A coalition of business organizations is urging Congress to extend the EB-5 Regional Center program.
The EB-5 investor visa program allows a foreign national to obtain a green card if he or she invests money in the United States which creates jobs in the United States. An individual must invest $1 million, or $500,000 in certain rural or high-unemployment areas, and create or preserve at least 10 U.S. Worker jobs. The foreign national can invest directly in his or her own project or in a government approved Regional Center. A Regional Center assembles and manages EB-5 investment projects and an investment in a Regional Center project can count direct and indirect job creation.
Critics of the EB-5 program say that it has fraud and security risks. Without action by Congress, the program will expire on September 30, 2016. The organizations said in their letter to Congress that the program has played an important role in creating jobs in the United States, and allowing it to lapse would have “immediate negative consequences” to U.S. projects and businesses counting on EB-5 funding.
“The EB-5 Regional Center program, while imperfect, has resulted in investments in the United States exceeding $15 billion in the last 10 years which have generated 100,000 U.S. jobs,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney with Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “Instead of killing a program with substantial employment impact, Congress should consider integrity and other program improvements.”
An attempt to renew the program failed in the Senate in December, 2015.. Lawmakers agree that stronger national security and anti-fraud provisions are needed, and the organizations said in their letter that they support those reforms. The coalition said that lawmakers and stakeholders should join together to build consensus and create a compromise reform package.