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Newly proposed EB-5 bills wending through Congress

Foreigners who are considering starting new ventures in South Carolina may be interested to learn about three different proposed bills currently moving through Congress that would each change the EB-5 visa program in different ways. All are geared to reforming the program, which allows people to invest in new businesses in the United States and then move to the country in order to run them.

Between 2005 and 2013, investments made in the U.S. through the EB-5 visa program totaled around $5.2 billion, showing how important it is. Two bills have been proposed in the House and one has been proposed in the Senate. The two House bills each call for permanent reauthorization of the EB-5 program.

One, proposed by Representatives Jared Pollis of Colorado and Mark Amodei of Nevada in January 2015, seeks to reform the EB-5 program by taking derivatives out of the calculation, thus maximizing the amount of investment. Additionally, the bill calls for shortening the time it takes to process the visas. The Senate bill is more detailed and calls for the regional centers to hold all of the accountability for approvals. The third bill, proposed in the House, is a hybrid of the other two, taking some of the security measures from the Senate bill and some of the reforms from the other House bill.

It will be interesting to see what happens after the three bills make their ways through the committee process. All have the potential to significantly impact the way in which the EB-5 program works. Potential foreign investors may want to seek the help of an immigration attorney to learn more about the program and its potential requirements. An attorney may be better informed about changes in the law as they occur and may thus be better able to advise investors on what their requirements will be to participate.

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