As Congress continues to debate comprehensive immigration reform, there a number of proposals being floated around that would make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to obtain investor visas. Below is a brief look at three proposals that have gained traction in the continuing debate surrounding the overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.
Expansion of EB-5 Program
An EB-5 investor visa is an immigrant visa which can result 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. The Senate reform legislation would make the program permanent, eliminating the need for any future reauthorizations. The Senate bill would also amend the definition of targeted employment area for the purposes of EB-5 visas to include any community located near a closed or realigned military installation.
The EB-6 Visa
Like the current EB-5 program, the EB-6 visa would be an immigrant investor visa that leads to Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) Status. This visa is for entrepreneurs who have significant ownership in a U.S. business and have had a significant role in the start-up of the business. To qualify, the business must have either (1) created at least five jobs and must have received at least $500,000 in venture capital or investment, or (2) created five jobs and generated $750,000 in annual revenues in the prior two years. The EB-6 visa would be capped at 10,000 per year.
The X Visa
The X visa would be a new nonimmigrant visa created for foreign entrepreneurs. To be eligible for an X visa, the foreign entrepreneur must be able to demonstrate that his businesses (1) have attracted at least $100,000 in investment; or (2) have created no fewer than three jobs during the two-year period prior to the application and generated $250,000 in revenue. This would be a temporary nonimmigrant visa that is granted for 3 years.
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