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EB-5 extension likely to be reauthorized by Congress

By Paul Welitzkin in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2016-12-09 11:39

A measure to continue funding the US government until April 28, 2017, is likely to contain a reauthorization for EB-5, a program that is popular with Chinese immigrants.

"Congressional staffers have been working behind the scenes on major reforms to the EB-5 program, including an increase in the minimum investment amount. However, a final package isn't ready yet. For that reason, Congress is extending the EB-5 program without any changes until April 28 as part of a general stopgap funding bill," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration attorney and professor at Cornell University's law school in Ithaca, New York.

Yale-Loehr said a congressional vote on a continuing resolution or CR to fund the federal government is expected by Friday.

EB-5 extension likely to be reauthorized by Congress


EB-5, which was created to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment, targets foreign investors who invest at least $500,000 in a project that creates a minimum of 10 jobs in an economically depressed region. In return the investors receive a two-year visa with a good chance of obtaining permanent residency for themselves and their families.

In 2014, the US issued more than 10,000 of the visas and about 85 percent went to applicants from China.

Potential changes for EB-5 may include increasing the minimum EB-5 investment from $500,000 to $800,000 for projects in high- unemployment areas. Other changes may include provisions requiring that more projects funded by EB-5 be located in rural areas.

During the presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump often took a harsh tone on immigration and certain immigrants in the US. Yale-Loehr believes that a Trump administration will be friendly to an EB-5 extension.

"Both Trump and his son-in-law (Jared Kushner) have used the program on projects and know it can create jobs with little cost to taxpayers," Yale-Loehr said. "Given his emphasis on the rebuilding of the infrastructure, I believe Trump will see EB-5 as a valuable tool to accomplish this."

Senators Charles Grassley and Pat Leahy have been pushing for reforms in EB-5.

(China Daily USA 12/09/2016 page2)

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