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Congress extends EB-5 visa program for three more years

This blog has previously discussed the EB-5 investor's visa program. The immigration program was slated to expire at the end of this month. Congress is preparing to take a break until after the November election and time was beginning to run short.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted September 13 to extend the EB-5 visa program for another three years. The House vote showed overwhelming support to extend the investor visa program with 412 representatives voting for the measure and 3 representations voting against the measure. The Senate had previously voted in August to extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program for three more years. The bill now moves on for the president's signature.

The EB-5 visa program has been around since 1990, but has seen a recent increase in notoriety since the Great Recession hit the U.S. economy. U.S. immigration law places a cap on EB-5 visas at 10,000 visas each year. Foreign investors can invest a minimum of $500,000 in a business that creates at least 10 new full time jobs (in some cases, the investment minimum is $1 million, depending upon the circumstances).

Other requirements must be met under the visa program. If the business venture is successful under immigration law rules, the immigrant investor can receive permanent residency status after two years.

The immigration bill also authorized three other programs for three more years-the E-Verify system used to check legal status of workers, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program for foreign religious workers and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program that applies to immigrant doctors.

Sources:

  • Post-Tribune, "How they voted," Sep. 15, 2012
  • Fox News Latino, "Experts ask for extension of visas that benefit LatAm businessmen," Aug. 23, 2012

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