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Polis Introduces Legislation to Reform EB-5 Visa Program and Create “Start-Up Visa”

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Washington, December 10, 2009 | comments
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), a leading proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, introduced legislation today that would update our nation’s EB-5 visa system, making it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the U.S. and create jobs for American workers in the process.

“Every day the American economy is losing ground—not to mention high-tech jobs and technologies—to India and China because foreign-born entrepreneurs cannot secure a visa to stay in the U.S.,” said Polis.  “My legislation will help bring our immigration system into the 21st century and encourage foreigners with good ideas and much-needed capital to invest in our economy, rather than in our competitors.”

One of five categories of employer-sponsored visas, the EB-5 immigrant investor visa was enacted in the Immigration Act of 1990 to attract foreign capital to the U.S.  Annually, 10,000 EB-5 visa numbers are available, with 3,000 reserved for the pilot Regional Center Program for foreign investors or entrepreneurs who invest in a federally designated Targeted Employment Area (TEA).  To obtain an EB-5 visa, applicants must invest $1 million ($500,000 in a TEA) and create ten full-time jobs (5 in a TEA).

Polis’ legislation, H.R. 4259, the Employment Benefit Act of 2009, would streamline and speed-up the application process; permanently reauthorize and expand the pilot Regional Center Program; and create the “Start-up Visa,” for foreign entrepreneurs who have caught the eye of venture capitalists.

“The EB-5 program is just one of the many ways we can shape our immigration policy to create jobs and grow our economy,” said Polis.  “The EB-5 visa program has already created thousands of jobs throughout the country, but with these changes, we can streamline the system, expand its use, and create thousands of new jobs for American workers.”
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