On May 24, 2012, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced
legislation into the U.S. Senate that would make the EB-5 Regional
Center Program permanent. Senate Bill 3245 is co-sponsored by
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and was referred to the Senate
Judiciary Committee where it is pending committee action. Senator
Leahy previously secured short-term extensions of the EB-5 Regional
Center Program, which is currently set to expire on September 30,
In his remarks, Senator Leahy stated, "I am grateful that
Senator Grassley has worked with me to craft this legislation, and
I am optimistic its introduction marks the beginning of a strong
bipartisan effort to make these long-standing programs permanent.
When enacted, the measure we introduce today will also pave the way
for my efforts to improve and build upon the EB-5 Regional Center
Program to ensure stability for investors and entrepreneurs, and to
ensure that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has the tools
it needs to keep this program a strong, secure, and vital part of
In addition to Senate Bill 3245 that would make the EB-5
Regional Center Program permanent, Senator Leahy reportedly secured
a three-year extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program during
the Senate Appropriations Committee's consideration of the
Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program, administered by the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), is a
pilot program created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 (Oct. 6,
1992). EB-5 requirements for an investor under the EB-5 Regional
Center Program are essentially the same as in the standard EB-5
investor program, whereby the EB-5 investor (foreign national) is
granted lawful permanent residence in the United States in exchange
for an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 in special certified
circumstances) in qualifying U.S. businesses that, in turn, create
or preserve at least 10 jobs in the United States. However, the
EB-5 Regional Center Program provides for investments that are
affiliated with an economic unit known as a "regional
center," as opposed to a traditional business. Investments
made through regional centers can take advantage of a more
expansive concept of job creation, including both
"indirect" and "direct" jobs. Regional centers
are geographical areas for which USCIS has determined that
investments will create the necessary 10 jobs per EB-5 investor,
whether directly or indirectly, in the regional center's
approved geographical area. Since its inception, the EB-5 Regional
Center Program has attracted more than $1 billion in foreign
investment to the United States and created thousands of new
domestic jobs. There are now over 220 regional centers in the
United States, with many new applications pending.
The U.S. Department of State has released its June 2013 Visa Bulletin sets out per country priority date cutoffs that regulate the flow of adjustment of status and consular immigrant visa applications.
A comprehensive new Senate immigration bill includes provisions governing the award of nonimmigrant visas for highly skilled workers that are likely to adversely affect outsourcing companies that use a U.S.-based workforce made up primarily of foreign - generally Indian - workers.