Businesses looking to make EB-5 visa program permanent
A new proposal backed by the Association to Invest in USA is seeking to make the federal EB-5 visa program permanent, the Business Journal of Milwaukee reports.
Under the EB-5 visa program, foreigners can obtain U.S. green card eligibility by making an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 in some areas) in an American company or project that either creates or maintains at least 10 full-time jobs.
Since taking effect in the 1990s, the EB-5 visa program has always included a potential expiration date, but it has remained an avenue for foreign investment due to a number of extensions in Congress, according to the news provider.
The last such extension, which was approved by Congress in 2009, set the latest "sunset" date at September 30, 2012, reports the news source.
However, the Association to Invest USA is looking to get rid of all "sunset" dates for the program and is pushing to make it a permanent measure for translating foreign investment into American jobs.
One of the biggest proponents of the EB-5 visa program in Congress, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, is expected to introduce a bill that would get rid of the expiration dates and potentially make other changes to the program, according to Peter Joseph, the association's executive director.
"We believe very much so that this is a piece of the solution of our 21st century economic policy," Joseph told the news provider of the EB-5 program.
According to the Business Journal, the Association to Invest USA is based in Chicago and strives to improve the EB-5 visa program. With a total of 114 members, including the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the association helped the southeast Wisconsin region to utilize EB-5 projects, the news source said.
The MMAC serves as an EB-5 regional center, which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines as "any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment."
The regional center serving southeastern Wisconsin specializes in a wide range of industries including health services and medical technology, manufacturing, printing and hospitality (restaurants, hotels and entertainment), according to the USCIS.