WASHINGTON – Sept. 22, 2016 – Without a Congressional extension, the EB-5 visa program that grants visas to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in an American business that creates 10 jobs will expire on Sept. 30. Beyond the benefits to the residential real estate market from immigrant home sales, it has also become a targeted source of capital in the commercial real estate industry.
The EB-5 program's future isn't clear, though Congress could decide to temporarily extend it at least through the November elections. The program was previously slated to end on Sept. 30, 2015, before lawmakers extended it through stopgap bills.
While the EB-5 program has many backers, the current form of the program has been criticized, and some lawmakers want to see changes rather than a simple extension.
One senator from Iowa for example, doesn't want condo projects in high-income neighborhoods to qualify for EB-5 funds that were intended to support under-developed areas and benefit rural areas. However, a New York senator opposes that change, which could lead to a stalemate.
In addition, a Virginia congressman wants to raise the bar on immigration via an EB-5 visa. Sen. Bob Goodlatte sponsored a bill that would raise the minimum individual investment to $800,000 if the project is planned for an area with high unemployment but as high as $1.2 million for projects in areas with relatively low unemployment.
Source: The Real Deal, Sept. 21, 2016, Konrad Putzier
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