It only took one winter night for a Chinese mother to make the decision to leave her country. In the following two months' time, she rushed to prepare $500,000 in cash, trying to submit all her application documents ahead of April 28 — the expiration date for the current U.S. EB-5 immigrant investor visa program.
"My child had been sick for the entire winter and the whole family got respiratory infections due to Beijing's haze weather," said Liu, 33, who requested not to share her full name for privacy reasons.
"When I was pregnant, the government promised to treat air pollution. Now, my son is already three years old, but Beijing's haze has only become worse," she told CNBC over the phone. "I need a backup plan."
Liu's plan is to obtain U.S. green cards for her family through the EB-5 program, which is often called the "Golden Visa" by immigration lawyers because it provides a fast path for rich foreign investors to "buy" residency or even citizenship in the U.S.