Senator Leahy’s EB-5 Amendment Added to Reform Bill

During the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s May 16, 2013 markup of S. 774, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, an amendment offered by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to make permanent, and improve upon, the EB-5 investor visa program was approved by a unanimous voice vote.

An EB-5 investor visa, also known as an employment-creation visa, is an immigrant visa preference category which results in permanent residence for business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a rural or targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.

The EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program was first enacted in 1993 for a period of 10-years and has been reauthorized in 2003, 2008, and 2012.

Senator Leahy stated that the purpose of his amendment was to make the EB-5 Regional Center Program permanent, to make it more efficient for investors and regional center operators, and to add additional anti-fraud and oversight provisions.

Senator Leahy stated that “[w]hen fully subscribed, this program has the potential to contribute $5 billion to communities around the country each year, creating tens of thousands of American jobs. And all of it is at no cost to American taxpayers.”

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