WASHINGTON – Aug. 14, 2015 – Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer says Congress must reauthorize the EB-5 visa program’s “regional centers” before the program expires Sept. 30 – but reauthorization should include measures to improve the program’s transparency and accountability.
The EB-5 program allows foreign citizens to acquire a U.S. visa by investing a minimum of $500,000 in an American business that, in turn, creates at least 10 jobs. Beyond the benefits to the residential real estate market from immigrant home sales, it has also become a targeted source of capital in the commercial real estate industry.
Miami, for example, has targeted money from the EB-5 program to help fund affordable housing programs and created its own EB-5 regional center to help bankroll projects.
About 11,000 foreigners applied to take part in the EB-5 program during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 – an increase from 6,346 a year earlier and 486 in 2006.
The Real Estate Roundtable’s suggested reforms are similar to ones outlined in an Aug. 12 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“The Real Estate Roundtable strongly supports the EB-5 program. It provides unique gap financing for large and small projects across the nation and creates American jobs at no cost to taxpayers,” the Real Estate Roundtable said in a release. “Congress should extend EB-5 regional centers before they expire … and at the same time make needed reforms to improve the integrity, administration and transparency of the program.”
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