You are here[HOT] Senate Passes Extension of Expiring EB-5 RC Program . . . House expected to follow.
[HOT] Senate Passes Extension of Expiring EB-5 RC Program . . . House expected to follow.
CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS – IMMIGRATION
Aug. 2, 2012 – 10:40 p.m.
Senate Passes Extension of Expiring Visa Programs
By Elham Khatami and David Harrison, CQ Staff
The Senate on Thursday passed a three-year renewal of a program that grants green cards to foreign investors and the government’s electronic workplace verification program, which are due to expire in September.
The amended version of the bill (S 3245), sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and Republican Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, was advanced by unanimous consent. The bill also would reauthorize two temporary visa programs for religious workers and medical graduates until Sept. 30, 2015.
A substitute amendment by Leahy and Grassley, adopted by unanimous consent, would extend for three years the E-verify program, the workplace verification system that uses online Social Security databases to determine whether a job applicant is a legal immigrant. Employers currently use E-Verify voluntarily, but Republicans have been trying unsuccessfully to make the program mandatory.
The amended bill also would extend for three years the EB-5 immigrant investor regional center program which grants legal permanent residency to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 and who create at least 10 jobs in the United States, both directly and indirectly, within two years of arriving in the nation.
The program is capped at 10,000 visas, including those given to an investor’s immediate family. It has yet to reach that level, although the program’s popularity is growing.
Leahy has been a longtime advocate for the EB-5 regional center program, which has helped two Vermont ski resorts, and he introduced a bill (S 642) last year that would make the program permanent. Grassley, on the other hand, is a strong backer of E-Verify.
As amended, the bill would clarify that none of the bill’s provisions could be construed as authorizing the planning or development of a national identification card.
Source: CQ Today Online News
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