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On March 6, 2014, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), along with Representative Joe Garcia (D-FL), Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV), introduced The American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2014. A copy of the bill and an official Section by Section overview have been made available.

The legislation would, among the other items listed below, make the Regional Center program permanent and improve the program by addressing key administrative and substantive concerns. Some of the specific proposals in the bill include:

  • Improved definition of Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designations
    • Codifies the current TEA designation authority, which leaves such designations up to the states, which are best equipped to determine local employment needs. This is consistent with USCIS’s May 30, 2013 “EB-5 Adjudications Policy (PM-602-0083);
    • Lowers the minimum capital investment required from $1,000,000 to $500,000; and
    • Expands the TEA designation for areas where a military installation was closed and where a State or the Federal government has designated an area as an economic development incentive program.
  • Capital requirements
    • Requires the minimum amount to invest to automatically adjust by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2015 and every five years thereafter.
  • Calculating job creation
    • Reforms the definition of “full-time employment” to include part-time employees who work at least 35 hours per week at any one time. This reform will allow for the proper measurement of jobs that are seasonal or intermittent, such as construction work.
  • Permanent authorization of EB-5 Program
    • Provides for the permanent authorization of the EB-5 program to provide investors and businesses with certainty and predictability and help the program grow.
  • Project preapprovals
    • Increases efficiency in the EB-5 program by requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a preapproval procedure by which a Regional Center may ask USCIS to preapprove a business plan before attracting investors to the project. The bill also allows the applicant to correct any deficiencies identified by the Secretary prior to a final determination.
  • Deference to Prior Rulings
  • Strong Fraud and Abuse Deterrence and Securities Compliance in Regional Center Program
  • EB-5 Petition Processing Times
    • This bill would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide an expedited processing option for certain individual investors’ petitions.
  • Direct Communications with EB-5 Petitioners
  • Conditional Permanent Resident Status for Immigrant Investors and Entrepreneurs
    • Age determinations for children of EB-5 investors: Protects the child of a principal investor if, between the period of conditional permanent residence and the removal of conditions, the child “ages out,” and allows that child to still be considered an immediate family member and eligible to be an EB-5 petitioner;
    • Allows concurrent filings of EB-5 petitions: Eliminates the requirement for immediate family members to file separate petitions from the principal investor’s petition to remove conditions for lawful permanent residence status. By only requiring approval of the investor’s petition to remove conditions for their immediate family members, efficiency and fairness in the program will be enhanced.
    • Allow for premium processing of EB-5 petitions.
  • Numerical Corporation
    • Provides that the qualified immediate family of an EB-5 immigrant investor is not subject to the numerical cap for that category.
  • Numerical Limitation on Individual Foreign States
    • Eliminates the per country quotas for all immigrant visas. This reform is of particular importance to alleviate the backlog in the Chinese visa category.
  • Applicability of Foreign Corrupt Practices Regulations
  • Regulations
    • Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to promulgate rules pursuant to this bill within a defined period.
  • Consultation with Secretary of Commerce
    • Allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to consult with the Secretary of Commerce to review a Regional Center designation petition or whether a proposed project will create the estimated number of jobs.

We look forward to working with Mr. Polis and his colleagues to guide this bill to final passage.

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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.