Congress Extends EB-5 Regional Center Program through September 30, 2015

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Upon learning of the re-authorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, spoke with members of the EB-5 community to gauge their reactions.

EB-5 Visa Program
The regional center pilot project, which is almost two decades old, has reinvigorated the investor visa program.

In a nearly unanimous decision, the House of Representatives has voted to extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program through September 30, 2015. The 412-3 verdict is a testament to the immense popularity of Bill S.3245, which has united individuals on all sides of the political spectrum. The re-authorization bid, which happened late Thursday afternoon, is expected to be ratified by President Obama sometime this week.

A key figure in the renewal of S. 3245 was Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Earlier this year, at the Southern California EB-5 Conference on July 30th, Congressman Smith had expressed his hope that the program would be renewed. The popularity of the measure is of little surprise considering that the creation of U.S. jobs is a primary benefit of the program.

Upon the re-authorization vote’s completion, Representative Lamar Smith released a statement mentioning that, “The regional center pilot project, which is almost two decades old, has reinvigorated the investor visa program. Investment through a regional center is especially attractive to potential investors because they are relieved of the responsibility of running a new business. They can also count indirect job creation towards the job creation requirement.”

Congressman Smith was aided in his effort to renew the program by Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Representative Peter Welch (D-VT), and Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA). Other members of Congress also voiced their support of the re-authorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, including California’s 40th District Representative Ed Royce, who exclusively stated to that, “The passing of this measure today is a significant step towards the creation of jobs for thousands of Americans." Congressman Royce wasn’t alone in his enthusiasm, as many members of the EB-5 community vocalized their support.

“I am very excited that the Regional Center Pilot Program has been extended for 3 years. This is a program that is extremely beneficial to the U.S. It not only creates jobs but also stimulates the economy at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. The money invested by the immigrant in an EB-5 venture is the tip of the iceburg. Most of the EB-5 investors come to the U.S. and make multi-million dollar purchases of homes, cars, furniture, and services. This additional stimulus is often overlooked when the EB-5 program is discussed. Many of the investors also open or purchase businesses separate from their EB-5 investments, thereby creating and preserving additional jobs and further stimulating the economy.”

  • David Hirson, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, and Loewy LLP

"The EB-5 community is thrilled to see Congress acknowledging the overwhelmingly positive impact that the Regional Center Program has on the American economy."

  • Buck Johns, Inland Energy, Inc. President

"The U.S. House of Representatives has taken an important step today in showing almost unanimous consent for a program that creates jobs in the U.S., brings in billions of dollars in foreign direct investment into the country and attracts the best and brightest to reside in the U.S."

  • Kate Kalmykov, Greenberg Traurig LLP

"Re-authorization of the Regional Center program is great news for the shovel-ready and ongoing EB-5 investment projects that will create American jobs. The infusion of foreign investment dollars into the U.S. economy benefits American workers and has far-reaching effects beyond the businesses that directly utilize EB-5 capital. An important factor that should not be overlooked is the job growth that will result naturally from the activities of the highly skilled and entrepreneurial new-seed immigrants that this program attracts to the United States. Most EB-5 investors arrive in our country armed with resourcefulness and motivation to be successful in the United States just as they have been prior to immigrating."

  • Genevieve Roman, Extell New York Regional Center In-House Immigration Counsel

“Supporters of the EB-5 Regional Center Program have great faith in the program’s ability to directly and indirectly create tens of thousands of jobs for Americans. It’s an encouraging sign for Americans to see Congress unify around this measure to create jobs and promote economic growth, especially considering the consequent development it could foster among areas of high unemployment.”

  • Kamyar Amiri-Davani, Vice-President

"The fact that the re-authorization was nearly unanimously passed by the House clearly illustrates just how crucial the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program is to our country’s economic growth during these financially precarious times."

  • Ali Jahangiri, President

In what is hopefully a nod to future permanence of the program, Congress added “striking [of] 'pilot' each place such term appears.” This addition to S. 3245 gives hope to the EB-5 community that Congress has realized the immense economic value of the program and will eventually make it a permanent fixture. is incredibly proud of the huge step forward taken by Congress and would like to congratulate Congress for renewing this economically vital bill.

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Nader Ahmadnia
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