US Citizenship: An American company is fishing for capital from wealthy Kenyans in exchange for living and working in the US permanently. For a Sh. 50 million investment, Atlantic American Partners Kenyans will be able to get an investment green card under the little-known option used to enter USA in just two years known as EB-5.
Atlantic American Partners Managing Director, Emerging Markets-Africa Daniel Ryan, says that this option of moving to the US has been prominent in China but has had little interest, especially among Africans.
“This form of legal immigration has been in place since 1990 which allows anyone across the world who invests $500,000 (Sh50 million) in the US and generate jobs, a permanent Green Card,” said Mr Ryan at a press briefing in Nairobi yesterday.
This program was created in 1990 under the administration of the late US President George H.W. Bush to stimulate the country’s economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The US issues 10,000 such visas every year, in the past largely utilised by Chinese investors.
Qualifying Kenyans will also pay Sh. 2 million in legal fees and an extra Sh. 4.6 million ($45,000) in investment management fees to Atlantic American Partners, the PE firm managing the investment on behalf of the applicant.
Funds such as Atlantic American partners are accredited by the US citizenship and immigration services department to offer support to those applying for the EB-5 visa
Atlantic American managing director Daniel Ryan said on Tuesday that the firm has already registered interest from about 100 Kenyans looking to take advantage of the window to get permanent residence.
“About 100 Kenyan have shown interest, and we have lined up to 50 meetings in the next three weeks. We will also do two meetings at a couple of private members clubs in the city,” he said.
He said the firm does background checks on applicants to ensure they have no criminal records or that they are not laundering money, with legal experts brought in to do a source-of-funds check.
There are thousands of Kenyans who have migrated to the US, with many going either using student visas or the diversity visa lottery, known as Green Card lottery.
The EB-5 visa offers an easier route for those with millions to spare, with fewer requirements and the promise of permanent residence or citizenship in five years.
Successful applicants, Mr Ryan said, are given back the Sh. 51 million once they achieve permanent resident status—normally after five years— with citizenship following about a year later.
Atlantic American, as a trustee of the funds, invests the money in real estate in areas where there is above average unemployment in the US, giving the investor a return along with their initial Sh. 51 million upon gaining permanent residence.