Wealthy Arabs are rushing to sign up for a U.S. program offering investors green cards for cash as they try to beat a crackdown on immigration by President Trump.
Three companies in Dubai offering legal advice on immigration say they have witnessed a spike in demand for U.S. investment visas since Trump's travel ban -- now blocked by the courts -- on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
We've received a greater number of inquiries and client enrollment since the commencement of the Trump presidency," said Preeya Malik, managing director at Step America, a firm that provides consultancy services on U.S. investor visas. "Investors can see how immigration laws are shifting rapidly and are looking to finalize their options before any new rules take place."
Known as EB-5, the immigration program hands out green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 and create 10 jobs in the U.S. The program caps the number of visas issued annually at 10,000.
"We are inundated"
Step America says they've had a 60% increase in inquiries and 40% more EB-5 applications submitted since the travel ban was announced.
Arton Capital, which specializes in 12investor visa programs around the world, said January was a very busy month. The firm saw inquiries handled by their Dubai office increase by 200% compared with the same time last year. It expects February numbers to be even higher.
"There are only 12 of us here in Dubai and we are inundated every day with inquiries, particularly from people from this region," said John Hanafin, CEO of Arton Capital.
One of those seriously considering applying is Mohamed Azedin. Born in Egypt, the father of three children under the age of 16 has been living for 20 years in the United Arab Emirates, where he is a senior project manager in a real estatecompany.
He wants to move his family to America to get a better education for his children and sees the EB-5 program as the only way of doing that.