Speaking in Beijing, Nicole Kushner Meyer, sister of senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, encouraged wealthy Chinese investors to invest at least $500,000 in a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey in exchange for a EB-5 visas, according to the Washington Post.
This offers foreigners permanent residency - commonly known as a green card - in exchange for investment of at least half a million dollars in a USA business that must also create 10 American jobs.
The Beijing event promoting One Journal Square sparked discussion in the United States over whether Jared Kushner's family's business would benefit from decisions Trump makes with regards to the government's EB-5 programme, which grants visas to foreigners investing at least US$500,000 in designated U.S. projects. Chinese investors filled a ballroom to listen to Kushner's sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer.
"We have every reason to believe there will continue to be a lot of demand for visas for the USA from Chinese investors", said Dave Platter, global communications director at Juwai.com, a property search engine that lists real estate around the world for Chinese buyers.
Kushner is facing a wave of criticism after his family staged events in China last week that encouraged wealthy Chinese to invest in luxury developments in exchange for USA green cards through the EB-5 program.
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Meyer made the same pitch in Shanghai on Sunday, according to the Times.
"As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa programme".
Kushner Companies said Monday that the name drop at the event in Beijing on Saturday was not meant to be an "attempt to lure investors" to one of its projects in New Jersey.
A new proposal now in Congress could soon raise the minimum investment for the EB-5, or investment, visa. On Saturday, Meyer spoke at a similar promotional conference in Beijing, details of which were first reported by the Washington Post and the New York Times. The real estate company has said Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, has no role in the firm's management or operations. Originally created with the goal of generating jobs, the program has become extremely popular with foreign elites, especially the Chinese, as a sort of golden ticket into the U.S.
Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, stepped down as chief executive of the Kushner Companies in January and has sold stakes in several properties to help allay concerns about conflict of interest. The minimum investment requirement is $1 million, unless the project is in a rural area or high-unemployment area.
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Asked why Trump signed a bill allowing the continuation of the investor visa program, a White House spokesman said Trump had little leeway to adjust a spending bill that was largely assembled by the Obama administration, although Trump did seek to shape the measure in other ways, such as money for the border wall.
During her seven-minute speech at Shanghai's Four Seasons Hotel on Sunday, Kushner Meyer did not mention her brother or Trump, talking instead about her family's history since her grandparents went to the United States as refugees in the 1940s.
SINGH: And, again, we should note, the Kushners did not explicitly say that they would use their influence in the White House to get these investors green cards.
Organizers prevented reporters from attending the event, saying it was a private function even though it is publicly advertised.
WAN: Yeah, the EB-5 program.
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