Legislation would extend visa program for foreign investors
Posted on May 21, 2014
Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would extend a visa program for immigrant investors.
The EB-5 visa program for immigrant investors was created as a pilot program under the Immigration Act of 1990. Up to 10,000 admissions can be granted each year for a $1 million investment per visa under current law. If investments are made in high unemployment areas, however, the threshold is reduced to $500,000 per visa.
The legislation would make the EB-5 regional center program permanent.
“Right now, more than anything, the U.S. economy needs good-paying jobs and investment capital to build the companies that create them,” Schock said. “The EB-5 regional center program accomplishes both goals by attracting qualified foreign investors and establishing measurable goals for job creation.”
The EB-5 visa program contributed $3.4 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2012. It also supported 42,000 jobs and generated $712 million in tax revenues, according to reports.
“Repeatedly, EB-5 program extensions have received overwhelming bipartisan support,” Schock said. “This much-needed legislation underscores the importance of an incremental approach to immigration reform as Congress seeks common ground to address our nation’s broken system.”
In addition to extending the program, the legislation would remove visa caps on countries.
“When I hear from people in Hawaii, the most important issue they bring up, by far, is that we need to revitalize and strengthen our economy,” Gabbard said. “By introducing the EB-5 Act, we can leverage funds and capital from overseas in our communities by encouraging foreign investors to create and support jobs in every sector of our economy, particularly in rural areas or those with high unemployment. Between 2005-2013, for example, $6.5 billion was invested in projects around the country, supporting 131,000 American jobs.”
Schock and Gabbard are co-founders of the Congressional Future Caucus, which strives to develop long-term policy solutions to meet future challenges.
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