai on Sunday. One potential investor told The Washington Post the Kushners' link to the White House was an important consideration. With the clock ticking until the program's new expiration date, September 30, the president has a chance to get behind efforts to end the hopelessly inefficient and corruption-prone EB-5 program before it causes more embarrassment.
Stated intentions aside, reporters from the Times and the Post were quickly expelled from the Beijing presentation, after they were noticed by event organizers.
A sign is seen outside an event where Nicole Kushner Meyer, the sister of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, was promoting a real estate development in Shanghai on May 7, 2017.
Something like 90 percent of those putting up half a million dollars for a set of green cards through the EB-5 program are from China.
The EB-5 visas have proved particularly popular among wealthy Chinese, who in 2014 accounted for almost 90 percent of the 10,000 of the visas the us approved that year, although its share dropped to about 75 percent last year.
Lawmakers are considering major changes to the program, through which investors, mostly from mainland China, receive about 10,000 visas each year.
Michael Short, a White House spokesman, said in an email in mid-April that the EB-5 program needs "substantial fix".
The system allows for foreign investors who give enough money to a qualifying USA project to apply for green cards for themselves and immediate family members, which can pave the way to becoming U.S. citizens.
Kushner's mother and siblings are beneficiaries of that family trust, a White House official confirmed.
Created in 1990 as a way to encourage investment during a recession, the program requires foreigners to invest $1 million in a business that sustainably employs 10 people anywhere or $500,000 in rural areas or those with high unemployment. With permanent residency in hand, the foreign investors can then sponsor additional visas to bring in family members.