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EB-5 Investment Coalition Applauds Bipartisan Effort on Reform

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced bi-partisan legislation to extend and  improve the job-creating immigrant investor visa program, known as EB-5, which is set to expire in September.  The American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act would reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center program for five years and add measures to improve the program’s integrity.

We now have bi-partisan bills introduced in both the House and Senate.  The bill will, among other things:

  • Extend the program for five years;
  • Provide increased authority to DHS to deny or terminate applications where there is fraud, criminal misuse, or a threat to public safety or national security;
  • Establish an “EB-5 Integrity Fund” in which regional centers would pay an annual fee to be used by DHS to conduct audits and site visits to detect and investigate fraud in the United States and abroad;
  • Require background checks of regional center and project developer principals;
  • Require DHS to vet EB-5 projects earlier in the process, before investors submit applications;
  • Require increased disclosures to investors regarding business risks and conflicts of interest;
  • Require more oversight of projects and closer monitoring for securities compliance;
  • Amend the definition of “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA) to favor more investment in  areas with high unemployment and rural areas;
  • Raise the investment threshold to $800,000 for TEAs and $1.2 million for non-TEAs; and
  • Decrease petition processing times providing for expedited business plan approval and requiring fees be adjusted to the rate necessary to achieve efficient processing.

There is yet a lot of work to be done in both the Senate and the House to reach the right balance in this reform legislation.

The livelihood of many of the EB-5 stakeholders is hanging in the balance as the expiration of the program draws near.  Please join us and the EB-5 Investment Coalition to help keep EB-5 a viable option for our businesses.

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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.