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In 2009, Congress extended four immigration programs, EB-5 among them, as part of the Department of Homeland Security spending bill. At that time, the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program was extended until September 30, 2012. In the Fall of 2011 as part of a series of hearings on the hill it appeared that both Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives were in favor of a permanent reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program. At the time, however it appeared that some members of Congress wanted as part of the Regional Center reauthorization to include a new employment based category to be known as the EB-6 which would provide immigrant visas for for venture capital or startup ventures in the U.S. In recent weeks, focus has shifted back to the EB-5 and Congress is looking at a permanent reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program. Two interesting developments have happened recently. The first is that there is a possibility that the permanent extension could come sooner as part of another larger package. Second it appears that there is some room for EB-5 stakeholders to weigh in and add additional provisions beyond a mere permanent extension of the Regional Center Pilot Program such as mandating the introduction of Premium Processing, increase visa numbers in the EB-5 category, etc. If you are involved with or are a Regional Center and would like to speak with GT’s legislative team working on this earlier fix, please contact Kate Kalmykov or Laura Reiff.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies,

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.