Wednesday’s Headlines: Wealthy Chinese Flock to the U.S. on Investment Visas

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Arriving in the U.S.

Affluent Chinese are heading to the United States and Canada for improved quality of life, according to a Wall Street Journal story today.

Recent statistics show rising demand for “investment immigration” visas to the U.S., Canada and other Western countries. The U.S. program, EB5, can grant up to 10,000 visas annually to people who invest $1 million and create at least 10 jobs in the U.S., or invest $500,000 in a rural or high-unemployment area.

In 2011, the U.S. received 2,969 applications from China for EB5 immigration—granted to people who invest $1 million and create at least 10 jobs in the U.S., or invest $500,000 in a rural or high-unemployment area. Just two years earlier, the program received just 787 applications. Chinese applications accounted for 78 percent of the 2011 applications. Canada received 2,567 Chinese applications for a similar program in 2011, up from just 383 in 2009. When Canada imposed a cap of 700 applications per year, starting July 1, 2011, the quota was filled within a week, with 697 of 700 applications from China.

One Chinese researcher wrote: “Without doubt, the skyrocketing living costs, worsening environment, poor social welfare and growing tax burden in China are partly responsible for this loss. It is natural for people to choose a place to live where they think they will enjoy the best quality of life. Only by making the country more attractive to its talent can China keep them and their wealth from leaving.”

Other News:

BofA told equities-unit employees to expect targeted dismissals next month. [Bloomberg]

Wells Fargo bought the $9.5 billion North American energy loan business of BNP Paribas. [Financial Times]

HSBC plans to sell new shares to raise cash in order to pay the non-deferred part of bonuses that exceed $79,000. [WSJ]

BC Partners raised an $8.6 billion fund with the help of great timing, a large investor relations team and concessions to large investors. [WSJ]

BofA sees M&A opportunity in China. [WSJ]

HSBC foresees an uptick in Hong Kong IPOs. [Reuters]

Tongues continue to wag over the suspected departure of Goldman’s CEO and possible replacements. [CNN Money]

A banker sues Credit Agricole, charging he received lower bonuses after whistle-blowing. [Bloomberg]

JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche and HSBC are among the firms accused of participating in a conspiracy to manipulate LIBOR rates. [Businessweek]

The Volcker Rule may create a divided world where the old investment banks are challenged by upstarts that are not limited by the rule. [Deal Professor]

Meredith Whitney signed a book deal to write about municipal bond market problems. [NY Times]

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