Legislation has been introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy to make the EB-5 Regional Center Program, which is up for renewal in September 2012, a permanent job creating immigration program. The EB-5 visa program enables foreign investors to become U.S. permanent residents by making a capital investment in an American business.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program, also known as the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, was first established by Congress in 1993. Although the program has not been made permanent yet, it has been continually reauthorized by Congress. Senator Leahy’s new bill would lead to the permanent reauthorization of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. The bill, which is co-sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley, would also extend two visa programs for religious workers in addition to extending the E-Verify visa program.
In proposing the bill, Senator Leahy voiced his optimism for the future of the EB-5 Regional Center Program. He noted that the new legislation would serve to provide added stability for entrepreneurs and investors participating in the EB-5 program. The new legislation would also help give the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the government body which runs the EB-5 program, the tools necessary to ensure that the program continues to strengthen the U.S. economy by creating American investment opportunities and job growth.
Senator Leahy has overseen several shorter term Congressional extension of the EB-5 immigration pilot program in the past. Currently, the program is slated to expire in September of this year. Senator Leahy also managed to procure an extension of the program for three years during consideration of the Department of Homeland Security’s appropriations bill by the Appropriations Committee.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program drives U.S. economic growth by attracting capital investments from foreigners seeking to immigrate to the United States. The program enables foreign investors to invest with business entities that have received USCIS designation to administer the foreign investments.
The immigrant applicants must make a $500,000 capital investment in a project run through a Regional Center. Once this investment has been made, the foreigners are granted two years of conditional permanent residency which enables them to relocate to the U.S. where they can more easily oversee their investment. The capital investment must lead to the creation of 10 fulltime jobs for U.S. workers within that two year conditional permanent residency period.
If these jobs are successfully created for two years and if other USCIS requirements are met by the investor, then they can receive their permanent green card. This enables the investor, their spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 to permanently live and work within the U.S.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program has garnered considerable popularity over the past few years. More foreign investors are utilizing EB-5 Regional Centers with the hopes of forging a better future in the United States for themselves and their families. Many more applications to become Regional Centers have also been made with the USCIS over the past few years due to increased popularity.