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Will EB-5 employment immigration program become permanent?

In 1993, U.S. employment immigration law began a pilot program that allows foreign investors to help finance U.S. development projects that create jobs. Many developers see the program as an important financing tool that can be a cheaper and easier alternative to private banks as a method of financing development projects.

The EB-5 visa program has always had a sunset date attached since it was first rolled out 18 years ago. Congress has periodically extended the programs sunset date over the years. In 2009, Congress made the most recent extension of the program, moving the current sunset date to September 30, 2012. Businesses are now seeking to have the sunset provision eliminated in the EB-5 program, making its existence permanent.

The Association to Invest in USA wants to see the program become permanent. Executive director of the association, Peter Joseph, says Senator Patrick Leahy is on board with eliminating the sunset date from the EB-5 program. Joseph says Leahy is expected to introduce a bill in the Senate in the near future.

This blog has previously reported stories of proposed development projects in Florida, including a time-share type marina and a proposed hotel development. Proposals must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Foreign nationals must pass a background check during the process. As many as 16 current projects have been approved in Florida.

The EB-5 program allows foreign nationals to obtain a visa for investing in a U.S. project that will create jobs. The investment is generally a $500,000 investment and the project must create at least ten new jobs in a two year period. If the project succeeds in creating ten jobs, the foreign national can apply for a permanent green card under the EB-5 program.

Source: Milwaukee Business Journal, "Businesses push to make EB-5 permanent," Sean Ryan 7 Feb 2011

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