EB-5 Reform? New Law Could Change Immigrant Investor Program
A new article in news blog Business Daily
takes a look not only at the EB-5 visa immigrant investor program in its current form, but also the new Start-Up Visa Act introduced earlier this year by Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lugar (R-IN). As many EB-5 practitioners are already aware, were the bill to ultimately pass and be signed into law, it would re-allocate a number of the 10,000 EB-5 visas available for issue each year to a new category--the EB-6 visa.
The main purpose of the bill is reform of the EB-5 program, and it includes measures also called for by the Employment Benefit Act, a House bill introduced last December by Representative Jared Polis (D-CO).
According to Business Daily
, the Start-Up Visa Act "amends current immigration law, lowering the investment threshold to $250,000 [from $500,000] in equity funding from qualified super-angel investors or venture capital firms."
These "qualified super-angel investors" would have to meet certain requirements set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to participate, a rule favored by attorney Angelo Paparelli
, who Business Daily
quotes in the article.
Any qualified venture capital firm must be based in the United States and have been in business for at least two years. Partners must be U.S. citizens and the firm must have made investments in the recent past.
"Immigrant entrepreneurs" who have employed at least five employees after two years or have acquired capital assets worth $1 million will receive green cards. Developments like these could be serious game-changers for the EB-5 visa program.
While the news blog seems to make no bones about the potential of a bill that includes EB-5 reform and provisions for an EB-6 visa--its article received the title "Change in start-up visa law sure way to lure investment"--it also states that such a bill is unlikely to come before Congress again until sometime next year.
It's worth noting that passage of this law would almost certainly cross into territory occupied by the politics of immigration. According to Business Daily
, "[Lawmakers] who tout this bill emphasize the job-creation aspect rather than the political hot potato of immigration reform."