"The immigrant investor visa was created in 1990 to benefit the U.S. economy through employment creation and an influx of foreign capital into the United States. The visa is also referred to as the EB-5 visa because it is the fifth employment preference immigrant visa category. The EB-5 visa provides lawful permanent residence (i.e., LPR status) to foreign nationals who invest a specified amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise in the United States and create at least 10 jobs. The foreign nationals must invest $1,000,000, or $500,000 if they invest in a rural area or an area with high unemployment (referred to as targeted employment areas or TEAs). [...] Different policy issues surrounding the EB-5 visa have been debated. Proponents of the EB-5 visa contend that providing visas to foreign investors benefits the U.S. economy, in light of the potential economic growth and job creation it can create. Others argue that the EB-5 visa allows wealthy individuals to buy their way into the United States."
CRS Report for Congress, R44475
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html