The US EB-5 immigration visa, one of the quickest and easiest ways for international investors to live and work anywhere within the United States is expected to be extended until September 2013 within the next few days. As it stands this method of immigration into the United States will ‘sunset’ on March 6th 2009. If you would like more information on this type of visa, or any other type of visa that allows the applicant(s) to live and work in the US, please visit: www.eb5investmentvisas.com
The latest information, from the Library of Congress, can be found here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR05569:@@@L&summ2=m&
2d Session – 110-698
TO EXTEND FOR 5 YEARS THE EB-5 REGIONAL CENTER PILOT PROGRAM
JUNE 5, 2008- Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. CONYERS, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following
R E P O R T[To accompany H.R. 5569]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 5569) to extend for 5 years the EB-5 regional center pilot program, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
PURPOSE AND SUMMARY
H.R. 5569 reauthorizes the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program for regional centers for 5 years, until September 30, 2013.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION
Congress created the fifth employment-based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category in 1990 for immigrants seeking to enter the United States to invest in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. 1
[Footnote] The basic amount required to be invested is $1 million, although that amount can be reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made in a rural or high unemployment area. 2
[Footnote] Approximately 10,000 visas are available in this green card category each year.
[Footnote 1: Immigration and Nationality Act, Sec. 203(b)(5), 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5) (2007).]
[Footnote 2: Immigration and Nationality Act, Sec. 203(b)(5)(C)(ii), 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)(C)(ii) (2007).]
Since its inception, the EB-5 category has been underutilized. For example, in FY 2007, a total of only 806 investors and family members immigrated to the United States in the EB-5 category. 3
[Footnote] This still represented a high for the program, however, and evidences the fact that interest and participation in the EB-5 program has increased significantly over the past several years. Unofficial estimates indicate that the EB-5 immigrant investor program is projected to achieve, during the current year, an annual rate of $1 billion in aggregate immigrant investment, with more than 20,000 new direct and indirect jobs created annually.
[Footnote 3: Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2007, at http://www.dhs.gov/ximgtn/statistics/publications/LPR07.shtm (table 7).]
To help further encourage immigration through the EB-5 category, Congress created a temporary pilot program in 1993. 4
[Footnote] The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program allocates 3,000 visas each year for EB-5 investors who invest in `designated regional centers.’ The pilot program has been renewed several times, and is currently due to expire September 30, 2008. 5
[Footnote] H.R. 5569 would extend the EB-5 regional center pilot program for 5 years, until September 30, 2013.
[Footnote 4: Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 102-395, Sec. 610, 106 Stat. 1874 (1992), 8 U.S.C. 1153 note (2007).]
[Footnote 5: Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-156, Sec. 4(b), 117 Stat. 1945 (2003) (extending EB-5 pilot program 5 years to Sept. 30, 2008).]
An investment under the EB-5 pilot program must be made in a commercial enterprise located within a `regional center,’ defined as `any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment.’ 6
[Footnote 6: 8 C.F.R. Sec. 204.6(e).]
A regional center seeking approval must submit a proposal showing how it plans to focus on a geographical region within the United States. The proposal must show `in verifiable detail how jobs will be created,’ along with the amount and source of capital committed and the promotional efforts made and planned. 7
[Footnote] There are approximately 19 active approved regional centers today, and at least 20 other applications for regional center designation are pending.
[Footnote 7: 8 C.F.R. Sec. 204.6(m)(3).]
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently stepping up its review of new regional center applications and increasing oversight of existing regional centers to ensure that the EB-5 program grows in a responsible way. In a recent advisory letter to a regional center, USCIS outlined 17 types of information that approved regional centers must track to keep their regional center designation. 8
[Footnote 8: Letter from USCIS Foreign Trader, Investor & Regional Center Program to Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (June 12, 2007).]
Assuming a regional center application has been approved, an applicant seeking EB-5 status under the pilot program must make the qualifying investment (i.e., the amount of money required under the regular EB-5 program) within an approved regional center. The requirement of creating at least 10 new jobs, however, is met by a showing that as a result of the new enterprise, such jobs will be created directly or indirectly.
In 2003, Congress asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the EB-5 program. The GAO concluded that the program had been under-utilized–for a variety of reasons. It found, however, that even though few people have used the EB-5 category, EB-5 participants have invested an estimated $1 billion in a variety of U.S. businesses. 9
[Footnote 9: U.S. Government Accountability Office, No. GAO-05-256, `Immigrant Investors: Small Number of Participants Attributed to Pending Regulations and Other Factors' (Apr. 2005), at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05256.pdf.]
To help further the purposes of the EB-5 program, the Committee recommends that, to the extent practicable, qualifying investments under the pilot program should be made in targeted employment areas, as defined in section 203(b)(5)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 10
[Footnote] These should include rural areas, i.e., areas other than an area within a metropolitan statistical area or within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more (based on the most recent decennial census of the United States). And they should also include high-unemployment areas, i.e. areas that have experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
[Footnote 10: 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1153(b)(5)(B)(ii) (2007).]
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES