As deadline nears, EB-5 bills start hitting lobbyists’ inboxes
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After months of close to no action, senators are finally updating their proposed reforms to the controversial EB-5 investor visa program and circulating draft legislation ahead of an April 28 expiration date. On Tuesday, the offices of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), two of the EB-5 investor visas’ loudest voices for reform, began shopping a tweaked draft of a bill they introduced in the previous Congress.
Though still far away from where much of the real estate industry stands on EB-5, it does include some provisions that reflect changes that real estate lobbyists have said they could live with. Although the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama set forth a proposal to raise the minimum invest for a visa from $500,000 up to $1.35 million, Grassley and Leahy’s current legislative proposal would would usher in an $800,000 minimum.
That’s likely an acceptable figure for many EB-5 stakeholders: In a March 8 hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, EB-5 Investment Coalition spokeswoman Angelique Brunner said she was hoping to see legislation that would result in a minimum much lower than $1.35 million and more in the neighborhood of $1 million. She previously said that the Obama-recommended minimum of $1.35 million would “kill the program.”