EB-5 Investor Visas: Congressional Intent Manifested 20 Years Later

The following is an excerpt from the testimony of distinguished immigration attorney Stephen Yale-Loehr before the U.S. Senate's Committee on the Judiciary, July 22, 2009:

"Congress created the fifth employment-based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category in 1990 for immigrants seeking to enter to engage in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. The basic amount required to invest is $1 million, although that amount is reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made in a "targeted employment area," meaning a high unemployment or rural part of the United States. Of the approximately 10,000 numbers available for this preference each year, 3,000 are reserved for entrepreneurs who invest in targeted employment areas. A separate annual allocation of 3,000 visas exists for entrepreneurs who immigrate through a regional center pilot program. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), over 90% of all EB-5 investors invest through regional centers, so my testimony will focus on that aspect of the EB-5 program.

The statutory requirements of the EB-5 green card category are onerous. Traditionally, very few people immigrate in this category. The numbers are increasing, however. In fiscal year (FY) 2005, only 346 investors, including their spouses and children, immigrated in this category. In FY 2006 the number increased to 749 and in FY 2007 increased again to 806. The EB-5 category is one of the only employment-based green card categories that are not backlogged. "

So here we are, almost two decades after Congress passed legislation which was designed to create U.S. jobs and bring foreign investment capital into the U.S….only to have its utility essencially eviscerated by a barrage of regulations, legal misinterpretations, and dishonest developers, all of which would eventually bog down thousands of investors in a legal hornets nest which would take years to untangle.

Fast forward to this last half of 2009 and things are FINALLY on track.  EB-5 Regional Centers are not only getting approved, but some are paying returns.  Investor visas are not only getting filed, but residency is being approved. All of the sudden, when America MOST needs jobs and capital…the EB-5 is coming through for both the investors…AND America.

Here at Bernstein Osberg-Braun and de Moraes, we see the EB-5 Regional Centers as an essential part of America's economic recovery.  For the cost of opening a restaurant, investors can now get permanent residency for them and their families, a return on their investment, and peace of mind…without having to launch a new business in the U.S.

If you are looking at a future in the U.S. and $500,000 to invest, email me so I can explain what we are doing to make the American Dream come true.