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During his speech on  January 29 in Las Vegas, President Obama announced his principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. As part of the president’s plan to overhaul the current broken immigration system, he noted the need to make permanent the EB-5 Regional Center Program that is currently set to expire on September 30, 2015. The program was introduced in 1992 and implemented in 1993. Since that time, it has continually been reauthorized by Congress on a temporary basis.

The president’s objectives related to the program include:

  • Expanding opportunities for investor visas and continued U.S. economic development
  • Permanently authorizing the EB-5 regional center program
  • Providing incentives for visa requestors to invest in programs that support national priorities, including economic development in rural and economically distressed regions
  • The introduction of new measures to combat fraud and national security threats within the program
  • Data collection on the economic impact of the program nationally and locally
  • The creation of a pilot program for state and local government officials to promote economic development.

GT is actively working with the Obama adminstration and key members of Congress to make the EB-5 Regional Center Program permanent, in addition to making important legislative changes to help the program become more business friendly and efficient.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff ‡ Laura Foote Reiff ‡

Laura Foote Reiff has more than 32 years of experience representing businesses and organizations in the business immigration and compliance field. She is also a business immigration advocate and has long chaired prominent business immigration coalitions. Laura is Co-Founder of GT’s Business and

Laura Foote Reiff has more than 32 years of experience representing businesses and organizations in the business immigration and compliance field. She is also a business immigration advocate and has long chaired prominent business immigration coalitions. Laura is Co-Founder of GT’s Business and Immigration and Compliance Group which she co-led since 1999. She currently chairs the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. Immigration and Compliance Practice. Laura is also Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office of GT, a position she has held since 2010. As a global leader in the business immigration community, Laura has served on the Boards of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Forum and is currently the Chair of the America is Better Board.

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.

 Admitted in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.